Consider the sobering fact that 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, according to Bankrate.com, with little or no emergency savings. We are a water heater break or plumbing problem away from literally being broke. What happens when the New Year rolls in, as it inevitably will, and credit card bills right along with?
We forget that we have the power to make choices that dramatically improve what 2015 means for our finances. Could this be the Holiday Season we stop "keeping up with the Smith's", and converse with our loved ones and gift recipients about expectations and reality? Think about it - if 3 out of 4 Americans is living paycheck to paycheck chances are they feel the financial strain as well and would welcome the opportunity to forgo a gift exchange. Yes, it's uncomfortable to initiate the conversation, but well worth it in the long run.
If totally forgoing gifts seems too monumental, try a shift in thinking about what a "gift" is. A gift of your time or service is always welcome. Do we ever have enough time? Who could give something more valuable? The tangibility of a dollar spent can't compare with the intangible value of time.
And of course there is always the issue of the physical gift itself. What if the recipient doesn't care for it? Is it more clutter for them to deal with? Does the gift drain not only our financial resources but our earth's as well?
How about it? What does your gift giving look like this year? What changes would you like to make, and what step can you take to make them? Please share your comments - I love to hear them!