A recent conversation went a little something like this…hit it!
Client: I have a number of birthday celebrations to attend.
Me: But you have $XXX in debt. What’s more important – debt reduction or random trinkets?
Client: ….long awkward pause…
Enter Scrooge McDuck. While not against gift giving, gift buying was one of the first casualties of my family’s debt elimination plan. After 6 years, I don’t think anyone really noticed. Why does the idea of pressing pause on gift buying for birthdays, weddings, holidays, new babies, Kwanaza (we’re really getting out of control here), etc. send people into silent fits of resistance? Are we scared others will return the favor?
I’m nothing, if not sensitive, to the apprehension to change. So, why not consider alternatives to gift buying and use that money to relieve your debt burden.
Birthdays: Offer to host the gathering. While you’re at it, suggest a potluck and game night soiree. Everyone has fun, your guest is honored, and all you have to spend is extra time doing the dishes when the party ends.
Weddings: One of my the most treasured gifts was a photo album of amateur photos taken by a friend at the wedding. She took the pictures that my wedding photographer missed. She also passed on the pricey gift wrap and fluffy bows that ultimately find their way to a landfill near you. Be creative.
Holidays: Show up with a dish and call it a day. Your presence should be gift enough. That’s what I keep telling myself.
New Babies: Create a book of last-minute, date-night, need “mommy/daddy time”, or just-because baby sitting coupons. While there may not be a cutesy photo of the bundle of joy clad in some awww-worthy-phrased Onesie, baby’s parents will appreciate you.
Kwanza: You are on your own.
My point: You can be giving without always being buying. Priority 1 is now debt elimination and so press pause on the unessential, extra curricular spending. This is a temporary measure. Your future debt-free-self will thank you.
Do you have any suggested alternatives to gift buying?