We've talked about how to avoid holiday debt, but what about gifts that are just a flat-out waste? The holidays are a trying time for our finances as it is, and it's our goal to help you eliminate as much wasteful spending as possible. Here's our advice on "to spend or not to spend."
To spend: A gift for yourself that keeps giving. With a year-end holiday bonus or just a little something for yourself...well, this one is important. You can go down one of two roads. Down one path? You can up your 401(k) or Roth IRA savings another percentage, ensuring a little extra security in the future. Or, you can invest in a pricey (ish) upgrade you've been wanting to make around your home, to your car, on your debt, etc. Bottom line? Your gift to yourself can be frivolous, but it can also be something worthwhile. Choose wisely.
Not to spend: A bunch of decorations. This could just be me, but holiday decorations are not in my budget this year. Why? I don't want the extra money on my utilities or on my checking account. Call me a scrooge, but I'm spending that money on my student loans. Merry Christmas to me!
To spend: Gifts for those I love. This year, I'm going to put extra effort into gifts for those I love. I'm going to cut out the frivolous "Oh, I know you, so you're getting a gift!" gifts and only focus on my immediate friends and family. And spoiler: I've ordered early to avoid rush shipping and handling. Not only am I able to spend a little more for my closest friends and family, but I'm also able to save time (and money) by not overdoing it on shipping costs.
"While we all love a good gift, time means more than anything."
Not to spend: Gifts for everyone I know. My best advice? Don't spend money on gifts for people who don't mean the world to you. I know, it can be difficult feeling like you want to spend money on absolutely everyone you know, but it'll feel so much better if you don't. You'll save energy, time and your hard-earned cash.
To spend: Time with loved ones. While we all love a good gift, time means more than anything. Seriously. The time we spend with our parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and friends means the world. It's both free and priceless, and there's really not much else in the world you can say that about.
Not to spend: Time beating yourself up. Can't afford a trip home, or a bunch of gifts? Don't waste a second caring. Know that we're all doing the best we can, and just because you can't afford an expensive trip across the country, or lavish gifts for your friends, doesn't mean you're less of a person. In fact, it means you're smart and considerate and know what it takes to draw that line.
To spend: An investment in me. Okay, we'll say this again. Up your car insurance or renter's insurance. Up your retirement or personal savings. Invest in yourself this year; I know I am! It does stink not to get a gift for myself, but I know I'll be satisfied one day.
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