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Holiday Shopping Is Breaking The Bank

Normally I would say 'Christmas' shopping, but as there are a number of holidays that involve gift giving around this time of year, so I thought it more appropriate to refer to it as 'Holiday' shopping. We all know we spend too much on trinkets and toys (for both children and adults.) We also get suckered into buying whatever is available on the ten and under aisle just to have something to give that isn't even available the rest of the year. A good rule of thumb is not to get anything you wouldn't otherwise buy for whomever you are gifting. Would you buy someone a cheese log for their birthday? Then why are you giving it now? Save it for your New Years party.

I must admit that even I have seen the commercials for the new Nintendo Wii game system and thought that surely even I could play with that one. However it retails on average at around $250.00, plus you still need game controllers, connector wires, and games. The games I saw ranged from $14.99 to $49.99. I checked both Wal-Mart and Best Buy. People may think I'm a cheap skate, but there is no way I am paying that kind of money for a gift for someone else. I probably wouldn't even spend that much on myself. (My husband balances out my cheap skatedness.)

I saw a commercial for diamond jewelry the other day and I thought I would choke when I saw the fine print. The earrings started out at $399.00 EACH; not per pair. Holy ice skates! Our big question has always been: "How do people afford such lavish gifts?" To see the commercials on television, they buy many such gifts and not necessarily for people in their own family. All we can figure is they must be maxing out their credit cards. Then of course reality sets in and those who have overspent have to pay the piper with interest. Do you get it paid back before the next holiday season hits? Do you pay on part of it and then add it back to the max and apply for yet another card to max out? Does anyone see a pattern here?

I used to be sort of crafty. I bought scented, colored soaps and carved flowers out them to give for Christmas. Now of course one can find those fairly cheaply already made into flowers so I no longer have to do that, but I also figured out people really don't want scented, flower-shaped soaps (or any other shape). They might be allergic to whatever you bought them anyway. Now I make stuffed toys or baked goods (never fruit cake). Cookies are a safe bet. Just remember to see if they are dieting or maybe are diabetic and can't have the sugary treats. Another popular gift is a mix in a jar. They can be expensive considering what you get, but if you make it yourself it is just the opposite and it shows that some real thought went into the gift. Liss Burnell at www.budget101.com has several recipes. One is bound to be just right.

Are you handy with a computer? Perhaps you can create a slide show with music on a DVD for a relative or even a friend if you have pictures of them or the two of you (or your group, family, etc.) They really will treasure it, and you know what-they can't re-gift it! Jokes aside, people do appreciate when you put your time into something that you think they would like rather than just grab something off of the shelf.

My mother-in-law purchased for me a subscription to a magazine she thought I would like. I do, by the way, Mom. If you really know someone's interests consider giving them a gift subscription to a magazine on the subject; just remember to make sure the card announcing the gift gets there before the magazine. I had no idea who had sent it, so I had to send a mass e-mail to find out whom to thank! She really thought the card would get here first. I've done it and usually it does. Just make sure they don't already get that particular publication and they have time to read it.

Of course you wouldn't give your boss a plate of homemade cookies (depending on your relationship), but maybe a paperweight would do, or an interesting refill for that desk calendar. It also depends on the type of industry you are in. It may be frowned upon to give your boss a gift at all, or a home made gift. Perhaps a book regarding a hobby you know they like, such as golfing or bonsai.

Gift cards are a can't miss because people get what they want with it. However the only draw back is that they know how much you spent on them. If they are shallow enough that your gift card is not enough to suit them, then leave them off your list and save the money!

Remember the real reason for the season and enjoy your family and friends. It really wasn't intended as an excuse to spend every dime you ever thought of earning. Then you don't have to say as you read your monthly statements, "Oh, my aching budget!"

By Eliza Lynn Taylor - Eliza Lynn Taylor is a freelance writer and novelist. She writes mainly suspense; her favorite genre to read as well. She wears many hats other than writer which include receptionist, homemaker, farmer, wi...  





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