We’re all familiar with Santa’s Christmas stocking. As discerning consumers, though, it would do no harm to make ourselves aware of the temptations
of his Christmas stock too!
The items I am referring to are of the bulkier variety – the ones that are too big to fit into such a humble garment of clothing; those unofficial ‘presents to self’, as opposed to the gifts we buy for other people.
If we were to delay the purchase of Christmas presents for friends and family until the January sales on the basis of increased value for money we would, quite rightly, be labelled a scrooge (after the Christmas-hating protagonist of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella A Christmas Carol).
We do, though, have the choice to delay those personal treats that, as a society, we have a tendency to spoil ourselves with at this time of year . . . be it a spa for the back yard, a flat screen for the lounge or a home gym for the utility room.
The goodwill that is associated with the current season has the easy propensity to become directed back at ourselves. It’s as if, at this time of year, all spending is exempt from the checks and balances that prevail at other times.
As a result, the season of giving can be as much about indulgence as it is about generosity.
I’m not suggesting that there is anything wrong with the acquisition of such items, but I am saying that the wisdom of such purchases over the Christmas period is questionable – not least because they attract the premium price tag that is the hallmark of any period of high demand.
By delaying gratification for a matter of days, you get to indulge your whims and your bank account at the same time, proving that – with a modicum of patience and planning – it really is possible to have your Christmas cake and eat it!
David Rankin is an author, public speaker and founder of the personal budgeting service Sort My Money. This article does not offer personal financial advice.