My solid strategy for Christmas shopping never changes from year to year and since applying it, Christmas shopping has been a wonderful experience for me. I want to share this strategy and how it can also tie into living a more positive life.
As I’ve said before, Christmas is something that brings a mixture of emotions out of people.
It can bring sadness from the loss of a loved one.
It can bring joy for a variety of reasons.
Perhaps even peace if you are one of those who prefers a quiet Christmas.
But one thing that I notice from a lot of people is this one emotion. You can even call it a theme.
The week before, I finished up nearly all of my Christmas shopping. And as I told that to some of the cashiers they said they were jealous of me. They even looked a little stressed.
Instead of gloating about it, I told them my theory for Christmas shopping.
It’s a theory that I use every single year and it’s become a system in what I use for Christmas shopping.
It’s such an effective method that I’m typically done Christmas shopping the first or second week of December at most.
This is the first time in a long time that I’m into the third week and haven’t bought everything.
Also for the record, I start Christmas shopping and thinking of gift ideas starting at the beginning of December.
This means that I don’t devote hours or evens days to research gift ideas. I have a rough idea of what to get people.
I also know that since writing this we are so close to Christmas and people have probably purchased everything. That being said, there is still some practicality behind this.
For one, you can always use this theory for next year when buying for other people.
The second reason is this can help you filter your purchases for yourself outside of Christmas.
And ultimately this method can save you time, money, energy, and most of all eliminate the stress of Christmas shopping.
The Christmas Shopping Theory
So what exactly is my Christmas Shopping Theory? Well to put it simply:
I only purchase two items that are under $100 in value for each person I wish to buy items for.
Furthermore these items are practical (most of the time), and have some thought put into them.
This criteria is incredibly helpful as I am part of a large family. I have many uncles, aunts, and cousins. If I were to get gifts for everyone, it would be a disaster.
So let’s look at each part, as each criteria has two elements to it. You can use these same elements to manage your own spending outside of Christmas as well.
Two Items: Buying Less
The first part is I only purchase two items for people. With my limited amount of money two items I feel is enough.
I believe Christmas isn’t about the gifts, in fact I care more about the people.Christmas is a joy for me because I get to spend time with my parents. Since I work upstairs in my room it’s often rare for us to sit down as a family and do something.
This is reflected in my purchases in the sense I buy less.
This is also good training for me once money isn’t as much of a soft spot as well.
After all once you are making more money, some times people expect more from you. They expect hand outs.
But by buying less we are in fact spoiling others less.
I feel that this is important as often times people go crazy with Christmas shopping and give their kids many gifts.
This in turn can make a child want even more gifts all year round and that habit can be dangerous for them when they grow up.
The Millionaire Next Door narrows it down further to individuals relying on their older parents for financial support when they get older. This can be mitigated by showing kids certain things.
For example a kid has better money management growing up if they see their parents doing budgets.
Conversely if you want your child to spend lots of money on stuff, simply go on shopping sprees more often.
Anyway this theory works well because if everyone is purchasing gifts for everyone involved, you’re still walking away with many items.
Two gifts doesn’t sound like a lot, but imagine getting two items from every member of your immediate family.
Outside of Christmas, this can also teach you to not spoil yourself as much too. It can teach you the value your purchases, but also to focus on the quality of your purchases.
Many millionaires only get richer because they spend most of their income on financial vehicles.
I’m sure they spend money on leisurely things as well, but it’s rare and they don’t go overboard.
$100 Dollars: Being Frugal
You can call it cheap or simply being frugal. I know for myself money is a soft spot so I want to be limiting how much I spend.
But this is a habit that I want to develop once more when I do have more spending room.
This part still is part of the whole spoiling element I mentioned above.
If you buy really expensive items for people they can get used to this lavish type of life.
Going back to The Millionaire Next Door, there are many middle class people living in upper class houses.
They give off a vibe that they are millionaires, yet they are being supported by family, massive debt, and their middle-class job.
I don’t want to lie to myself and act like I’m wealthy. Instead, I’ll develop the habits to make me wealthy.
I stick with $100 at most though lately I aim to spend $50 or less per item. That may seem small for some people but you’d be surprised what you can find for under $100.
Not to mention with all sorts of Christmas sales, there’s plenty of opportunities to take advantage of.
Of course the longer you wait, the chances of higher discounts are out. However 20% off still isn’t half bad.
Either way this part of the theory is to put some ease on your wallet. In a lot of cases many people spend twice as much money on purchases in December than in any other month of the year.
No doubt a lot of that goes onto a credit card and you find yourself paying that back for several months after.
So going into Christmas shopping with a budget in mind narrows down your list. It also is not as stressful since you won’t have to worry as much on paying down your credit card.
This also teaches you to be frugal in your own personal life. Again people are accustomed to purchasing large items on the regular.
A lot of those middle-class people masquerading as millionaires often buy expensive vehicles once per year. That’s unnecessary.
This characteristic is suggesting to “live within your means”.
So spend wisely. Invest heavily into the areas where you can get a return like stocks, financial advice and so on.
Be stingy on how much you spend on merchandise, gifts and “new toys”, but don’t be a cheapskate.
Practical Items: Getting To Know The Person
One of the big reasons I don’t buy gifts for most of my relatives is I don’t know them all that well. Yes they are my family but for Christmas shopping I don’t know what to get them.
Even for my own immediate family it can be a little tricky. It’s probably why two items work so well since my parents are at an age where they don’t need things.
But all in all, to be on my Christmas list is a matter of spending time with me.At least to the point that I know a persons interests and having an item that can help supplement that.
I go for practicality as it allows a person to use this item on a regular basis. It’s the main reason I don’t always go for consumable items. I want something that can last for half a year or beyond that.
Once more in order to do that, it’s important to form bonds and relationships with other people.
Furthermore it can allow you to be picky because if you have a family member that mistreats you or you don’t get along with.
You can justify not buying something for them this way.
What this part of the theory teaches me and you is to focus on the quality of your purchases. In other words to filter your purchases: ask would this be helpful for someone?
You can use this same question for your own purchases. Does this help you right now or is unnecessary?
Going back to the purchase of a motor vehicle as an example you can say it is helpful. It provides a fast mode of transportation.
However if you still have a fully functioning vehicle prior to this purchase is it really needed?
Can you justify that purchase knowing you have something that already provides that need already?
Thought: Having Sentimental Value
In the end, a Christmas gift is a gift from the heart. It’s not what exactly the gift is, it’s the general spirit of giving.
It’s the main reason I get practical, relatively inexpensive, and not as many of them. For me, it shows that I care for the person.
Not to mention I believe our own words can make more of an impact on a persons life than what any gift would do.
The ability to change someone’s life doesn’t have a price tag.
Yes many items in the world can help enhance habits and change people’s lives. But I feel being physically present, helpful, and supportive every other day of the year is the best gift you can give.
Christmas shopping may be done for you, but like I said above, keep this theory in mind for next year.
Use this to filter your own purchases as we get into the new year.
Practice this theory for Christmas shopping next year.
Maybe even go a step further and make adjustments to your Christmas list for next year when you do get around to that.
To your growth!
Visit Eric at EricScottBurdon.com