Take the Holiday Spending Quiz!
CNBC reports that holiday receipts could total more than $1.1 trillion this year for retailers quoting projections from Deloitte, one of the country’s “Big Four” accounting firms. Consumer confidence is still riding high and the experts predict the average consumer will spend just over $1,000 during the holiday season.
If you have the cash and can stick to a budget, you won’t be wringing your hands in January when you get you bank statements! Suze Orman, our favorite financial guru, offers some sound advice before you jump online and start cyber shopping or booking travel.
Suze’s Three Question Quiz
To avoid making some bad financial decisions over the holidays, Suze poses the three-question quiz:
- Is it kind?
- Is it necessary?
- Is it true?
Make sense? She explains it this way: “I will not do something if it is not kind, to me. Necessary, for me. And true to what I need and what I believe.” Suze says a gift purchase that comes from the deepest, purest place in your heart can be a mistake if it not kind, to you. And she means, if you can’t really afford the gift, then it’s a bad choice. For both the giver and the recipient. Who wants a gift that creates a hardship for the giver?
What’s Your Limit?
Is it the $1,000 consumer average? Is it less? You might have an amount in mind, but don’t forget things like year-end charitable donations, wrapping paper, shipping, holiday cards, postage, tips for service providers (mail carriers, house cleaners, home healthcare workers, babysitters, trash collectors, hair stylists, sidewalks and lawncare helpers) and holiday events (concerts, shows, light displays). It all adds up and while you may not think of it as part of your holiday spend, it is!
Suze, and a slew of other financial experts recommend using only cash. When you limit yourself to cash or a debit card (with no overdraft protection!) you’re much more likely to buy only the things or sum total of what you can afford.
Make a List
It’s more than a shopping list and a way to track and remember the most important people in your life. It’s also a way to check your giving circle. Make your list and check it twice – just like Santa. Not to cross names off your list because they were “naughty” during the year (but it could mean that, absolutely!). Really checking your giving circle helps you slow down and consider what the holidays are really about. And that may mean making a gift instead of buying one. Whether it’s baked, knit, scrapbooked, glued, bedazzled or infused with essential oils – making something meaningful for the recipient makes everybody happier.
Another bit of advice from Forbes is the science-based research of how to give better gifts. Things like giving experiences and time-saving services over STUFF is welcomed with greater appreciation. Experiences like zip lining (Castle Rock Zip Line Tours), or a dance class or concert tickets, and time-saver services like a week of home delivery meals, or cleaning services (like Domestic Balance in Castle Rock!), are great, much-appreciated gifts.
Plan Ahead for Peace of Mind
Okay, this may be too-late for 2018, but keep it in mind come January. Saving $100 a month in a separate savings account is a lot easier than coming up with $1000 all at once. And if you could use some financial planning advice for holidays – and for life – check out the Financial Planning Association’s list of planners near Crystal Valley.
And finally, keep a holiday mindset all year long and pick up bargains from winter to fall. You might just save money during the holidays in 2019. What a crazy concept!
Welcoming the Holidays in Crystal Valley
The master-planned community of Crystal Valley is approaching the winter holidays with great anticipation in Castle Rock! Drive through this amazing neighborhood community and explore the nine models from D.R. Horton, Kauffman Homes and Richmond American Homes. The community — among the top five fastest-growing in the state — offers new homes priced from the $300s, available in ranch and two-story models.