I know it sounds as if this is going to be a super sad post, but don’t worry. It isn’t. This year something different is happening at the Singler home. We aren’t going to open any presents on Christmas. I can’t say that we didn’t buy any Christmas presents at all. There were 2 Harry & David food gift purchases for my grandmother and uncle. But, our tree is all set up and there is nothing under it (ok, I know you can’t see the bottom of the photo, but I’m an attorney not a photo editor, so take my word for it.). I can say that this fact really does bring me a lot of joy and I want to share why.
First, let me start out by saying that we don’t have children. If we did I am certain there would be a few presents under the tree. But even if you have children you might consider cutting back and potentially eliminating gifts for spouse and extended family. Why did we decide to do this? I can answer that by asking this. Do you remember what your spouse, aunt, nephew (insert relative here) got you for Christmas last year? While some of you may remember, a lot of you don’t. Next, let me ask, was the gift you received last Christmas a treasured item that you cherish and brings you true joy? Be honest, if you got a blender last year you might like it, but it probably isn’t bringing any extra joy to your life. So, the first reason that my husband and I aren’t opening anything on Christmas is because we don’t want to spend money to open gifts that we can’t remember in a year and won’t bring us joy 15 minutes after the wrapping paper is in the garbage.
Second, take a look around your house. Do you own a lot of stuff? Do you really need more? Currently I am going through my house and systematically eliminating things that we have accumulated that we really do not need or want. We are lucky. We live in the wonderful village of Zionsville area and we have everything we need. I can say I probably have most of the things I want because I don’t really like stuff very much. While my husband probably has a long list of things he wants, he agrees that there really is nothing that he needs. It brings me happiness not to add additional things to our house just because the calendar (and retailers) tell me I should.
Third, is what you would buy this Christmas more important than your savings goals? What I mean by this is, what do you want to do with your money long-term? There is no right or wrong answer to this. It’s your money. Perhaps your long-term goal is to be able to provide a college education to your children. Is buying each of them 8 Christmas presents instead of 3 more important than your goal of being able to provide a college education for them? Perhaps your long-term goal is to retire comfortably by the age of 55. Is buying your aunt a perfume gift package for $75.00 more important that contributing that $75.00 to your retirement savings? For many people these goals are so long-term that they are difficult to visualize, so also ask yourself about your mid-range goals with your money. Are the gifts that you bought for your cousins more important than your goal to purchase a new vehicle with cash in 3 years? Again, there is no right or wrong answer to these questions. My point is not that it is incorrect to purchase Christmas presents. My point is that it is important to be mindful about how we spend our money and to spend our funds on what we find to be our priorities in life.
For my family, our priority is saving for a large purchase of a vacation property. We have a measured plan in which we hope to fund this purchase and it is more important at this time than buying Christmas presents for each other. It is important to remember that our priorities might change in 6 months or 6 years. At some point buying each other gifts might be more important than saving for our next goal. And, the day that we purchase those gifts may or may not correspond with December 25th on the calendar. It really doesn’t matter to me so long as what we decide corresponds to our priorities regarding our money at that time. As of December, 2016, I find much more happiness in making strides toward obtaining a savings goal than I do in receiving whatever $100.00 gift my husband would have purchased for me.
So, from the Halcomb Singler, LLP, family as well as the Singler family. Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukah! Happy Holidays. Wishing you all the best in life and with your financial decisions in 2017.