Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Present for the Holidays

Personal Finance bloggers, including myself, have pointed out in the past the wastefulness of buying Christmas presents. Economist Joel Waldfogel has written an entire book on the subject. He points out that you wouldn’t buy a $50 item for yourself unless it was worth $50 to you. It is entirely likely though that you will receive gifts that are of little to no value to you despite the fact that the giver spent considerable money on the gift. If you eliminate gift giving you eliminate this waste. I haven’t read the book but apparently he does offer some solutions other than just stop giving gifts. I don’t plan on buying the book but it is nice to see an economist shares my view on the wastefulness of Christmas gift giving. As a frugal person I abhor waste.

Despite my views I will probably be buying at least a couple of Christmas gifts. Some people don’t believe me when I say I don’t want anything and then I need to reciprocate.

5 thoughts on “Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Present for the Holidays”

  1. I absolutely agree. The only person I am interested in exchanging gifts with is my husband. I end up giving almost everything else I receive to the Salvation Army.

  2. The last two years, money was so tight that we told people we didn’t need any presents and we wouldn’t be able to give. Some did anyway, which made us feel uncomfortable. This year, we’re buying presents for both of our immediate families but keeping it from $15-25 per person. We ended up spending about $140 for 9 people, a number of presents were books we wanted to share. One person was thoughtful enough to ask for a Dover Press imprint of a particular book because all she wanted was a copy of the book for reference. $2, so we bought her another inexpensive gift she’d like.

    We won’t be giving each other gifts, however, because we’re not really gift people.

  3. Hi Tight-Fisted Mr.,

    I agree with this post! Most of the time, it turns out to be a money drain. I tend to give people gift cards or money, and I hardly get it back. I don’t need a sweater with cats on it 😉

    Please check out my new blog whenever you get time.

    -Moon from Experiments In Passive Income

  4. My husband and I don’t exchange gifts for any occassion. We have everything materialistic we want.For our 4 grown children, we give a combination of money and gifts, but we are travelling 8 months of the year, so not home to celebrate with family. We have insisted they not buy anything for us, which they have honored.
    When we are home , we get together for family meals often.That means more to me.
    When we lived as a family, there were times when we purchased second hand gifts, or very inexpensive ones.
    I always save my xmas bows for next year to use.


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