The holiday season is quickly approaching. One sign will be this weekend when The Plaza has its lighting ceremony this weekend in Kansas City. Starting next week the holiday season will be in full force with the most traveled day of the year, Thanksgiving. It is a very joyous time of the year. Shopping at stores, thinking of the look on the face of loved one when they see a special gift under the tree, and spending time with family. This is also the time of year when people slip into debt.

In 2012 the projected average person in the United States spent $800. Each year after that consumer spending has gone up. It is projected that over 30% of people will spend well over $1,000 on gifts. This can be a huge stress to many people in the KC area. We wanted to share with you some gift ideas that can save you money and not sink yourself further into debt.

Prioritize your gift list

It can be overwhelming trying to buy for everyone. Let’s face it, when it comes to buying for your children, spouse, mom, dad, in-laws, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, close friends, co-workers, neighbors, and teachers to name a few, the dollar signs begin to add up quickly. Make a list in the order of importance. Think to yourself, which people on your list would be happy with some homemade backed goods or a simple hand-written card. Yes, it is the time of year for giving, but the last thing you want to do is sink yourself into so much debt that you are still paying on it this time next year.

Have your family draw names

Drawing names will not only help you, but it will help everyone in your family. Instead of buying for everyone, agree to draw names and focus on one person as opposed to many extended family members. This is not a new idea, but a good idea to help everyone that is on a budget.

White Elephant or Dirty Santa

If you decide not to draw names come up with a fun way to give gifts that won’t break the bank. Having a White Elephant or Dirty Santa gift giving is a fun way to get everyone involved. It also allows you to buy a gift that is fun. Watching people trade up for your present that you bought is not only a way of giving, but it can be a form of family fun.

What is Dirty Santa?

To participate in this each person brings one wrapped gift. The first person to select a gift will open the gift and their turn is over. From there, each person after will open one gift, if they want they can steal a gift from a person that previously opened their gift. The game is over when the last person opens their gift and makes their decision. The last step is the very first person deciding on if they want to steal someone else’s gift.

What is White Elephant?

White Elephant refers to extravagant but burdensome gifts that can be disposed of. This is based on the legend of King Siam gifting rare albino elephants to courtiers. It is essentially the same as Dirty Santa except in this case most gifts are regifted, a gag gift or something inexpensive.

Use discount sites instead of big box stores

Using sites like Groupon, Living Social or Wish can save you money in the long run. These sites allow you to purchase items that range from clothing, electronics, dining, and even outdoor or sporting goods. These sites offer discounts from normal pricing.

Set a strict Spending Limit

Sticking to a budget and not over spending during the holiday season will allow you to come out ahead at the end of the season. Come up with a specific dollar amount per person that you are able to spend and stick to that amount.

If your do not stick to a plan during the holiday season, you could spend more than you ever thought you would. If your debt is getting out of control and you want to get a fresh financial start call Castle Law Office for a free consultation to talk about getting rid of your debt. Our number is 816-842-6200. You can also click here to contact us by email.


Jason C. Amerine
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President and Owner, Castle Law Office of Kansas City
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