Do you still need to buy presents for Christmas? You may feel pressured to get something for people you work with or certain family members, but before you run out to the store to buy last minute “deals,” you may want to think twice. Not everyone has experienced a salary increase and is able to buy whatever they want. Getting through the Holiday season while remaining in the black may mean adjusting your traditions.

Holiday Deals Aren’t Deals

While you may be tempted to buy the latest gadget or technological device, you should recognize that these last minute deals are making companies lots of money. Companies strive off of the fact that people like you and me wait until the last minute to buy things. When you are buying last minute, it is less likely that you are going to compare prices. You should always try to step back from impulse buy and examine whether it is the best deal. While I’m on the topic, you should avoid any purchase altogether if it is not absolutely necessary. Otherwise, thoughtless spending can turn into a habit and you won’t come close to achieving your financial goals.

When was the last time you were immersed in a crowd of holiday shoppers? My bet is that you weren’t thinking, “I should really figure out if this is the best deal available.” Instead, I am sure you were trying to figure out how to get something and get out of there as soon as possible. I know that is what crosses my mind when I go shopping during this time of the year. That is why I try to avoid it at all costs. Too many people in a small space is a recipe for disaster. I’m not claustrophobic, but I get a glimpse of what people who do have this disorder may feel like. I get anxious and I just want to drop everything and get out as soon as possible. With the check-out line as long as it gets during Holidays, it only makes sense that you are going to spend more money just to save the precious time. There is constant pressure and the positive emotions that the Holidays should bring fly out the window.

Change Your Holiday Spending

If you are find yourself behind in Holiday spending, why not change your Holiday traditions. Why spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on unnecessary items? Why go to all that trouble and add more stress to your life.

My wife and I came to this realization while we were in college. Being a poor college student always changes your priorities. We decided that we financially couldn’t buy each other big presents and still graduate college without any student loans. We realized we couldn’t do both and we knew what was a priority. Instead, we got creative and changed how we do Christmas.

Our New Holiday Spending Plan

Instead of trying to out-buy one another in buying gifts for each other, we decided to change how we do Christmas. As an alternative, we don’t buy each other anything. We usually will do things for each other that communicates our feelings toward one another, but our focus is on writing each other a letter reflecting on the past year. This usually becomes a combination between Christmas and New Years, but it is great.

The benefits of cutting back in our spending is well worth not having the latest gadget or current fad. We not only get rid of the stress in not having to go last minute shopping, but we save money. It also keeps us away from the detrimental practice of hoarding. Who needs all of that stuff anyway?

How do you do Christmas?