Tag Archives: Christmas gifts

A Few (Financial) Christmas Tips:

Can’t buy me love: That’s the title of a Beatles song, but so many grandparents attempt to do that with their over the top Christmas spending on grandkids. Kids on average play with their new toy for 20 minutes…then revert back to their current favourites. So you’d just be buying 20 minutes and you’re in competition with other gifts anyway.

Try spending less, but better, and test the 20-minute theory: Buy or get a BIG box (at least 4 or 5 feet square) and put their gift inside that massive box. Then time it: What do they play with and how long….you’ll see that it’s likely days with the box, versus minutes for the gift and that the box will get used for building a fort, or a ton of other creative and fun things for something you got for free, or cost you three bucks tops!

Don’t be selfish: Christmas isn’t about you gifting yourself. Commit to buying for yourself only after your January credit card statement. That way you’ve given yourself a short ‘time-out,’ and get to see the balance on your first post Christmas credit card. News flash: The average person underestimates their credit card spending by 20%. The day after you see you December statement, you can go nuts for yourself…but I’m betting you won’t….

Avoid Boxing Day shopping: Electronics on sale that day will have the Boxing day price as the regular price within months. Other things like clothing, shoes, etc. will also be on sale the entire month of January when retail sales are pretty dead. And do you really want to line up for an hour to save two bucks on wrapping paper? Sorry – that won’t change your financial life. Stay home, enjoy your family time, and not the line-up time. Boxing day stress just drains the Christmas spirit out of you in a hurry…

If you’re an adult kid over 18 and not living at home: Your parents do NOT want your PRESENTS that you likely can’t afford anyway. They want your PRESENCE. Believe me when I tell you that your presence, that quality time with your parents, is the best gift and at an affordable price if you get your priorities straight.

Merry Christmas!!

Four Actually Useful Christmas Tips

This week before Christmas, you’ll hear a lot of logical Christmas tips: Drink a lot of water, skip the sugary pop with your drink, and have a healthy snack before all those cookies. Gee – thanks – but I don’t know anyone who actually does that.

Hopefully, here are four things that might be more practical:

Speed kills. That’s not just a traffic rule, it also applies to your Christmas shopping. The faster you want to do it, or the later you leave it, the more it’ll cost you when you overpay just to get it over with. If you’re close to any stores, change your lunch hour one or two days this week to go at 10 or 11 AM, instead of noon, or trying to get into stores when the rest of the Okanagan is going at the same time. Even better is to take a morning off and do it then. Take a list, take the cash and have a plan.

If you’re a grandparent, your demographics have a reputation of buying too many gifts for the grandkids. Of course, you mean well, but stop a second and think of the unintended consequences: You’re setting an impossible expectation and template down the road for the parents, and you’re probably wasting a bunch of money. Lots of studies show that small kids play with the latest toy for less than half an hour. After that, they go back to the simple stuff, like that huge empty box, all that string, or the blankets to make a fort.

For us adults, I saw a wonderful Facebook picture last week. What lots of us really want is financial security, a raise, a stronger sense of purpose and a long, undisturbed nap. If you didn’t draw names, don’t kill yourself trying to buy a dozen presents. Just find a way to let us have a nap a couple of days in a row…

And lastly, I hope you remember something for the entire next year: For at least the first six years of your life you had an unshakable belief in Santa Claus. Could you find that same faith again in yourself for just a year to turn your finances around?

George Boelcke – Money Tools & Rules book – yourmoneybook.com