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Spend, spend, spend, shop, shop, shop and worry about paying for it next year. Lynda Moore has some ideas about how not to have a debt hangover

Personal Finance / opinion
Spend, spend, spend, shop, shop, shop and worry about paying for it next year. Lynda Moore has some ideas about how not to have a debt hangover
Gift wrapping

Don’t you love this time of year, Christmas is coming, so it’s all about spend, spend, spend, shop, shop, shop and worry about paying for it next year.  I am sure it is not just us girls who feel like this. How do we survive this sensory overload that seems to compel us to spend more money than we have?

The pressure to purchase Christmas presents for everyone is huge at this time of year. It’s not only driven by the media and the retail stores that want us to buy.  All our children or grandchildren need the latest toys; men need the latest gadget, and every girl regardless of age needs jewellery, that’s what the advertisers tell us...

It’s also driven by our family values, peer pressure and traditions that may also be pushing some mental buttons right now. Plus, let’s face it 2023 hasn’t been the easiest of years and we all just want to be able to enjoy the festive season and summer, so the justification bias of ‘we deserve it” is quite strong.

This also needs to be tempered with the reality of what we can afford to spend and how we choose to use our resources, both time and money to have not only a great Christmas Day, but also the holiday that follows. So, whatever you choose to spend on Christmas Day itself, leave enough left over for some fun times over the break as well.

I’m not saying don’t go Christmas shopping, if you do, here are a few tips to be aware of to help you save money.

  1. Spending is emotional. When it comes to money, typically our feelings rule our actions, thoughts come later. Neuroscientists say you make spending decisions up to 10 seconds before you are consciously aware of them.  So before opening your wallet count to 10 slowly!
  2. Don’t use credit cards, or any other buy now pay later options. Credit cards separate the pleasure of spending with the pain of paying; we are natural optimists and tell ourselves we can pay the whole credit card off when it falls due.  Then the boundaries slip a bit, one month becomes three, then six and in the meantime the interest cost is increasing.  Research shows that credit card users significantly underestimate how much they owe, one study showed cardholders admitting to $4 out of every $10 they owe, don’t fall into that trap.
  3. Shop alone. Shopping as a social occasion is great fun, but it can increase our spending, we relax our usual constraints, maybe because we want to impress, or we just get carried away with the moment and excitement of being with friends.
  4. Set yourself a budget.  Yes, I know that is a dirty word, but it works, decide how many gifts you want to purchase and set a limit per gift.  If you didn’t take advantage of the Black Friday sales, there are still bargains to be had, you might just have to search a bit harder for them.
  5. Don’t be special.  We have all seen the posters and adverts, if you spend $80.00 you get a free gift, stick to your original intent and only spend the $40.00 for the gift you want.
  6. Don’t leave your shopping to the last minute.  I know the men will find this one hard to relate to, but last-minute shopping causes stress, which heightens our emotions, which can throw caution to the wind, all thoughts of budgets, and sensible spending goes out the window.

This is my personal favourite

It was on sale, so I bought two..... Do you really need two of the same thing? OK maybe the items are different colours, or you got 2 different sizes so the kids will grow into them.  This type of thought is a spending justification, we have had an argument with ourselves, which we have won, that gave us a reason to spend more than we intended to.  Be careful of sales, sometimes the deals aren’t as good as we think they are.

So, pack away the credit cards, be clear about how much you are going to spend on gifts and go forth and have fun shopping.

Why not set yourself up for next year. We know Christmas and the summer holidays happen every year, so make one of your New Year Goals to set up an automatic payment every week into your Xmas shopping account, then forget about it until December, you will be surprised how much you can save by making a good decision once.

By the way, I love the wrapping of gifts part.....  and of course, the unwrapping part as well.

*Lynda Moore is a Money Mentalist coach and New Zealand’s only certified New Money Story® mentor. Lynda helps you understand why you do the things you do with your money, when we all know we should spend less than we earn. You can contact her here.

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NZ loves a ...Im done and dusted ... get organized throughout the year and stash them in a good hiding spot this takes the bite out of the madness   Was surprised courier prices were not as bad as I had imagined but boxing rather than prepaid probably helped keep the cost down...Its beginning to look a lot like christmas ...( toot toot..road


I love to start early and tuck things away during the year.. I have occasionally forgotten what I have bought for who, and ended up with a bonus birthday gift!


We humans rock !

Neuroscientists say you make spending decisions up to 10 seconds before you are consciously aware of them.

possibly we can make a decision and pay before we knew it.


We certainly do rock!  We can make a decision and pay for it before we realise it.  I've done it numerous times, particularly if I'm stressed or don't have a lot of time to make a decision... its easier to do this with online shopping than in a 'real' shop.  


One persons debt is another persons spending money as that is how money gets created and we would all be out of work if we stopped spending money.


I  completely agree.  This is why I don't say stop spending.  It's about be conscious about the spending decisions we make, why we are doing this and making sure we don't put ourselves under financial stress because we feel we 'have' to spend money