I’ve long prided myself on my ability to stretch a dollar. Pay full price? Never!
In years past, I viewed the holidays as a prime time to hone my money-saving skills. I would scour message boards and deal sites for the latest hot coupons (remember all those $20 off $20 codes?) and then spend an hour searching a retailer site for something that would end up being practically free. Years ago, I would head out at an ungodly hour on Black Friday morning to scoop up deals in the store and, more recently, I’ve been firing up my computer on Thanksgiving evening to pick up all the advertised bargains.
But not this year.
This year, I tried something different. I barely glanced at the Black Friday ads, and I’ve been averting my eyes while scrolling past the deal and gift posts on my favorite blogs.
Instead, I went to a local bookstore to buy most of what I needed. Then, I headed to Costco which I knew had a couple other things on the list. Finally, I wrapped up at a local toy store and bought the final few stragglers on Amazon.
I didn’t search for a single coupon code, and I ended up paying full price for much of what I bought.
And you know what? I’m ok with that.
Why you shouldn’t be afraid to pay full price
I would never look down my nose at deal seekers. Everyone has different needs and priorities. Plus, I know what it’s like to be a place where you need to stretch your dollars ‘til they scream if you want to put more than two gifts under the tree. However, I’m in a more comfortable financial position now so I’m hanging up my deal-seeking hat…for a few months anyway.
If you’re in a similar place, you might want to skip the deal watching too. I think you might find paying full price comes with the following benefits. recipients will get more things they want.
1. Your recipients will get more of what they want.
For sure, I always got my kids a couple items from their wish list. However, smaller gifts and stocking stuffers were a different story. Same with gifts for extended family and friends.
When I was in full-on deal seeking mode, I would find something super cheap and think “who can I give this too?” It was never, “This is perfect for so-and-son.” I would try to find recipients for deals, and they weren’t always a good fit. As a result, most of the deal toys and kid items I bought ended up unused and donated, sometimes just months after Christmas.
2. You’ll save time.
This was the main catalyst for me embracing the idea of paying full price this year. My life has gotten so busy that – no joke – I’ve started scheduling showers because otherwise they never happen. For my Christmas shopping this year, I wanted to simply get it done as quickly as possible.
The problem with chasing deals is that it takes a lot of time. You have to wait for items to go on sale. You have to go to multiple stores. And even if you’re shopping online, you can spend hours watching for deals and then navigating websites for the cheapest way to use a coupon code. This year, I decided my time was more valuable than the money saved by chasing deals.
3. You’ll save money.
This may seem counter-intuitive, but I think it’s true. When I was focused on getting the deals, it seemed like I was never done shopping. I was always looking for what else I could buy for practically nothing. But the problem with practically nothing is that it can add up to a whole lot of something. I think I went over-budget nearly every year because I couldn’t say no to a great sale.
I’ll have to let you know how things go after Christmas, but I feel confident that I’ve broken the cycle of perpetual shopping. Minus teacher gifts and one friend gift, I did all my shopping last week, and since I haven’t been cracking any ads or reading any deal sites, I haven’t been tempted to buy more. Yes, it’s only been a week, but any dedicated deal-seeker could tell you a week is a really long time, especially during the holiday shopping season!
4. There will be less to declutter in January.
Because you’re paying full price, or nearly full price, you’ll likely buy fewer gifts. You’ll also – going back to my first point above – likely do a better job of matching the gift to the recipient. For many people, those two things will equal less clutter.
Now, there is always the problem of expectations. My kids have had quite a few years of excessive Christmases. The year when my husband was in remission was particularly bad as we somehow thought a huge haul of Christmas gifts would make up for a year of cancer. Most of those gifts were cheap items that didn’t last or weren’t appreciated, but my kids were certainly wowed by the sheer number of shiny packages under the tree.
This year will be different, and I must admit I am feeling a bit concerned that the tree will look sparse on Christmas morning. However, I’ve been trying to adjust their expectations by significantly ratcheting down the birthday gifts I gave this year. I also had a heart-to-heart with one teen who was disappointed with the birthday gifts received. Once my reasons were explained, all seemed right with the world. Crossing my fingers that the conversation carries through to Christmas morning.
5. It puts the focus back on the meaning of the season.
Every year we talk about focusing on what’s really important during the holiday season. There are blog posts and articles and discussions on Facebook about how to make the Advent and Christmas seasons more meaningful.
For me, I think one key to achieving this is to simply stop shopping. Deal seeking takes up time I could be using for other activities. Plus, it means I am always focused on the commercial side of Christmas. Money – or least saving it – becomes the centerpiece of the weeks leading up to Christmas Day and then extends even into the weeks after as I would start looking for the after-Christmas sales.
While not everyone can pay full price for Christmas, I think there is some merit in trying it out if you’re financially able. You don’t have to swear off sales or coupons…just don’t let them dictate what you buy and when. I’ll let you know in January my final verdict on the matter!
What is your holiday shopping style? I’d love to hear how you approach holiday gifting. Leave me a comment below!
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