Like every morning, I made my cup of coffee and looked for articles and blog posts about money, spending and budgeting. There are days when I have to dig to find anything worth sharing on QMR’s Twitter account (@MoneyRecordapp) but not today. Believe it or not I found about 20 articles related to to Christmas and festive spending. I’ll try to sum up the interesting money management lessons I learned.
Christmas is expensive
I bet you already know this but I learnt interesting statistics that Britons will spend £800 on average this festive season and that American will use $480.28 to buy gifts for their family. This sounds like a lot of money to me but it’s nothing compared to people in the Silicon Valley who have the highest holiday shopping budget of $2886 while people in Denver spend $800. In Europe, Britons are the most generous spenders but Romanians spend the biggest portion of their income on gifts.
Christmas is stressful and leads to irrational shopping
Britons will spend a lot but one out of four says that they feel pressured to do so and may have to borrow money! Why is what is supposed to be a pleasant family moment becomes a source of stress? Britons say they feel pressure from their family or by the idealized Christmassy image conveyed in movies and on television. In the US, 4 out of 10 people spent more than they intended to during the Christmas season. And some people plan to finance their spending by opening new credit card accounts. Christmas makes us feel emotional and insensitive to the amount of money that leaves our wallet.
There are ways to avoid the festive season spending disaster
I don’t really like articles that makes me feel guilty. I want positive reinforcement to control my budget! It is difficult to be disciplined and to follow a budget with so many temptations. Actually this may be easier if I leave my credit card home and pay by cash on a day when I have time or feel relaxed or if I shop online. This year can also become the time when you change your habit. Do you really have to buy one gift for each family member? Would you prefer to spend more on the children? You could offer one common gift per adult and more for the kids. Try also handmade gifts such as a personalized photo album which will be more appreciated than a pair of socks. Christmas shouldn’t involve pressure and I believe that if some people only focus on material gifts, they are missing a lot.
I wrote another blog post about a Christmas Budget if you’d like to have a look.
Merry Christmas everyone!