Yes, you can spend less at Christmas. Really.
Spending less at Christmas is obviously beneficial. When you spend less, you have more money available to put in your savings account or to pay off debts. There are, however, lesser known benefits to doing Christmas on the cheap.
1. No stress: Driving on icy, snow-covered roads to brave the crowds at your local mall only to spend more than you wanted is stressful. Many worry about finding the perfect gift, getting everything on their long gift list and shipping it all on time. Let’s not even talk about the long line at the post office. When you intentionally spend less at Christmas, you can avoid many of these stress inducers.
2. No January Surprise: Many Americans go through the holiday season with blinders on and happily charge whatever they want on their credit cards. The shocker comes in January when they get their monthly statement or, worse, statements. Opening that dreaded envelope and seeing the balance, rapidly compounding interest, late fees, new monthly payment and possibly even an over limit fee can all bring one back to reality fast. The real joy of cutting back and spending less at Christmas is knowing that you won’t be paying for Christmas in monthly installments.
3. Real Focus: Spending less at Christmas allows you to focus on what is really important. Namely, spending time with family and friends, enjoying the simple pleasure of home-cooked meals, participating in candlelight services and volunteering to make the holiday enjoyable for those less fortunate. Once you step away from the commercial aspect of the holiday by refusing to spend ridiculous amounts of money, you can really appreciate these “gifts”.
4. Chance to Relax: Many people take time off from their jobs over the Christmas holiday only to run around like crazy, trying to get everything done. They spend every weekend and off hour running from mall to mall, shopping with abandon. Some even pull all-nighters just to wrap the multitude of presents. This routine can be downright exhausting. Remember that this is your weekend, your vacation time. Sit back and enjoy it. If you only purchase a small, token gift for everyone on your list, you will be able to spend more time with your family and friends and less time with the clerk at your teen’s favorite store. You work hard all year. Why not make taking time to relax a personal gift to yourself.
Don’t overlook the simplicity and idealism of these benefits. If everyone took a little time to spend less over the holidays, even if it meant just eliminating one or two gifts, Christmas would be less stressful, more affordable and more enjoyable for all.