It’s the holiday season once again! And while we geeks must focus on gifts for loved ones and spreading good cheer to all, there is a big problem that we geeks have this time of year. You see, a lot of geeks have many problems with personal spending, and during the holidays, it’s worse. Not because we are lazy, or don’t work hard enough (although with some people, that is the problem), the problem is that between Holiday Office Parties, Family Parties, Christmas Charity giving, Christmas shopping and working through the holidays, all those little expenses add up. When you add that, and add the fact that the holiday season is a geeks favorite time of the year due to discounts and free gifts, you have a total recipe for disaster.
And so, as we head in to the final ten days of the holidays, I present this small and short guide for my fellow geeks on some practical ways to hold off your desires and needs to splurge on yourself before purchasing gifts for your mom and dad.
1) Bills/Priorities: First, Family/Friends Gifts: Second, and lastly, self-gifting last. — This simple chain of protocol will save you from so much headaches, as well as will keep you from trouble in January. By putting your rent and cell phone bill first, you will be able to better budget yourself for your friends and family. Also, you won’t be embarrassed for missing a gift because you spent all your money on that one video game you totally wanted.
2) If you can’t afford it, put it on the gift list!– Many things we may want to buy, we can’t do right off the bat, so it’s okay to put them on your holiday gift list. A word of caution, if your family or friends do not understand the gift that you are requesting , you may just want to be safe and ask for cash/gift cards so you can get it yourself, without having your loved ones looking at you funny.
3) Don’t wait until the last moment to do your shopping! But if you must wait, then have a game plan already in order!— This year, paydays for many people, come really close to the holidays. And the last thing you want to do, is purchase a last-minute gift that was not thought out and have the gift receiver look at you in disgust. If you can’t buy the gift you want to get them until your payday, do your research and know where you are going. Understand, that you will not be the only one, doing last-minute shopping. By having a game plan already in place, you will travel and work efficiently. Also have back up gifts, just in case when you get to the store, the plan A is sold out.
4) Unless the item is a VERY rare item, wait it out till after Christmas! — I have worked in retail for over 5 years, so I know for a personal fact, that many retailers will be DESPERATE to clear inventory after Christmas and in January. Usually, this is where you can get an epic good deal on that item you really wanted. Also, after the holidays, if you received any gift cards, money or gifts you wish to return you can choose your gift a little more wisely than during the holidays and even upgrade your gift as well.
5) If you absolutely have to have it, make sure it’s a REALLY good deal– You know, you have a whole year to get the items that you really want. When it comes to certain things such as electronics or appliances, many things become cheaper during the winter months or during a season change. Furthermore, some items end up being upgraded later in the year. So if you absolutely have to get a geeky item for yourself, be sure to make it something that you know you can’t wait for later in the year or that you can safely afford it
6) Finally, watch your pennies, don’t end up broke on Christmas! — No matter what, watch your budget. The only crime in gift giving is a thoughtless gift. If the gift doesn’t cost you a whole lot, but you really took the time to get to know the persons needs and wants for X-mas, that’s more important than spending a whole bunch of money on a gift that the person is not going to like. Be thoughtful both in gift giving but in financial spending.
Remember my fellow geeks, it’s not all about the money anymore. It’s about how much you really care about that person to get them a gift that they love.