Christmas is a festive holiday for families to get together, celebrate, and exchange gifts. Even those who don’t celebrate the holiday often appreciate the chance to have time from work to relax.
Christmas and materialism often go hand in hand. Purchasing gifts for family members and friends, and even oneself, often overshadows the spirit of the season.
If you’re thinking about buying yourself a couple of items during the Christmas season, we’d caution you to wait. Here are three things you should try to avoid, in particular.
Anything You Can’t Easily Afford
Anything that puts you in substantial debt after the holiday season would undoubtedly be right at the top of the list of things you can do without. This applies to gifts you might buy for yourself and anything you might get for another person.
If you’re looking at a particular item, and you know that if you get it, you’re probably going to need to consult a debt payoff calculator when January comes, you’re being too extravagant. That might apply to big-ticket items like new vehicles, massive TVs, high-end electronics, or jewelry.
If you feel like you have saved enough money for an expensive item, and now you’re ready to purchase it, so be it. But if you know it will take you many months to pay it off, and you’ll have to live frugally all that time, it’s probably best to reconsider.
Anything Needing Additional, Ongoing Purchases
There are some items you might get as a Christmas gift for yourself or others that are expensive, but that you can afford. Maybe you have had your eye on this item for a while and have saved up to procure it.
If you’ve budgeted and prepared for this larger purchase, it’s probably fine to go through with your plan to bring it home during the holiday season. You might even be able to get a better price on it right now if it’s on sale.
However, it’s important to watch out for items that need an additional financial outlay to enjoy them as time passes. An example might be something like a Peloton exercise bike. These bikes require subscription services, which you’ll have to pay for every month. Can you afford to add that to your list of financial obligations at the moment?
A new pet would be another example of a purchase that requires ongoing financial obligation. Buying a dog, cat, or other pet might seem like a good idea at first, but remember that you must pay for their toys, food, vet bills, and more going forward. Only take on the responsibility if you feel you have the money to do so.
A suitable gift for yourself or someone you love is probably the most appropriate if you don’t already have it. That sounds obvious, but it might surprise you how many people get something for themselves or a family member when they already have something very similar.
This might be something like a yearly membership to a streaming service. There are tons of these services available now, such as Disney+, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and so many more. It’s true that each one has exclusive shows and movies on it that the others don’t have. However, if you’ve already got three or four of these services, is it prudent to get another one?
The answer will vary for each family and individual. Unless you’re flush with cash, though, adding another streaming service, video game system, vehicle, clothing item, or something along those lines when you already have one, or more than one, can be both excessive and not financially smart.
The Season Should Be More About Togetherness than Materialism
It helps to remember that Christmas should not be about maxing out your credit cards. Most people agree it should be more about spending time with your loved ones and contemplating the past year’s events. Use these tips to steer clear of purchasing things that are unnecessary or will break the bank, and then direct your attention to what really matters.