Christmas 2020 was barely more than a week ago, but I’ve already laid the groundwork for Christmas 2021. I haven’t done anything like start stuffing away money or anything, although that’s not a bad idea. I’m doing a post-holiday analysis of my spending so I’m better prepared for next year.
Why Look Back?
Many people have a gift spending budget, many do not. This year, my wife and I didn’t have a hard budget. In fact, if asked I couldn’t even tell you with any precision how much we spent on Christmas gifts. What I can tell you is there’s a very good chance we spent more than we had liked. I’d like to prevent this from being the case again next year.
Ace in the Hole
I do have a very important piece of information working in my favor. All Christmas gifts were purchased with a single credit card. My wife and I have developed a routine of making all our purchases with a card that has a cash back program. Then, each time we reconcile our spending, I make a payment to the credit card equal to our spending. I have printouts from the beginning of November through the end of December marking each Christmas gift purchase, what it was, and who it was for.
I’ll use the information to breakdown gifts by family member and tally a grand total spent on Christmas gifts. My wife will have a short discussion about it just to digest the data, but then I’ll put it away for safe keeping.
As Christmas 2021 approaches, we’ll talk about the data again, and use it as a foundation for discussions about holiday spending. Next year we will have a budget and we can use our spending this as reference of how much we spent and whether we want to increase or decrease that spending, OR if we have to decrease it based on available funds.
What You Can Do
Even if you don’t have a detailed list of what you spent, you can do the same thing. A fairly complete list of gift purchases can be made from memory. If you searched enough, you could likely find the actual purchases in checking account or credit card histories.
If you didn’t make a spending plan this year, or didn’t stick to it, doing this exercise may help you do better next year.
The whole point is to be more mindful and deliberate about holiday gift spending. Having my spending documented will be invaluable when planning our spending for next year.
How about you, EOD Nation, have you ever analyzed holiday gift giving spending after the season was over?