I personally have a deep love of the holiday season, but I know many people who do not. Reasons include sentiments such as “Peace on Earth” which are forgotten after January 1, obligatory family time and holiday parties, but the one constant I almost always hear is stress. And that stress is usually related to money.
Shopping can indeed be a high-stress venture over the holidays, given the crowds, the sales, the picking-the-perfect-gift challenge and a host of other elements like the tempting food court in the mall. But, it doesn’t have to be that way, so throughout the holiday season, we at The LAMP are offering some simple ways to keep your spending (and sanity) in check during one of the most difficult times for consumers. The first one is:
The real cost is not on the price tag. On Black Friday, thousands of people head to stores right after that last bite of pumpkin pie, prepared to wait for hours in their cars or on sidewalks for “doorbuster deals.” People get injured, angry and broke over a zeal to complete all of their holiday shopping in one day, or to save money on a new flatscreen.
Before you join the fray, ask yourself if this is worth it. Is buying the hot holiday toy for your kid really worth coming home in a foul mood, exhausted, resentful of what you just had to go through for it? Remember that you teach your children what the holidays are about. If you act as though shopping is at the heart of all December activity, odds are that your children grow up and continue the vicious cycle. They recall not that holidays are about building relationships with your friends and family, but that they are for competitive shopping excursions. If you are someone who finds yourself exceedingly stressed this time of year, take a second and think–how did your parents act during the holiday season?
In the end, you may finally be getting the TV you’ve always wanted, or you may be getting your children the toys at the top of their lists. But, you’ve lost the ability to sleep in the day after a large meal, a bit of your sanity has been sacrificed, and you’re buying into what retailers mean when they say dreams come true at the holidays. The $200 you saved to buy something you probably don’t really need, the lesson taught to your child when he receives every gift on his wishlist–how much does that cost?