By Janine Robertson
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By Janine Robertson
Last year I bought 2 different friends a goat for Christmas. Not real goats, but a charitable donation where my friend received a card and a person who actually needed a goat got one. I decided that goats would be a better gift instead of some kind of trinket. Was I right?
Although both friends accepted the gifts with thanks, one seemed more pleased than the other. It wasn’t that one friend is more selfish, or that she was hoping for anything in particular. It wasn’t that one friend was wealthier or more charitable. They just reacted differently.
Why do some people receive a gift such as this and receive it with more pleasure than others?
I was pleased with my choice. Not only did I avoid the useless trinkets, but I also got a tax deduction!
So, is a goat a good gift? Or not?
One of my friends, let’s call her Jane, loved her goat.
My other friend, Val, said thanks, but seemed less than impressed.
But here is the real insight that came about after the gifting of goats and a few conversations with Jane and Val.
Jane is one of those ‘good with money’ people, a Defender. She hates wasting money and therefore hates other people buying random trinkets for her that have little use. If I bought Jane a shirt she didn’t like, she would exchange it. If I offered her a scented candle, she would be disappointed that I had wasted my money on something she neither wanted or needed. As a Defender, Jane looks at all her purchases with a value lens – and that includes gifts she receives. Honestly, if I was extremely wealthy and bought Jane a luxury car, I think she would wonder why I didn’t buy something more practical, and cheaper. It’s in her nature to not waste money. And she doesn’t want her friends to waste theirs.
Val, on the other hand, would have loved any gift I gave her. A candle would be genuinely welcome, a luxury car more so. I think she would have liked an actual goat more than the donated one. Not because she needs her home to smell better or because a goat is good gift (it’s not!), but because she is a Spender. Val has completely opposite behaviour to money than Jane and enjoys displaying her love and kindness with gifts. She also loves receiving trinkets. Even if the candle was really stinky, she would have genuinely enjoyed receiving it (despite perhaps re-gifting it). Note: goats are not great for re-gifting.
Although I considered the goat gifts long and hard, I really missed the mark with Val.
Defenders look at all their purchases with a value lens and thus, they do not like wasting anyone’s money – and this includes gifts that they perceive to be a waste of money. Spenders don’t think like that. They find it so difficult to see the way the other person is wired.
Neither position is right or wrong. They are just different.
It is an interesting concept to think through as part of your gift purchasing. Often, as good friends, we consider the recipient of the gift when we are purchasing – but have you ever considered their behaviour to money?
In 2020, the temptation to spend as we round out the year could be higher than normal. The attraction is there to splurge, have a party and celebrate the end of the year (goodbye, good riddance). Additionally, this time of year can be full of tradition and habit. Buying gifts for people – because we always have.
Perhaps the change we have seen in 2020 is also a signal to skip the tradition, bring more awareness to our behaviour to money and reduce the stress associated with the festive season?
We all want a bit more joy in our life after the year we have collectively and separately had. With more uncertainty than normal over the future, how can you move through the festive season with your wallet intact?
Intentional spending is the place to begin. And that starts with awareness of your behaviour to money and your actual money.
What can you do to avoid the January hangover from festive spending? We asked some Defenders (people that are good with money, like Jane) for their tips.
The economy needs us to spend but do it with intention. Think of the environment. Support local businesses. Don’t waste money on things that are useless. Consider experiences. Less tokens and trinkets, especially for those Defender friends.
It’s been a tough year. Try to enjoy the last months and your summer by making decisions that reduce your ‘money-stress’.
The information in this article is general in nature and should not be relied upon as personal advice as your personal needs, objectives, and financial situation have not been considered. Before making a decision about any smartMonday branded product you should consider whether it suits your particular circumstances, and, where appropriate, you may wish to seek financial advice specific to