To be honest, I don’t like Christmas. I like the essence and the significance of the festive season. I am equally happy about celebrating Christ’s birthday, and it’s not that I don’t like Santa either. Personally I value Christmas, but not financially. Instead of enjoying the season, I usually found myself stressed and worried about giving gifts, welcoming people, and arranging parties.
I, along with my wife, strive to keep the expenses under control every Christmas, but we always overspend. That’s the only reason why I adore Thanksgiving instead of Christmas.
I am quite unlike Mr. Moore, my neighbor. He just love parties, invites friends home, or goes to some of his friend’s place every night. I am a little introvert, may be due to my financial status. I like having fun, hospitality, friends, parties, etc, but not an overdose. However, we both respect each other for what we are. He likes me because I am not a party freak like him, and I keep reminding him that it is perfectly normal not to party sometimes.
I am always worried about my retirement expenses. Hence, I have decided to save some amount every week that would go directly to my 401k account. I have been adjusting my expenses for this since last 4 years, so my lifestyle is quite modest. Distributing gifts, therefore, is an expensive way for me to express love and affection. I know it’s not mandatory but there are few people whom I cannot avoid. I have to purchase gifts for my wife and my kids, I cannot escape that. Then there is Mr. Moore’s family, my in laws, and my grandmother. They are someone whom I really love and appreciate. It’s completely okay for me even if they are not able to reciprocate. However, I cannot gift them a Barbie doll, right? I have to give them something that they value and appreciate.
Moreover, contributing for gifts at workplace or giving a gift in return is an added trouble.
Here are few ideas I have come up with. It may work for you. Maybe not.
1. Homemade articles: I am sure that I won’t be able to come up with anything exciting or something that people might appreciate. However, I have a creative personality in my house, my wife. I have shared this idea with her and she is quite excited about it.
2. Budgeting and saving: Probably a fantastic idea. But for you. I have no room for any additional saving or adding any item in my budget. Although I have managed to save a diminutive amount for retirement, this year has been a disaster. I am not able to pay my bills on time.
3. Rebuff politely: If you really don’t have any money to gift your relatives, I am sure this one will definitely work for you. It has worked for me. I have been rebuffing since many years. They now don’t expect any gift in return and keep sympathizing. I hate this, hence I will gift them something this year. I am sure my wife will come up with something.
I have been noticing that this is a problem faced not only by me. Each year, during Christmas, I keep meeting more and more people unable to gift them. Some buy expensive gifts even if they are not able to afford it. They have to face very harsh consequences in January.
I hope this personal finance advice for this Christmas may be useful for you. If you can come up with any economical sources of gifts, kindly let me know.