Do you enjoy buying yourself something special at the end of the year? If so, you’re not the only one. Around 57% of American shoppers planned to treat themselves during the holiday season last year, according to a Bankrate survey.
However, due to current economic volatility and high inflation, around 22% of Americans are planning to spend less on holiday gifts this year, according to the 2022 U.S. Holiday report from Sitecore. To afford gifts this season, 15% of shoppers say they’ll sell something they own, 17% plan to regift a present, and another 17% are looking to pick up another job or more hours at work.
Does that mean you should forego buying yourself a gift this holiday season? Experts say no — and here’s why.
It’s a Reward for Your Hard Work
Marlo Richardson, founder of Business Bullish, says she always buys herself a gift during the holiday season.
“It makes me feel better about having worked all year long,” she said. “I believe that there is an emotional benefit. It’s something tangible.”
Brian Greenberg, CEO of Insurist, agrees.
“When you buy yourself a gift during the holidays, it’s like paying yourself back,” he said. “You’ve already gotten what everyone else wants — whether it’s a new pair of boots or a hot tub — and now it’s time to get something special just for you.”
This gift can also be a helpful reminder later on when work feels overwhelming. Continuing to enjoy the gift you treated yourself to can help you push through the hard days.
It Gives You a Chance To Refresh and Recharge
However you decide to treat yourself, make sure it’s something that refreshes you, recommends Greenberg.
“It’s important to give yourself a break so that you can be your best self at work and in your relationships,” he said. “The most important thing is to make sure that whatever you choose to do for yourself feels like a treat. For me, that means something thoughtful and handmade by someone who loves me.”
The gift you give yourself doesn’t have to be a physical item, he added. It could be as simple as setting aside time to have fun with family and friends and not thinking about work. This approach can be especially helpful for people who are trying to stay within a certain budget during the holidays.
You Don’t Have To Splurge To Treat Yourself
An Ellevest survey revealed that 38% of women were anxious about holiday costs in 2021. Overspending — even on a gift for yourself — can exacerbate these unwanted money worries. To ease financial concerns, Richardson says that when she treats herself, she tries not to splurge or make purchases she can’t afford.
“I think buying the little things is more fulfilling than splurging,” she said.
It may help to set up a budget for your gift before you start shopping. A self-imposed spending limit can help guide you when looking for an ideal way to treat yourself during the holidays.
While shopping, Richardson added, be wary of items advertised as holiday sales.
“More often than not, you can find sale items online for the same price or cheaper,” she said. “A sale in one place may be a regular price somewhere else.”
Greenberg agreed, adding that it’s important to take your time when shopping online. Popup ads might make a certain item or sale seem urgent, but don’t rush into buying anything. Instead, do your research and compare prices so you can find something you will truly enjoy at the best possible price.
Beware of Ongoing Expenses and Scams
When buying a gift for yourself, Greenberg recommends steering clear of anything that will require ongoing payments. This could include subscription services or anything with a steep payment plan.
“These products are often deceptively marketed and can be very expensive if you end up with additional charges or fees,” he said.
He also urges people to watch out for scams, which are especially prevalent during the holiday season. A new AARP Fraud Watch Network report reveals that around 75% of American adults have already been targeted by holiday-related fraud — including requests from fake charities, online shopping scams and false warnings about shipping issues.
“Be careful when buying electronics, too” Greenberg said. “If the product is being sold by an individual, ask for their name and contact information so that you can verify the authenticity of the purchase.”
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