Friday, November 18, 2011

Simple Savings - Checking it Twice

Many of you are familiar with the line in Santa Claus is Coming to Town where "He's making a list; checking it twice..." This is a good thing to do, and not just to find out who is naughty or nice. Black Friday is coming up and people go crazy and sometimes forget who they are as they push their way through crowds trying to get the "deals" out there. I went shopping a few days ago. They had happy Christmas music playing and deals everywhere. I saw some great sales. But, I came to the store to get some towels and not to buy a lasagna pan or another dutch oven, even though their prices were really good. Take time to look over your list before you go shopping and stick to your list. Don't be tempted by all the good deals out there. There are always good deals somewhere. I think that people get caught up just trying to get a great price. Think about each person your are buying things for this Christmas. Is the gift you are buying for them something they want or need or will even like? Will they end up having to return it or throw it away or donate it to charity? Why are you giving them the gift? Is it just to get them checked off your list? Would it be better to give them a gift card instead so they can get something they want? I wrote an article about wedding gifts a few years ago, but I think that the same principles can apply to getting any type of gift. You don't want to spend your money just to contribute to the landfill. Make it something useful or consumable so you aren't just cluttering their home with gifts they will feel too guilty to get rid of. And, when you give a gift, don't go to their home asking where the gift was you gave them. Once it is given, it is theirs to do what they want with it. They shouldn't have to keep it and display it just to make you happy. Accept the fact that you didn't find something they wanted and be wiser next time. One gift that they really like is better than ten gifts that they don't want. It is not about the amount of gifts, it is about the thoughtfulness behind the gift. If you can't think of anything, ask family members. If no one knows, give cash, gift cards or donate to a charity for them. Check that list twice or maybe even more than that. Make sure you have a good idea of what you are planning on buying and stick to your list. If you have made a budget for Christmas, get it out and write down how much you are spending on each person. Don't go over the budgeted amount. Don't go into debt and you will find that the holiday season is more enjoyable without lots of bills to pay after it is over.

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