It’s getting a bit obvious that retailers are worried about low consumer spending for this year’s holiday season. I know that Christmas always seems to start early, but I think this is the first year I saw Christmas decorations appearing in the store as early as August. That’s even early for Halloween items, in my opinion. (Though it’s never too early for Halloween candy – that stuff should be available all year.)
Are you planning to scale back your holiday giving this year? Going with more handmade gifts instead of purchased gifts? Not giving gifts at all?
I haven’t yet decided what I’m doing about the holiday season. I feel that I have a bit more money to spend, as I bought my plane ticket home for miles ($10) rather than spending the normal $300-$400. Additionally, this is the first Christmas season where I spent the entire year working as opposed to going to school part of the year. So I should have more money to spend.
I never feel obligated to spend money, of course. My family is very much all about gifts that a person will enjoy rather than gifts that cost a lot of money. My siblings and I usually do the “Hey, what do you want for Christmas” thing or pass around Amazon wishlists. My sister loves movies and I often find myself buying her movies that I love after being appalled by the fact she does not own them already. Nothing super expensive. This year, my dad may get a collection of comics from the local comic book store, which means I get to give a fun gift and support a local business. I also plan to check out a few indie crafters that I love to see what sorts of items they’re selling. (I like to be able to support small businesses whenever possible, and it often means getting to give unique gifts.)
But I don’t know that I’ll be going all out this year. Even if I have the money, it just doesn’t seem prudent to be spending a lot of money unnecessarily. Of course, I’ve always been a big fan of gifts with meaning, so maybe it’s easier for me to say that I won’t spend a lot.
Will the current state of the economy affect your gifting this holiday season? Are you always a frugal gifter or do you like to splurge on your family and friends every year?
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.