‘Tis the season to go shopping! It seems everywhere you look, there are deals – online, commercials, catalogs. The Christmas shopping season has officially begun!
Some couples love to spend lots of money on gifts – whether it be Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special occasion. We choose to put limits on the amount of money we spend for each occasion. Here’s why:
1. It keeps us from placing a value on our relationship based on the amount of money the other spent.
Now this is just silly. If you think your spouse doesn’t love you enough because they didn’t spend at least $500 on your Christmas gift, there are probably some deeper issues you and your spouse need to work through together. The monetary cost of a material item that you probably don’t need should NOT be the determining factor in what you think your spouse feels about you. (Personally, I love when my spouse saves us money!)
2. It helps us stay on track with our financial goals.
Do we ever want something that costs more than we would like to spend? YES! We are human. We enjoy nice things. We still have wants and desires just like everyone else, but when it comes to the bigger, more expensive things, we like to plan them into our budget and save up ahead of time. As an example, ten months into our marriage, we purchased a pretty expensive little puppy. It was something we knew we wanted, so we spent several months making sure we had the savings handy for the right moment (and the right puppy, of course). Are there times that we have bent this rule and splurged? Yes – one of our favorite traditions is going downtown on a random day around Christmas to see a Broadway show in Chicago. We try to set a limit for these shows, but we often spend a little more than we plan for. There are going to be once-in-a-lifetime experiences that come up, and that’s okay if you can afford it, but it shouldn’t be the norm. And it shouldn’t ruin your financial goals. Don’t let something material put you behind financially for the sake of short-term satisfaction.
3. It allows us to spend money elsewhere.
This point really determines what is most important to you. Maybe gift-giving and receiving is your primary love language. If big gifts are important, and you and your spouse can afford it, then great! In our house, we prefer to spend less money on gifts in order to save for things we really enjoy, like vacations. Understand that you have a set amount of money, and you can’t afford everything. So make it a point to prioritize where your dollars go, ensuring it aligns with where you want to take your financial future and the lifestyle you want to support.