Given that tidbit of information, which comes to us from ConsumerReports, it’s no wonder why people are cutting back on Christmas spending this year!
The article I linked to above, highlights some of the poll’s findings. One I found interesting is that only 23% of the respondents will spend less this year on their pets. Who buys their pets Christmas presents?????
For those wishing to cut back this season, you might want to check out today’s Assets & Values column in the Houston Chronicle. In that column, Shannon Buggs lays out some tips for saving money on this year’s Christmas. My favorite idea of hers:
Declare gifts for children only.
To that I would also add: don’t go OVERBOARD with your kids. If you’re struggling financially, there’s nothing wrong with letting the kids know that. Kids need to grow up with a dose of reality. As parents we hate to see our kids suffer but I think sheltering them from financial pain is only going to set them up for failure later in life. If they grow up spoiled, how will they be able to handle tough times when they are older?
Something my wife’s family did last year was for sibling families to buy family gifts. They drew names to see who was buying for which family and then they set a budget of $30 or $40 total. It worked like a charm.
My second favorite idea from Shannon is:
Pay cash or lay it away.
PAY CASH! Don’t charge it unless you are certain you can pay it off before you are charged interest. If you are charging Christmas because you can’t afford it any other way, then maybe it’s time to take a good hard look at your finances.
Finally, one other idea to think about if you’re in dire straits this year is to just concentrate on giving of yourself. Lots of charities would love to have manpower this Christmas. One way to take your mind off your own troubles is to witness those who have even less than you have.