Holiday shopping is always a source of shivers for most of us, but with the current state of the economy, this year’s shopping season may seem downright daunting.
If you’re wondering how you’ll handle the holidays this year, one online finance guru has a simple solution, but not everyone will like it.
The personal finance advisor is issuing a Christmas debt warning about this year’s holiday shopping.
Inflation has made the prospect of showering our loved ones with gifts this year downright terrifying for most of us, and 40% of respondents in a recent survey said they would cut back. But it seems unlikely that those cuts will actually materialize if last year is any predictor.
Last Christmas brought an eight-year high in holiday debt even though the economy was almost as battered last year, and many consumers say they plan to go so far as to use subprime loans for holiday gifts this year if necessary.
TikToker Wes (@honestpersonalfinance on the app) has only one thing to say about this: Don’t you dare.
The financial advisor urges people to simply decline to participate in Christmas gift-giving if they are worried about paying for it.
“You don’t need to go shopping. You don’t need to buy anything,” Wes said emphatically in his video. “This time of year ruins more people’s finances than any other time of year. Don’t you dare be part of that statistic!”
He then went on to tell some difficult, but nonetheless unquestionable truths. “None of the kids remember who gave them what gifts last year,” she said, which, if you’ve ever bought a child a gift, you know is indisputably true.
He went on to say, “Anything you buy, someone will eventually turn into garbage, just like your money.”
It’s a harsh way to think about Christmas gifts, but the data bears it out: A 2022 survey found that more than half of people receive at least one Christmas gift they don’t want, totaling more than $8.2 billion in Christmas expenses. . That’s absurd.
Wes says engaging in holiday shopping is a choice that will ruin your finances, a bold claim that the data actually bears out.
The financial guru switched to doing Christmas shopping on the couch as a matter of personal responsibility. “You complain about the cost of living and inflation ruining your finances, yet you have the audacity to think you need to go shopping?” he scolded him.
Again, hard. But is he wrong? Prices on basically every category of holiday gifts have increased since last year, and people are so exhausted that a recent Morning Consult survey found that more than a third of Americans (including 39% of those making $100,000 a year) year or more) are planning to use “Buy Now, Pay Later Loans” to purchase Christmas gifts.
These are loans from companies and apps like Klarna and AfterPay that come with predatory fees and exorbitant interest rates worse than even many credit cards, especially if it turns out you can’t pay the bill in the future.
Considering all this, it’s hard to believe that so many people, including high-income earners, are considering taking on so much risk for holiday gifts that most people forget, don’t want, take back, or throw away.
Instead, consider making Christmas about togetherness.
“Your materialism is ruining you,” Wes said, “Corporate America is trying to trick you into wasting your money and you are taking their hook, line and sinker.” His advice, even for people with higher incomes, was to take the money they would spend on gifts and invest it instead.
Even if that’s out of reach, he says, “vacations don’t have to be about wasting money.” Aside from how many people hate the gifts they receive, research has conclusively shown that people value experiences over things anyway.
This trend is also beginning to affect vacations:
More than half of Americans say holiday gift-giving stresses them out, and it’s even worse for those with children.
As someone who comes from a family that put a $50 limit and a “kids only” rule on Christmas gifts more than a decade ago, I can tell you from experience: the sigh of relief you’ll breathe when you don’t have to squeeze their financial teeth over the next three months are better than any junk your family is going to hide under the tree next month.
As Wese said in his video, “no one in your family is entitled to any of your money.” Instead, let’s be together. Eat cookies, watch movies, sing songs, throw snowballs. The items under the tree will be practically forgotten the moment they are opened. The rest lasts forever.
John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer covering pop culture, social justice, and human interest.