Surveys and statistics say that we spend exorbitant amounts during the holiday season — for many homeowners, more than they can afford. Is it the joy of giving, the unconscious need to follow the Jones’s? I’m sure psychologists have a lot to say on the topic.
One thing is certain: During this holiday period, reason and sensible spending will be tossed out the window when it comes to buying family and friends holiday gifts.
And this year promises another record spending holiday season.
Last year, total retail sales for the holiday season climbed 3.6 per cent. This year Deloitte expects retail holiday sales to top $1 trillion between the months of November and January.
The U.S. CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report said that the average APR for new credit card offers hit another record this week, inching up to an all-time high of 16.14 per cent, from 16.13 per cent.
The Montreal Gazette reported that “lack of competition among banks, insufficient regulation and consumers’ behaviour all contribute.” In June of this year — after a seasonal decrease in the first quarter, credit card debt reportedly hit a new record high in June 2017.
PWC reported that Canadians are projected to spend an average $1,507 this holiday season. And Cision said that 80 per cent of Canadians will spend the same or more than they did last year.
No wonder retailers are doing cartwheels all the way to the bank.
To this frugal — okay, cheap — DIYer, over-the-top spending is a big mistake, because many homeowners run up huge balances on their credit cards without being fully aware of the consequences.
In order to avoid spending too much, here are two tips to help you curb holiday spending from CJ The Money Guru (https://cjthemoneyguru.com/).
1. Consider that most people won’t remember what you got them.
CJ the Money Guru posed the question: Ask anybody in your family or your friends what you got them for Christmas last year and I guarantee they will struggle telling you. Realizing that it makes little sense to buy gifts that they will forget, here is the solution: Rather than splurging on gifts you can’t afford, buy something more affordable instead, such as great items at bargain prices. This thinking also applies to family, especially our kids dependent on the latest technological gadgets. Instead of buying them the hottest and newest cellphones that cost hundreds of dollars, why not buy an older model released two or three years ago?
Sure, there are updates and new apps every year. But do we need them? The answer is obvious.
Actually, cellphones change little year to year. They’re faster and offer more bells and whistles. But why pay for them when you don’t need them? Instead, consider a rebuilt or refurbished model with a warranty, which many companies offer. The savings are dramatic. Your kids may not be happy, but they ought to be. So let’s stop spoiling them to the point where they expect the newest tech toys on the market.
The last thing they’re thinking about is the cost. Why should they, when mom and dad willingly buy them what they want? However, they ought to be thrilled they’re getting a great phone that delivers an incredible performance.
2. Don’t buy things because they’re on sale. Consider whether it’s a gift the recipient needs.
CJ the Money Guru pulls no punches and said, “During the holidays, many retailers will try to entice you to buy a lot of crap that you don’t need. They will mark the items down in price and flash a huge ‘Sale’ ad in your face so you are more likely to buy it.” Don’t fall for it. This is how many shoppers are taken to the cleaners and end up “with a pile of junk in their house that they don’t need.”