UNITED STATES—Halloween is now behind us and the next big holiday where money will be spent, Christmas is fast upon us. With that said, I started Christmas shopping a bit early this year as a result of the pandemic. I got a lot of nifty gifts for family at really solid prices, prices that I never thought possible and because of that, I think I might have over bought and we’re only in the first week of November people. Unlike last year, where I did a bit more spending than I imagined, I have no plans to do it this year.

I’m keeping it small, I’m keeping it simple and I’m not going to spend more than what my budget can handle people, not in 2020. So the question I should have asked myself, which I’m sure plenty of you are asking as well: how do I cut costs when it comes to spending on Xmas gifts? It starts with knowing who you are buying for. Is it a kid, a tween, a teen, a young adult, middle-aged woman or man, a grandparent, a child, a parent or a friend? Once that is clear, it is time to decide what is your budget? What can you spend, what do you want to spend.

So many of us tend to spend more than we can afford because we want to impress or outdo others. Stop, that is something we should not and we do not need to do. Competing with family members or desiring to go above and beyond so we can show the person we purchase that gift or gifts for and we pay for it dearly with our wallet. The wallet or purse handle takes a direct hit from all those gifts we pay for and a lot of the time, those gifts come and go. I hate to say it that way, but so many people don’t think about it after they open the present.

Why tear out your hair trying to find the perfect gift? What does that even mean? Yes, it is quite ambiguous to say the least. It is impossible to find the perfect gift and who says you can place a price tag on the perfect gift. I don’t believe you can, but we’ve become enamored in this world where we are consumed with materialistic things. What I have, what I don’t have and who sees what I have? We are too focused on getting the accolades we don’t just take a moment and listen to what the person on the opposite end is telling us.

They really don’t want anything or perhaps they told us what they wanted and we failed to listen. It was something small or simple, but we over estimated that notion because we wanted to hear what we heard and we didn’t listen to what we were being told. Once you eliminate all the psychology that goes into purchasing gifts, you need to focus on bargains. However, if you focus on a bargain make sure it’s something that you KNOW the person you’re purchasing for wants or needs. I tend to lean towards the NEED element because it’s something that will be regularly used without delay.

Don’t you hate when someone buys you something that you never use, you never wear or you never touch? I know I do and its worst when the money being spent comes from your pocket. Those are funds that you could have used to save for retirement, to purchase something you actually need or create lifelong memories.