The festive season is underway. Here are some thoughts on navigating the range of choices available.
1. Celebrate with … the financial basics: A new shirt? A toast with Champagne? It can be delightful to splash out for special occasions, within reason. One of the best ways is to make a budget a year in advance, put money aside regularly, then enjoy the results of your effort on the big day.
2. Celebrate with … a gift list: Gift givers typically want to give a surprise present, while recipients want to receive what they asked for. So says research cited in an eZonomics poll on gifts. A solution? Recipients make a list of several possible gifts, perhaps covering a range of price points, and givers choose from it. Brings back memories of letters to Santa.
3. Celebrate with … family first: Author Robert Frank argues in new book The Darwin Economy that people often get caught in a potentially detrimental spending “arms race” to show success. Watch out during the emotionally-charged festive season as it can sometimes see a rise in pressure to signal success with bigger and better parties, outfits, gifts and more. Frank suggests in his book an agreement to cut the amount spent on positional goods (as they are known). While this might be a challenge globally, setting spending limits at a family-by-family level or agreeing to buy for only one sibling (and vice versa) might just work.
4. Celebrate with … a diary date: If it seems like festive occasions pop up at the last minute and there is little time to prepare, take heed of tips to cut procrastination. Put a date or two in your diary to set time aside for important tasks. The self imposed deadline can make the task seem more concrete and help prevent “oh-so-important” distractions arising.
If you like these tips, take a look at our four more tips and final four tips for the festive season.