Giving your spouse a car as a Christmas gift is a horrendous idea. Yet car advertisers seem to be touting this idea more than ever.
The Lexus “A December to Remember” ads have been running for years now.
This year, Mercedes and Hyundai are getting into the mix as well.
The Lexus featured in the commercial above looks like a 2019 Lexus LS500 Sedan. If so, it retails for $75,000+
Who spends $75,000 without discussing it with their spouse!? What spouse is okay with being shut out of a purchase that is likely larger than any you’ll ever make, except a home!?
And yet, it apparently really is an actual thing at least one person has done. And it backfired in predictable fashion. People. Do not do this.
Gifting a car is probably an embellished example, but it’s not altogether different than a lot of the spending that happens this time of year. Here are five more common mistakes people make with spending around the holidays.
Financing the holidays on credit cards.
If you can’t pay the bill by December 31, then you can’t afford it. Yes, that may seem harsh. No, I’m not trying to be scrooge. Financing holiday gifts sets you up to go into the new year having to dig out of a hole. And often times, that hole only gets deeper when the unexpected events of life come up.
No one ever thinks it will happen to them, but the scourge of credit card debt often starts with holiday overspending.
Comparing to Others
It’s so easy to look at the trip other people are taking, or the gifts they’re giving, and want to do the same.
But you have no idea whether they can afford those items or if they’re taking on debt to make it work.
Or if their family has covered many of their expenses that you’ve always paid yourself.
Or if a relative recently passed away and left some money.
Or if they’re just amazing savers who prioritize the holiday season as what they value above other times of year.
Don’t let yourself be swayed by others’ extravagances. Someone will always have more and do more than you.
Dining Out All Month Long
One of my favorite traditions is going to a Hibachi restaurant on Christmas Eve. I’ve done it now for 6 years with my wife’s family. It’s a cornerstone of our holiday season, and one I look forward to for months. By having a couple major meals out to look forward to, we avoid the endless string of dining out that can easily happen in December.
Upgrading Electronics That Are Perfectly Fine
“Oh my god, did you see how cheap TV’s have gotten? Maybe I should get one.”
If you weren’t thinking to yourself “Our TV is old, the picture is fuzzy, and it’s starting to malfunction.” then it doesn’t matter how cheap the TV is this year. It’s still something you don’t need and that you’ll barely be able to remember you upgraded come April. I promise, next year there will also be “great Black Friday deals for TV’s.”
Spending Money Because “It’s Such a Great Deal.”
My favorite anecdote here is from when my brother owned a jewelry store. I once asked him how often people pay the sticker price on the jewelry in the store. His answer? “Never.”
The black Friday 50% off deal led straight into the January blowout special.
As that sale wrapped up, the Valentine’s day sales were in full gear.
Then came Spring sales to mark the changing season.
After that we were coming right up on graduation and mother’s day sales. And so it went all the way through the next holiday season.
Just because the tag says $495 and you’re buying it for $249 doesn’t mean you’re getting a deal. It just means you’re spending $249. If someone held the bracelet in one hand and $249 in the other hand and told you to pick which one you wanted, which would you take? If your answer is the cash, don’t buy the bracelet.
And I’m willing to bet that if someone told you to choose between $75,000 cash or a new Lexus, you’d happily pocket the $75,000.
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