10 reasons to say "NO" this Christmas

In 2016, the average family in the United States will spend $900 on Christmas. Although it seems like a low now, we actually spent more in 2001 with Americans spending $1,100 on between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then in 2009, after suffering through one of the worst financial downturns in our lifetime, we spent only $470 per family.

When Americans had their backs up against the wall in 2009, they were able to cut spending nearly in half. However, today we are back up to spending double what we did just 7 years ago, yet the cost of living has slowly increased, wages have remained stagnant, and we are all of a sudden willing to overspend and go into debt this year for the holidays.

Before you visit the store, click on the checkout button, or decide to spend more than you have this Christmas, here are 10 reasons to simply say "no".

1. You Don't Want to Pay for this Christmas in 2019

According to a survey by Magnify Money, the average amount Americans will go into debt for Christmas in 2016 is $986. Over half of those surveyed believe it will take longer than 5 months to pay off the holiday debt, and 27% of those surveyed say they will be making only the minimum payments on their holiday debt starting in 2017.

If you find yourself among the group making the minimum payments on this year's Christmas debt, you can expect to have this year's Christmas paid off by 2019. Yes, if you make $25 minimum payments on your credit cards on $986 worth of debt, you will be paying on these cards for the next two years!

*Just say: No, I don't want to pay for Christmas in two years.

2. Your Kids Would Rather Play with the Box the Toy Came In

I remember running around town, searching the internet, and finding this one special gift for my son for Christmas. My wife wrapped it perfectly, it was so big it actually didn't fit under the tree, and I was filled with joy when Carter finally was able to open it!
A few minutes later the gift was off to the side and he was playing in the box it came in.

I learned something that day: I should have gone to U-Haul and bought a $6 box for him to play in. Also, don't confuse your own joy for what you think your kids will feel when they open your big gift. Spending more or less on a gift has no bearing on how much your kids think you love them. Case in point: the box the gift came in was the highlight that year.

Just say: No, I just want the box the gift comes in.

3. Your Broke Neighbors Are Not Your Competition

I'll admit Andrea and I have fallen into the trap of buying gifts for our kids only because we didn't want our kids to miss out on the same luxuries as the kids down the street. Then we realized the truth: the kids don't care as much as we think they do.

As guilty as you may feel for not buying your kids everything your rich neighbor bought for their kids, you are going to feel way worse when you don't have money to buy groceries come January. Do not allow one morning of joy cause 364 days of pain because you spent way more than you could afford.

*No, I don't want to get involved in a gift-buying competition with my broke neighbors.

4. Not Everyone You Know Needs a Gift

Note to self: you are not going to hell if you show up without a gift.

Growing up in our home, my mom truly believed she needed to buy everyone she had ever come in contact with a Christmas gift. Thank goodness this was before the days of a Facebook Friend Request!

She was buying just a little something for a teacher I had 4 years earlier, another gift for the daughter of someone who wrote something nice in her 1976 yearbook, and a cousin in Germany who she saw once every ten years.

Remember this; the people you are buying for may not even want a gift. If you show up with an unannounced present and they didn't get you anything, now you just added an extremely awkward moment for everyone. Last Christmas before planning dinner with some friends, we all agreed we wouldn't bring gifts. Then they showed up with gifts and we had nothing.

#awkward

*No, I didn't bring a gift this time.

5. Creativity Trumps Cost

Every year at Thanksgiving, we all secretly draw the name for who we will buy for at Christmas. Now we are only buying one gift instead of fifteen, and we also have time to think and be creative about that one gift.

Creativity will always trump cost when it comes to giving a gift. It doesn't take much thought to go onto Amazon, click a few buttons, and buy a token gift for Christmas. However, it takes a lot of thought when it comes to a creative gift.

Maybe this year instead of buying another iPad, you can come up with something unique, creative, and only from you. You could create gift certificate for a weekend of camping with your kids, a date night with your wife, or a promise to watch a neighbor's' kids over the weekend so they can finally get some time away.

Ask Yourself:
-What did you get for Christmas from your husband or wife three years ago?
-You don't remember? Exactly.
-Where did you go on your first date? Exactly.

*No, I didn't buy this gift, I made it!

6. You Will Get a Better Deal AFTER Christmas

Retailers can expect 30% of their annual revenue between Thanksgiving and Christmas because everyone has to buy something. As much as you may think you are getting a deal, it doesn't compare to the deal you are going to get immediately after Santa heads back to the North Pole.

Christmas lights, blow-ups, and decorations are deeply discounted the week following Christmas. Winter clothing will be discounted in January and if you can wait until February, you are going to find the best prices on electronics. In February, the electronics industry comes out with the latest and greatest, which means you can expect large discounts to clear way for the new inventory.

*No, I'm going to wait until the week after Christmas and get an actual deal.

7. Your 55" Television Wasn't Small Two Years Ago

Two years ago my neighbor purchased a brand new 55" television because the old 50" was much too small.

Sure.

This year he saw the latest 60" television from Amazon and he says it's a must-have for the family.

The funny thing is when he comes over to my house, he thinks my television is also a 55" and I don't have the heart to tell him it's only a 50"!

Remember, you're not buying a bigger television; you're being sold the idea your current television is too small. Don't overspend this Christmas for 5" of television screen measured diagonally.

*No, I'm going to tell myself my 55" is actually a 60" television.

8. People Don't Care About Their Gift as Much as You Think

Have you ever opened a gift and hoped there was a gift receipt at the bottom so you could take it back?

If you said "no", then you're probably lying.

I'm an adult and if I want something, I save up cash and go and buy it. Don't get me wrong, I love opening gifts, but so many times I can tell someone grabbed something in a hurry, threw it in their shopping cart, and made it just in time for me to open it.

Here is the truth; I don't really need a gift to be happy. I'd rather you just come over to hang out. Save your money on my gift of a lifetime and let's go grab a beer together (you're buying).

*No, I don't even remember what I got last year (or any other year before that).

9. Starting Off the New Year Broke Sucks

Before we created a plan for our money, we would start off the New Year with credit card statements in our mailbox right around the end of December. The balances felt like a financial gut punch – the magic of Christmas was over and the reality of bills, payments, and interest had arrived.

Don't start off 2017 broke. You have things you want to do, places you want to see, and have a whole year of life that is still going to cost money. When you overspend now, you're going to pay for it later.

*No, I would rather have money to buy groceries in January.

10. "Stuff" Wears Off

Every year when you turn on the television, open up your social media feed, or turn on the radio, you are going to see and hear the promise that this year's "stuff" is the answer to everything.

If I can just get the latest iPhone...

If I can just have a bigger television...

If I can just drive off in a new car...

If I can just...

The bottom line is no matter what you are promised or what you believe, stuff is not going to give you long lasting happiness. Tim Kasser says in his book The High Price of Materialism,

"The more materialistic values are at the center of our lives, the more our quality of life is diminished."

Since materialistic values don't create long-term happiness, then the material things we give and receive this holiday season aren't going to bring long-term happiness either.

Don't overspend and go into debt for "stuff". Just as materialism doesn't bring happiness, making debt payments after Christmas won't bring you happiness either.

*No, I really don't need more stuff. I'm already pretty darn happy!

The Solution

Children do whatever feels good in the moment and adults create a plan, implement the plan, and stick to it.

Before you overspend, keep these 6 things in mind:

  1. Identify how much you have to spend (without going into debt)
  2. Create a Christmas budget with the amount you have
  3. Decide how much of your Christmas spending will be for gifts
  4. Decide who you will buy for (and who you will not buy for)
  5. Be creative in your gifts
  6. Once you hit your spending limit – stop spending.
    ​​​

The post 10 reasons to say "NO" this Christmas appeared first on Money Peach.

RELATED: 25 secret ways to save money at Target

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25 secret ways to save money at Target (GOBankingRates.com)
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25 secret ways to save money at Target (GOBankingRates.com)

1. Pick Your Day

Because most Targets mark down certain departments on specific days for clearance, knowing that schedule can help you find the best deals. “For instance, you’ll find the best deals on clearance electronics on a Monday and sporting good clearance on Thursday,” said Christy Palmer, founder of the All Things Target blog.

Here’s a schedule Palmer said is good for most Targets:

  • Monday: electronics, accessories, kids’ clothing, books, baby, stationery
  • Tuesday: domestics, women’s clothing, pets, market (food items)
  • Wednesday: men’s clothing, health & beauty, diapers, lawn & garden, furniture
  • Thursday: housewares, lingerie, shoes, toys, sporting goods, decor & luggage
  • Friday: auto, cosmetics, hardware, jewelry

Photo credit: Supannee Hickman/Shutterstock.com

2. Check for Price Adjustments

Here’s a kick-in-the-teeth sort of a moment: You finally buy that dress you’ve been craving only to see it go on sale the next day. Well, at Target, you can get the difference between what you paid and the new sale price refunded, said Palmer. So for any item that goes on sale within 14 days after purchase, just bring in your receipt and Target will adjust the price for you. Some exclusions do apply, so make sure you read Target’s policy before claiming a price adjustment.

Related: Target Vs. Walmart: Which Price Match Guarantee Saves More?

Photo credit: Anchiy/Shutterstock.com

3. Shop Amazon

Wait, shop Amazon to save money at Target? Yep, and other select retailers for that matter because Target has a price match guarantee.

As expected, there are some rules and restrictions. But in general, Target will match the lower price from  select online or local retailers. Bring in proof of the current lower price with your original Target receipt to Target’s guest service desk.

Photo credit: Alexander Supertramp/Shutterstock.com

4. Check the Wall-Facing End Caps

End caps are the shelves at the end of the aisles, and they are often filled with choice items marked way down. Look for the ones marked “Clearance.” “Most of these are the ones facing the walls, not the main walking aisles, so you may have to do some searching for them,” said Palmer.

But your diligence could pay off since Palmer said these are filled with items that have been marked down from 15 percent to 70 percent off.

Photo credit: a katz/ Shutterstock.coom

5. Know the Clearance Codes

Clearance items are some of the best deals at Target, Palmer said, and they are marked down to certain levels  in a certain order. “First, items will get marked down to 15 percent or 30 percent off, then to 50 percent off, and finally end up at 70 percent off,” she said.

These items have a red “Clearance” sticker with the original price, the new price and the percentage of the markdown in the top right-hand corner without a percent symbol. “Check the number in the upper-right corner of the price tag.” said Palmer. “If it says ’70,’ it’s been marked down to 70 percent off.”

Photo credit: J. NIBO/Shutterstock.com

6. Shop for the Holidays Early -- or Late

Want Halloween or Christmas decorations, Easter baskets or back-to-school items practically free? Wait a few days or a few weeks after the holiday to buy them.

Holiday items will be cut by 50 percent the day after the holiday — 30 percent for candy. But wait a week or so, and products could go down to 70 percent off. Then, a few days later, if anything is left, they’ll go to 90 percent off, which is practically free.

Here’s a list of days and times of year that Target offers holiday sale prices, according to All Things Target:

  • Valentine’s Day
  • Easter
  • Summer
  • Back to School
  • Halloween
  • Christmas

Photo credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock.cm

7. Shop Early in the Week

Target releases newspaper insert ads for specials on Sunday, and sales tend to run Sunday through Saturday. So, Palmer advised shopping earlier in the week for popular items to increase your chances of nabbing them on sale.

Photo credit: a katz/Shutterstock.com

8. Clearance Items Version 2.0

Want to cash in on clearance items without dealing with the Target parking lot? Good news: Target has an online Clearance section with items in just about every department. And don’t worry — you’re not going to get stuck slogging through pages of women’s shoes and toddlers’ toys to find a desk lamp. The site is categorized.

Photo credit: Julie Clopper/Shutterstock.com

9. Log On to the Weekly Ad

If you’re saving money by not getting a paper, you can still get in on all the discounted fun by checking the ad online at Target.com. Just look for the “Weekly Ad” tab on the site’s top ribbon. It will have pages of deals from a few dollars off to 25 percent off discounts — or more.

Photo credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock.com

10. Stack 'Em and Save

If you’ve done your pre-Target-run prep properly, you might have more than one coupon for a single item. No worries: Target lets you stack coupons. So don’t be shy about handing the checkout person a Target coupon, a manufacturer’s coupon and even a third coupon, such as Target’s Cartwheel discount for the same item.

Photo credit: lcatnews/Shutterstock.com

11. Do Cartwheels

No, not down the aisles; use Target’s Cartwheel app. Download the app, and put the coupons you want in your list. When you visit Target, you simply present your barcode via your smartphone, and you will receive the discount.

“By using the Cartwheel app, you can save an extra 5 percent to 50 percent off,” said Palmer. And if you’re not sure if it’s a Cartwheel-discounted item, no problem. “Just scan the UPC code of an item you want to purchase with the phone app and it will tell you if a Cartwheel offer matches up with the item,” said Palmer. The really cool thing is that it can be stacked with other coupons.

Photo credit: Mike Mozart/flickr.com

12. Use a Cash-Back App or Website

To save even more money at Target, sign up for an Ibotta, Ebates, BeFrugal or Checkout 51 account. These online programs and smartphone apps give you money back for selected items you buy at Target or other participating stores. Each service is slightly different, but the bottom line is you receive cash back for the items you buy.

Photo credit: Rocketclips, Inc./Shutterstock.com

13. There's an App for That Coupon

If you have an iPhone or Android smartphone, you can download the Target App, which lets you find and add Cartwheel deals as well as shop Target’s Weekly Ad. Plus, you can find coupons.

Simply download the app, tap “mobile coupons,” and fill out the form. Once the coupons start flowing, you can merely present your smartphone to the cashier for scanning.

Photo credit: Rocketclips, Inc. /Shutterstock.com

14. Check Out the REDcard

Want to save on every single Target purchase? Sign up for Target’s REDcard. It offers 5 percent off at the register on your entire bill, free shipping at Target.com and an extra 30 days to return items. You might want to sign up for the debit version instead of the credit version because the 20-plus-percent variable interest rate on the credit card could wipe out any savings.

Photo credit: Mighty Travels/flickr.com

15. Follow @Target on Twitter

Yep, just like Donald Trump and Taylor Swift, Target tweets. You might have to slog through a lot of splashy ads for things like Popsicles and summer dresses, but pay attention and you’ll also be alerted to deals on new items or free shipping windows. That’s worth a hashtag or two.

Photo credit: Twin Design/Shutterstock.com

16. Use Target's Wedding Registry

Whether you’re buying for another couple or getting hitched yourself, Target’s wedding registry is a great way to save money, said Jeanette Pavini, a savings expert with Coupons.com. It comes with great perks for both giver and receiver.

“Givers get free shipping on all orders of $25 or more,” Pavini said. And after the event, newlyweds get a coupon for 15 percent off remaining items on their registry.

Photo credit: Angela Luchianiuc/Shutterstock.com

17. Buy Discount Gift Cards

You can knock up close to 10 percent off your bill by buying discount gift cards at sites like Gift Card Granny, Giftcard Zen or Raise. The cards are real gift cards that you use like cash, so the bonus is that the gift card savings is in addition to any savings with coupons or sales.

Photo credit: Lighthunter/Shutterstock.com

18. Save Time, Save Money

Time is money, right? Well, the Curbside service — which is available for Target in select areas of San Jose, San Francisco, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Chicago — can help you save a ton of it. Basically, you place your order from the Target of your choice, then pick it up at the curb. “You won’t even have to leave you car,” said Palmer.

Photo credit: Sergey Yechikov/Shutterstock.com

19. Shop at the Dollar Spot

Target’s Dollar Spot, which is right at the entrance to the store, is a great stop for serious bargain-hunters, said Palmer. Items in this section are often just $1 but can be as much as $2 or $3, she said — and even these items get marked down.

“Certain items will get marked down to 50 percent off and then 70 percent off, so you end up paying 50 cents or 30 cents,” she said. “I find great deals on stationary items, coloring books, small toys, holiday items and more.”

Photo credit: Aaron Amat/Shutterstock.com

20. Make a Plan

How often have you run into a market for a gallon of milk and some eggs and come out an hour later with a cart full of extra stuff? That usually spells the opposite of saving. “Planning really is one of the biggest keys when it comes to saving money,” said Palmer.

So take 20 minutes before you leave for Target and plan your trip. “Make a list and stick to it,” she said. “Those Target buyers seem to know what people like, so it’s very easy to see something you just have to have.” If it’s really something you need, don’t worry; you’ll be back.

Photo credit: Lolostock/Shutterstock.com

21. Don't Rely on Just Advertisements

How often have you run into a market for a gallon of milk and some eggs and come out an hour later with a cart full of extra stuff? That usually spells the opposite of saving. “Planning really is one of the biggest keys when it comes to saving money,” said Palmer.

So take 20 minutes before you leave for Target and plan your trip. “Make a list and stick to it,” she said. “Those Target buyers seem to know what people like, so it’s very easy to see something you just have to have.” If it’s really something you need, don’t worry; you’ll be back.

Photo credit: mandritoiu/Shutterstock.com

22. Take Advantage of a Free Gift Card Promotion

Occasionally, Target will offer a Target gift card when you buy a certain number of specific products, said Palmer. “For example, they [might] give you a $10 gift card when you buy two boxes of brand-specific diapers or a $5 gift card when you buy three bottles of brand-specific shampoo or conditioner,” she said.

So keep an eye on the in-store signage, AllThingsTarget.com or your favorite savings website for these gift card offers.

Photo credit: VGstockstudio/Shutterstock.com

23. Go Green, Get Paid

Bring in your own reusable bags, and Target will give you a 5-cent discount at checkout for each reusable. It’s not much but it can add up — especially on those big shopping days.

So far, the savings seem to be adding up for shoppers and the environment: Target shoppers have used more than 190 million reusable bags instead of paper or plastic, according to Target’s website.

Photo credit: stefanolunardi/Shutterstock.com

24. Save While You Sweat

Working out is great for your health, but workout clothes can hurt your wallet. To combat that, check out Champion’s C9 line or workout clothes for Target, said  Lori McDaniel of Offers.com.

“You’ll save as much as 50 percent compared to the regular Champion line on items like leggings,” she said. And she added that Target shoppers won’t give up any quality with the C9 line.

Photo credit: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.com

25. Check Out Your Coupons at Checkout

Don’t rush out that door: Many high-value coupons will print after your receipt. You will receive them upon checkout, and Palmer said they can vary from 20 percent off a certain department to 50 cents to $5 off certain items. No wonder Target shoppers come back.

Keep Reading: CVS to Target: 20 Best Loyalty Rewards Programs

Photo credit: Gajus/Shutterstock.com

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