Under the Influence – I Love to Christmas Shop!

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By Shawndi Purselley, CFP®, CDFA®, Owner and Co-Founder, Wealth Advisor

I love to Christmas shop, and I know I am not alone with this statement!  I love the whole shopping experience.  I love a great girl’s day out with my friends or family.  We have lunch, drink coffee from Starbucks and spend too much money.  The shopping is even better during the holiday season because I can justify spending money on others; It’s a win-win!  Even though I love a good shopping day, with the popularity in online shopping, I find it easier to cost compare in order to save money on a particular item.  However, I have a tendency to actually spend more money buying MORE things because it’s so easy to just click a button and use my PayPal account to purchase.  The shopping and gift universe is open to so many great gift possibilities online, it’s hard to control myself.  I always find things I wouldn’t necessarily find if I were to physically visit stores.

Buying gifts for people is such a rewarding experience for me. I love watching my kids and family members on Christmas opening their treasures.  However, it is perfectly acceptable to manage your kids and grandkids expectations of seasonal gifts.  If your children are used to getting spoiled beyond your means, there is nothing wrong with having a chat with them and providing them a budget for the things they will be putting on their Christmas list.

Overspending can really be exciting in the moment, but can really cause a lot of long-term anxiety due to the stress of having to now pay for the things you purchased.  Some may find that they now have to take money from other parts of their budget in order to cover the overspending cost.  This shell game can lead to an unmanageable budget and can have long term effects on our financial goals and priorities.  We see this maneuvering of assets in our practice and it’s a topic we can help you build a plan for.  Some will try to spend themselves out of the stress of a failed budget, because the spending endorphins begin popping. However, that practice never works and leads to more substantial problems.  If you are facing an amount of debt that seems unmanageable or a budget that just doesn’t seem to work, give us a call and we can help work through this with you.

What can we do to not overspend?

  • Set your Christmas budget early each year for the amount of money you wish to spend on gifts. I do this by making my list of gift recipients and assigning a budget for each person I will be spending on.  Have the conversation with your kids and grandkids about their allotted Christmas budget and ask them to provide a Christmas list that is realistic and within the budget.  For example: “Hello family, this year I plan on spending $100 on each of you, so when you are giving me your gift ideas, please keep them inside of the budget.”
  • Then start setting aside money each paycheck in order to meet your Christmas budget on time.
  • Do not take credit or debit cards along with you to the stores.
  • Use the cash you have budgeted and saved throughout the year for your gift purchases.

These are a few great ways to stay on track this gift season.  We hope you and your family have a safe, healthy and blessed holiday season this year!

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