$30 billion dollars– that’s how much Americans are projected to spend this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation. Some of us may contribute to this whopping number more than others, but it’s safe to say that we all spend a hefty amount on gifts around this time of the year.
Not that anyone’s counting but.. think about it for a second: do you spend more on gifts for your significant other compared to how much they spend on you? A 2018 survey found that Americans spend 40% more on their SOs than they expect to be spent on them, especially men who tend to spend more.
It’s completely normal to want to spoil your loved ones with the best things money can buy. That’s where the line blurs– how much is too much? We asked people to have a #RealMoneyTalk with us about their outlandish attempts at making a loved one happy through gift-giving. We’re sharing a round-up of some of our favorites:
Expectations vs. Reality
“My 8-year-old was going through a phase, specifically one where she was in love (read: obsessed) with all teddy bear-related things. So for the holidays, not only did I get her a teddy bear, I got her a life-sized, 6-feet-tall teddy bear because that’s what fun dads do. In an attempt to save $75, I ordered it from one of those discount websites that shipped from overseas. When it arrived (an entire week late, by the way), the bear was only the size of my forearm. 100% not up to the high standards of my 8-year-old. Guess who had to rush to the nearby store to get an actual life-sized teddy bear for $200? Me. #itried” – David T.
Hostess With Not the Most-ess
“2018 me was recently promoted, received a good bonus and was on track with my loan payments. In celebration of these power moves, I volunteered to host Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, AND Christmas. I might’ve also subjected myself to some retail therapy on Black Friday. All was well and dandy until my credit card bills rolled around in January. How in the world did I rack up $900 on GROCERIES? These bills add up faster than you can catch them, so I’d definitely recommend having a budget to avoid going into debt over turkey and sweet potato casseroles.” – Jessica M.
Rain, Rain, (Did Not) Go Away
“My anniversary falls around the same time as the holidays. Last year, instead of getting two separate gifts, I decided to bunch it all together into one extravagant experience of a lifetime for my partner. I had it planned out perfectly– a waterfall hike, an ATV tour and a romantic candlelit dinner on the beach. All of this was prepaid for and I forked up major cash for it. The day started off perfect then bam. POURING. RAIN. ALL. DAY. #thanksHawaii. Lessons of the day? 1. Opt to pay a deposit rather than a lump sum. 2. Use the weather app.” – Natalie C.
The Gifts That Keeps on Taking
“The best gifts are the gifts that keep on giving, right? Wrong. In an effort to make things easier for my best friend who just started getting into cooking at home, I signed him up for one of those meal kit subscription services where you get a box of uncooked meals sent to your doorstep. I got a great deal on the subscription and was so proud of myself until a couple months later. Turns out, the “great deal” I signed up for was only for the FIRST month. I had completely glossed over these charges for the past couple of months and was paying full price for the boxes for the following months. While I love my best friend, these charges added up more quickly than I could keep track of them. Needless to say, I now get notified on multiple platforms to make sure I’m constantly on top of these sneaky charges.” – Blake B.
It’s hard to resist all the holiday spending and we’ve all been there. Make it a priority to have the #RealMoneyTalk with those closest to you to set realistic expectations for gifts and holiday parties. Always remember that the amount of money you spend on gifts does not equate to the love you want to show. If you need to dial it back this year, consider using some of these money-saving tips to still enjoy the holiday season without breaking the bank. This way, you can avoid suffering the holiday hangover because trust us, no amount of electrolytes will save you from this one!