Be mindful of overspending as you shop for the holidays

holiday ovespending

Cindy Rivas Alfaro/The Cougar

As the year comes to an end, people are rushing to buy the best deals for Black Friday and get their Christmas presents in before the large crowds start to form at the malls. 

The holiday season is all about giving for many people but this can become an issue as the givers end up maxing out their credit cards and the receivers end up never using their gifts.

Because of the pandemic, around half of Americans feel like they have to spend more on gifts to make up for the lost time. 

To add on, 56 percent of people are planning to use the increasingly popular “buy now, pay later” plans offered by companies like Affirm to cover the costs of their gifts. 

Gift-giving is a thoughtful way to make the other person feel loved and cared for, however, it shouldn’t become a stressful process. 

People should be mindful of holiday overspending not only to keep them from accumulating unnecessary debt but to make sure that their gifts are not ending up in landfills. 

The pandemic has caused a lot of people to lose touch and many feel like they no longer know the people close to them as much as they would want. Because of this, some gifts might be returned or not even used.  

In 2020, over 6 billion pounds of waste ended up in landfills as people returned gifts that were never able to be resold. 

Retailers face a challenge as well as the price to process and complete returns are only increasing each year. 

All of this is to say that gift-giving needs to be something that is more planned out rather than guessing what the other person would like or need. 

Instead of feeling like you have to buy the most expensive gift for someone, give yourself a budget. This is extremely helpful for those with large families or a big friend group. 

Spending $100 on each family member will only cause you to pull out a credit card when spending $30 could have been enough. 

If you don’t know what to get someone, ask for a wishlist. There are several websites online aimed toward making it easier for you to buy something for someone that you know will not get returned because they explicitly asked for it on their wishlist. 

It might take the element of surprise out of the exchange but it is worth it to prevent any unnecessary returns. 

As for wanting to add a personal touch to gifts when you feel like they’re too generic, a simple handwritten note goes a long way. 

In the end, you want holiday shopping and gift-giving to make both parties — and your wallet — happy while minimizing the damage to the environment. 

Cindy Rivas Alfaro is a sophomore journalism major who can be reached at [email protected]

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