Target and Hobby Lobby’s halls have been decked for months by now. The catalogs are flooding your mailbox. Your email inbox notification goes off morning and night with notices of more sales and all the things “you must have”.
Consumer culture is a REAL THING. These giant companies (that we love!) spend, and are paid, BAJILLIONS of dollars to make you spend more and to convince you that you definitely do need that furry table runner in white this year because red is so last year.
I get it, I fall victim to it all the time too. But I think there is a better way. In fact, I know there is a better way. It’s going to require some gumption on your part, some boundaries as always, and maybe some sneaking…
Are you ready for it? Because I’ve got 3 of my best tips that will help you spend LESS, relax more, and ENJOY this magical season of the holidays.
Wrapped and Done by December 1
I’ve done it for YEARS, and it sounds crazy, and the first couple of years it FEELS crazy, but wrapped and done by December One has SAVED. MY. BACON.
Not sure what this crazy Dr. Suess-like event is? I wrote a whole post about it last year (including an invite for you to use!). The jist of it though is that you complete your holiday shopping by December 1st including your wrapping! I know that sounds nuts to some of you, but it has been the absolute best thing for my mental health during the holiday season, and my pocketbook.
Planning that far in advance requires me to be intentional about my gifts. This means I make FAR FEWER impulse purchases (you know the ones…I’m looking at you Target Dollar Spot), and I feel better about the gifts I’m giving to my people because I’ve THOUGHT about what they need and would actually enjoy! I don’t want to give to Grandma Gertrude out of obligation, I want to give out of joy! And getting ahead of the holiday curve by purchasing, and then wrapping gifts by December 1st is my ace-in-the-hole secret to less stress, and spending less, each year.
Hit the Unsubscribe Button
Remember how we talked about those big, glorious, box companies that spend 5 quadrillion dollars to make us NEED all the glitter and gold?? Well, there is a strategy around them.
I know, it means you might miss the killer Black Friday Sale, or the insane Cyber Monday deals, or ALL of the last-minute “must haves” they will try to sell you. The ENTIRE retail industry makes their YEAR during Christmas. If you have a goal to spend less this holiday season on stuff that you may or may not need, then be proactive on your inbox.
Simplify your stores. Choose 1-5 stores that you for sure will need to buy gifts from, and UNSUBSCRIBE to all the rest. You do not need to passively receive everyone else’s holiday agenda for what you should buy and spend this year – take charge by bravely unsubscribing from all the retailers that you most definitely do not need.
And while you’re unsubscribing, also feel free to chuck those holiday catalogs straight into the recycling bin. Remember, we are being proactive with our gift giving, not reactive to the pretty pictures and fake lifestyle of bliss they’re trying to sell me.*
*I realize this strategy might not win me any popularity contests anytime soon amongst my friends, but whatevs.
Prioritize Experiences Over Things
Let’s play a game: you name your favorite gift that you received each year of your childhood up until 18.
I can think of the year I got tickets to my first concert (N*SYNC) and one year I got some highly coveted Adidas Gazelles and a coordinating Adidas Jacket. #ninetieskid
I do remember going to the Nutcracker most every year with my Grandparents. I remember driving to stay with my other grandparents for holiday madness and the fun that ensued with a gadjillion cousins under one roof.
Point is that it’s hard to remember the STUFF. Give the gift that your people will remember year after year – an experience. Ideas can include manicure date with your daughter (hello Christmas nails!), a giftcard to an indoor skydiving place, go-kart racing, teppanyaki for dinner, even a budgeted shopping “spree” that includes a lunch date beforehand. The gift of TIME will always trump an experience. And the connection that is made during that experience will far outlast any this-year’s-Tickle-Me-Elmo (that’s a really outdated reference I know).
There you have it. 3 Simple Ways to Spend Less & Relax More this holiday season.
- Wrapped and Done by December 1
- Choose 1-5 retailers to buy from this year. Unsubscribe from the rest.
- Prioritize experiences over things.