Gifting to others is an act of generosity, thoughtfulness and a way of showing others that we care for them or are thinking about them. It’s a gesture that creates a feeling of happiness in ourselves as a result of making others feel loved and appreciated.
Gifting is a beautiful thing!
But there is a balance here. What we don’t want to see is the gifting getting out of hand, overwhelming you and potentially putting you into debt that will take you weeks or months to pay off.
I ran a poll a few weeks ago about gifting and wanted to share one specific response because I think it encapsulates one of the main reasons why we end up gifting beyond our means.
Do You Feel Guilty or Embarrassed If You Don’t Gift A More Expensive Item?
That response was not surprising to me, but it was upsetting to me. It was that reminder about how much pressure we tend to put on ourselves and on our relationships on material and unimportant things as a means of showing someone we care.
I’ve been curious about this for years because it has impacted me at different times in different relationships. I love giving to others. I love finding that perfect present or letting people know that I am thinking about them with a thoughtful gift or surprise! But what’s too little? Or should the real question be, what’s too much?
Gifting to friends and family over the holidays and during special occasions is both thoughtful and generous. But not at the expense of our financial health and not beyond what we can reasonably afford.
The goal of gifting is to send our love to others. Not to send ourselves into debt.
As you get older there just seems to be SO much that comes up that requires a gift to others. Holidays, birthdays, weddings, babies and the list goes on. But how do you establish boundaries as it relates to gifting? How do you make sure that your holiday shopping list or annual gifting budget doesn’t go off the rails?
The following three tips should help in making sure that your gifting does not go beyond your budget, keep you further away from your financial goals and/or send you into debt.
Especially during the holiday season – make a list of those you want to gift to. Set a gifting limit/budget for how much you’d like to spend on that person or family member.
Get a clear understanding of your boundaries for gifting limits. This could be specific to who the gift is for – children, nieces & nephews, spouses, friends, etc. or specific to the occasion – wedding, new baby, birthday, etc.
Without a plan or a budget, you WILL overspend!
Communicating with family and friends around your comfort level with gifting is important to establish.
Setting the tone with friends to let them know when it’s your birthday or opportunity to celebrate you, you would prefer to celebrate as a group of friends as opposed to gifts and presents.
Discuss with those loved ones and family members that you would prefer not to exchange gifts but perhaps instead just focus on the kids of the family, or do a cookie, book or ornament exchange.
With your spouse or significant other, you may decide to discuss your gifting limit with each other so you’re on the same page and not feeling additional pressure on what and how much to buy.
There are ways to let others know you care for them without putting financial pressure and strain on your bank account.
Let’s not forget the single most important factor in building, sustaining and maintaining healthy relationships – spending quality time.
Express an interest in celebrating your loved ones by spending time with each other as opposed to spending money on gifts for each other.
Normalize the gift of quality time.
But I know this is an area that I too need to work on. My biggest goal is trying to improve my planning and make purchases in advance. I find that the more last minute the purchase, the more expensive it becomes.
So one last tip – purchase in advance in an effort to negate the urge to overspend, take advantage of sales and avoid shipping costs!
I encourage you to create those boundaries, find the balance, gift to those you love and are thinking of and spend within your means!
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