Even though Christmas comes around like clockwork every year on December 25th, it’s seems that the general public, myself including, is inevitably not ready for this season.
No matter how I hard I try to plan ahead with a savings goal for the “extra” expenses that pop up around Christmas time, like gifts, extra food, decorations, travel, etc., I never seem to have enough set aside. Admittedly, it’s usually because I don’t follow through with my savings plan all year long. The Christmas savings plan is always the first thing to go when other financial matters pop up, like car repair expenses and broken washing machines.
Thus, needing to find ways to cut back on Christmas spending is a popular topic this time of year. I’ve been reading (and writing) a lot about how to save money during Christmas time and one of the things most people suggest cutting out to save money is self-gifting.
What is Self-Gifting?
Self-gifting is the practice of buying ourselves gifts while we are out shopping for others during Black Friday and other pre-Christmas sales. It has become a much more popular practice in the last few years. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 60% of people are now self-gifting, and Americans are estimated to spend just over $130 on self-gifting this holiday season.
Self-gifting has become popular enough in the past couple of years that many major stores have taken notice and have changed their advertising campaigns to cater to people who want to buy a little something for themselves at the same time they are shopping for friends and family.
Self-gifting can turn into a problem very quickly if you haven’t budgeted or saved for this extra expense during an already expensive time of year. It can also turn into a nasty habit that adds up over the years. If you don’t have your financial ducks in row, ie: you are still in debt, you should definitely avoid self-gifting as much as possible.
I’ve also seen self-gifting turn into a sad situation because someone bought themselves the exact gift that was also given to them by a friend or family member. In fact, this happened in my own family last year. My mom bought herself a new purse from her wishlist and I had already purchased the exact same one as her gift too. That make Christmas morning a little awkward!
…But Sometimes Self-Gifting Makes Financial Sense
Even though self-gifting can be a problem for your budget, it sometimes makes financial sense to purchase things for yourself this time of year.
Whether or not Black Friday sales are really “the best deals of the year” is debatable, but it can still be a good time to stock up on basics, things you truly need, or things you know you’ll use in the coming months while they are on sale. I wouldn’t recommend rushing right out and buying yourself something extravagant, but if you watch prices and know how much things you need and use cost the rest of the year, you can sometimes find them at a better price during pre-Christmas sales.
During Black Friday this year I didn’t give in to the temptation of buying things. In fact, the only thing I bought was a new dog bed for my dogs because it was on sale, but I did go to several stores with my dad to help him finish his Christmas gift shopping. While we were out he also picked up a couple pairs of jeans for himself because they were on sale, he needed them, and we knew they were a much better deal than during the rest of the year.
In general self-gifting is a pretty bad idea, but there are certain circumstances where self-gifting can save you money. Saving money always makes sense to me!