smiling african american woman using laptop, sitting near christmas tree with card, shopping online

Don’t Get “Wrapped Up” In Holiday Spending

‘Tis the season of gifting! We all know that it’s better to give than to receive . . . but many times, we can go a little overboard on our holiday spending. Giving out of the goodness of your heart is a beautiful thing. But what happens when holiday spending takes us above and beyond what we can actually afford? 

Last year, 35% of Americans went into debt for their holiday spending averaging $1,549.1 According to PYMNTS, almost “one-third of shoppers used credit cards, point-of-sale loans, or installment plans to pay for their Black Friday buys this year.”2 And 45% of people who live paycheck to paycheck used these methods to pay for 60% of their Black Friday deal purchases.3 

Four Ways to Keep Your Holiday Spending in Check

Don’t let your holiday spending be a reason you’re living beyond your means (or send you into debt). You can still spread holiday cheer without breaking the bank. We’ve got some tips that will help you keep your spending in check this holiday season:

1. Have a plan. 

One of the best ways to make sure you don’t overspend this Christmas is by creating a budget (and sticking to it). If you’ve been setting money aside in a Christmas fund, you know exactly how much you have to spend. And if you’re new to the idea of saving funds, that’s okay. It’s not too late. But before you start spending, make sure you budget for it. Decide how much you want to spend on gifting before all those great deals start hitting your inbox. You’ll be glad you did!

2. Find an accountability partner. 

If you’re married, your spouse is your built-in accountability partner. And if not, find someone you know you can trust with your finances to hold you accountable to your budget. Tell them how you want to be held accountable and what should happen if you break the budget. Then, give them your plan and ask them to check in each week through the holidays. Remember, the only way this relationship works is if you’re fully transparent and honest about how you’re spending your money. 

3. Spend with cash or debit. 

With the increasingly popular installment payment options on the rise, it can be tempting to buy something now and pay for it later. But that can get dangerous. It’s easy to assume that you’ll have the month to pay for that item in a few months, but you never know what life might throw at you. The best way to ensure you can pay for that purchase is to spend with cash or a bank/debit card. Plus, when you know it’s coming from your bank account, you’ll be more likely to stick to your budget. 

4. Get creative.

Not everyone wants something tangible for Christmas—and that’s okay! There are plenty of other creative ways to show a loved one that you care:

  • Give to their favorite charity in their honor. 
  • Give the gift of time or mentorship.
  • Plan an experience together.
  • Start a giving fund. 

The holidays are more about spending time with the people we love and cherish. You don’t have to worry about how this year’s holiday spending will impact your finances in the new year. Use these tips and get creative with your gifting this season. And remember to check in with your SageSpring Wealth Partner. We’d love to help hold you accountable to your financial plan this season.

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Jeffrey T. Dobyns


President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS 

Jeffrey T. Dobyns

President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS

Beyond crunching numbers and investment strategies, at SageSpring, we’re about building relationships. When you encounter Founder & President of SageSpring, Jeff Dobyns, it’s easy to understand why this is at the very heart of who we are as a firm. You won’t find stuffy formalities with Jeff; instead, you can expect to find him sharing a warm smile, communicating a compelling vision, or patiently untangling life’s complex challenges with clients. He believes in truly getting to know clients, understanding their aspirations and priorities, and navigating their financial plans with a tailored, comprehensive approach. Our team members have often been caught taking notes on Jeff’s effortless relationship skills from a distance, and we admire them for striving to learn from one of the best. 

Jeff’s financial expertise and wisdom are the perfect match to his innate people skills. Jeff holds the prestigious CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification, Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChLU®) designations, and has held executive positions with financial planning firms for more than two decades. 

His dedication extends beyond the office to the boardroom and the local community, where Jeff is passionate about giving back. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Men of Valor, a prison ministry and mentoring program. Jeff also serves on the board of Send Musicians to Prison, which shares hope, healing and restoration with the imprisoned through musicians & artists. Jeff actively supports other initiatives in the community by sitting on the board of The Signatry of Middle Tennessee and the Halftime Institute of Nashville. 

Witnessing his four children, Gracyn, Hunter, Tanner, and Logan, excel on the field is almost just as rewarding, if not more, than celebrating the victories of seeing his clients overcome obstacles and build wealth. Spending weekends boating on the lake, hiking mountain trails, and fishing with his family are the moments Jeff cherishes most. It’s this grounded perspective that reveals the true meaning of wealth for Jeff: not just numbers on a page, but the freedom to create experiences that enrich your life and the lives of those you love. When you choose the Dobyns McMillin Wealth Team, you choose more than financial expertise. You choose a partner who champions your dreams, celebrates your victories, and walks besides you on the path to achieving your unique goals.

**Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.