Eight years ago, while pregnant and with a baby at home, I was standing in a line wrapped around a department store at 3 AM, doing the pee dance and waiting for some unknown great deal.
Looking back, it was utterly ridiculous and unnecessary torture for my always full bladder.
I had a plan, though.
I would buy the Thanksgiving paper. Ads would be spread across the table, while Thanksgiving dishes sat in the sink, and I would map out where to go first and what deals could wait until 5 AM when the “late” deal seekers woke up.
I was being smart. Money was tight. We would save a bundle. This is what I told myself.
Now, looking back, when money isn’t as tight and my kids are old enough to be watching and creating traditions, I see the foolishness in my actions.
I wasn’t saving money.
I wasn’t making memories the way I wanted to for a family holiday.
I was becoming a holiday slave to consumerism.
I was forgetting the blessings sitting around my Thanksgiving table and cutting them short to spend time with strangers.
I was spending money we could have been giving.
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Change Your Holiday Shopping Habits
Don’t buy the holiday newspaper
I used to get giddy over the holiday newspaper. The thick ads, the colorful sales pages. Me and a sharpie were best friends as we scoured the pages for the best gift ideas.
Guess what? If you don’t buy the paper, you won’t learn about all the deals you are “missing.”
Turns out, after years of not buying it, I wasn’t missing anything at all. Gifts still got bought (for those who made the final list), and deals were still found.
I was buying with purpose, rather than falling to the temptation of all those colors and dollars “saved.”
Start deleting emails
I can’t believe how many emails I’ve received over the last 48 hours with a deal I can’t miss – all from retailers and bloggers who haven’t bothered to email me at all over the last ten months.
These people don’t have a relationship with me. I’m just an email address, and now they want my money.
If you don’t have a relationship with someone in your inbox, hit unsubscribe and delete.
If you remove the temptations, it’s a lot easier to ignore them.
Cull your gift-giving list
This sounds so Grinch-like. I get it.
It took me a long time to wrap my brain around this concept, but eventually, with a few years of practice, we were able to do it.
Do you really need to get a gift for your neighbor? Could you just bake them cookies or have them over for dinner?
Do you really need to get all your co-workers something? Could you all just take a holiday lunch together or do a White Elephant exchange?
Think about those you LOVE to shop for over the holidays, and then about those that feel obligatory. Maybe give them a call and suggest this year, you spend time together, rather than spending money on gifts.
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Create a new tradition
Stay home the weekend after Thanksgiving. Instead of shopping, plan something fun. Create a new tradition.
Buy a Christmas tree and decorate it.
Make Christmas cookies.
Make hot cocoa and watch a holiday movie marathon.
Finish a craft project.
Teach your kids how to cook something.
Go for a hike.
Edit and cut your gift-giving list.
Do anything that’s not in a store. You won’t regret it.
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Make a holiday budget
Make a holiday budget this year. Too many folks end up in debt after the holiday season. Make this the year you aren’t one of those people.
Don’t just include gifts in your budget.
Think about it all!
The following should probably be considered:
- Christmas tree
- Gift wrap
- Holiday groceries
- Holiday events
- Giving opportunities
Related Post: How Minimalism Can Save You Money This Year
Make a list
Even Santa makes a list (and checks it twice). Be Santa.
Have a plan on what gifts you want to get, and then, search for great deals on those specific items.
There will still be good deals all month for those must-have gifts for your family.
I was just reading an article about how stores are realizing they are making MORE money by spreading the deals out all month, rather than cramming them all into one day or one weekend.
Turns out, people are happy to spend money AND appreciate their holidays at home.
When you shop, have a list of ideas and do your best to stick with them. It’s easy to get caught up in the good deals and then think you should buy more. You don’t have to, though.
One perfect present at half your budget doesn’t mean you have to keep shopping. Enjoy the savings (or find a way to give with the rest of your budget).
Take time to slow down and enjoy your holiday season
The stores can wait. The good deals can wait.
You don’t need an upcoming year of debt and clutter. Help yourself out now, rather than later.
Create new traditions.
You’ve got this.
Want more ideas on how to slow down your holiday season? Check out this related post: