Wish Christmas had been white instead of green?
Guest post by APB Thanks girl
Every year I start planning for the holidays in advance because I want “this Christmas” to be the best one ever. I start buying gifts months ahead of time to try to get the best prices and to give myself time to give gifts that the receiver will love and think “Wow! I’ve always wanted that!” Maybe all of you are more lucky (ok, ok, more efficient) than I am, but every year, life happens and all of a sudden it is two weeks before Christmas.
So, instead of that great gift that is awesome because of how perfect it is, not how much it costs, I end up buying something that they’ll like because it’s expensive and anyone with any sense would never buy it for themselves. Is it still going to be a good Christmas? Of course – but I’ll be paying for it until August. While once again vowing to change things and do Christmas right later this year, I have decided to do what I can to recoup some of my Christmas greenery – green money that is.
Make a List, Check it Twice
Actually returning things that need to be returned is a downfall of mine. I will put the bag and the receipt in my trunk, with fabulous intentions of course, then drive around with it for six months by which point it is on clearance and worth about 20% of what I paid for it. These post-Christmas returns may either be gifts that never were given out for some reason or things you received that you’re not crazy about.
This Year Will Be Different:
- Collect all of the returns, separate them by the store they need to go to and make a list so you can pre-plan your outing and ensure that you don’t miss a store.
- Make a second list of necessities , household items that you need and will have to buy no matter what, based on the store where you will have credit from your return. Instead of exchanging for things you don’t need and wouldn’t have spent your own money on, give your wallet a break by getting things you and your family need.
- If you are making returns to a store that only sells things you want versus things you need, make a list of the birthdays coming up for friends and family that you always have to buy a gift for. Simply exchange what you don’t want for gifts to give to others.
Maybe you are someone that is impossible to buy for, maybe someone else in your family procrastinated like you did and had no time to think about what to get you – hence the gift card. Retailers keep up with the sale of gift cards and according to several reports, since 2005, upwards of $40 billion worth of gift cards have never been redeemed, yet the sale of them is at an industry high. Wow-o! Let’s get something out of these gift cards people and USE them for something.
- Just like with your returns that you will promptly do, figure out who you need to buy for throughout the year and use your gift cards to buy great gifts for others – guilt free! If you are a gift card giver yourself, use your gift card to buy more cards with smaller amounts on them.
- You have restaurant gift cards – somewhere you love? Somewhere you hate? If you can’t part with it and you want to treat yourself to a nice meal out, save it for a special occasion where you would probably dine out anyway and pre-plan what you’ll order based on the amount you have so that you don’t end up in the whole. If it is for a place you will never eat at, re-gift the card. Who’s going to know you didn’t pick it out yourself??
- If you are at a loss with what to do with your gift card, even with the stellar recommendations made above, there is a huge market online for selling these things at a price less than 100% of their value. If you are a penny pincher and can’t stand to let it go for less than it’s absolute value, think of it this way: if you end up never using it, what do you get out of it? Not even a penny on the dollar. If you use it for an item that you don’t need and never would have bought yourself, what do you get out of it? Especially when next week that item goes on sale for 75% off… Might as well have a little cash in your pocket.
Hopefully some of you guys will take this challenge with me! It’s possible that I am the only procrastinator in the world that didn’t have a perfectly pre-planned and well budgeted holiday season – but I doubt it. If nothing else, I will at least feel like I am taking a step in the right direction instead of allowing one day out of the year to cost me months of stress and financial recuperation.
Good luck everyone!
Do you let Christmas slip up on you, too? Do you always returns items promptly?
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