Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday Shopping Tip #2: Don't.

Considering that we are officially in a recession, I'd like to offer up a few suggestions that just might ease the burden on your wallet/credit card statement this holiday season. If you didn't already fight the crowds on Black Friday or max out your Visa on Cyber Monday, it may not be too late to take some of these ideas into consideration.

1. Are you buying toys for your young children?
If so, ask yourself these questions: "WHY?" and "WHAT am I buying?"
First, the "why." A good idea before buying any toys is to closely examine the stash your kids already have, then add in the approximate amount they will likely receive from other relatives. Is your contribution really necessary?
Then, there is the "what." I know I am not in a position to speak to parents of older kids about holiday gifts. My oldest is 6 years old and homeschooled, so he hasn't yet learned that everybody has a Wii and/or an Xbox. If your kids are little, take advantage of the fact that they think a $5.00 Play-Doh Fun Factory is the coolest toy ever invented. Save your money for those future game systems, iPods and name-brand jeans.

2. Are you exchanging gifts with family members just because it's what you've always done?
Is there anyone on your list who might be open to a frank discussion about giving each other a break? We've been working on this over the past couple of years and have identified the people in our lives who actually enjoy the process of giving and receiving gifts. For those people we have continued the tradition. With others we have mutually agreed to not buy each other, or each other's children, any Christmas gifts. This has really reduced my stress and my spending during the holidays, without losing any of the fun or offending anyone for whom gift-giving is important. Other families draw names and buy a gift only for one person, which seems to work well especially in large extended families where it would be impractical for everyone to buy each other gifts.

3. Do you go to the mall to shop for other people and walk out with a ton of stuff for yourself?
This used to happen to me all the time, back before I had kids and visiting the mall became a nightmare. The stores had all these great deals! I'd see something I'd been wanting forever, and here it was on sale! Before I knew it, my arms were full of shopping bags but I hadn't bought a thing for anyone else on my list.
The solution to this would be, don't go to the mall. Also, nowadays we need to add, don't just browse around on the Internet either. Don't go to any sort of shopping place, physical or virtual, unless you have a plan, a list, and if possible, limited time.

What do you think of these ideas? Do I totally sound like a Scrooge?
How about you, readers? What, if anything, are you doing to cut back this holiday season? Have any insight and ideas of your own?


Meaghan said...

I'm mostly intrigued by the fact that you're homeschooling. I'm so down with that. Would love to talk to you at length about it.

Regarding the rest of your post, Scrooge, you're absolutely right. People everywhere are struggling. There's no reason to break the bank this year. Mountains of gifts aren't what the holiday is all about anyway.

We're cutting back on everything. We're buying three gifts for the little one and adding in gifts from relatives, as you suggest, to the pile from "Santa." And we're only giving gifts to other kids in the family, no adults.

Angela said...

I just posted about this 20 minute online movie:
Have you seen it!? watch it!!
discuss it with your kids! its great.

we don't go to the mall, either...hardly EVER.

One of the biggest reasons we got rid of our tv was b/c all those commercials make me think i need more stuff...and i know i don't.

yay for handmade christmas... or water for christmas!!

i'm thinking of doing a NO SPEND January...where i only buy what we have to have: food, medication...etc, and NOTHING we don't HAVE.TO.HAVE. Wanna join me?