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Holiday spending: how to be a holiday baller

Welcome to December, aka. Debt-cember—the one month when it’s (unfortunately) normal to overspend. But... you don’t need to be hood rich* this year.

*hood rich definition: having a lot of fancy things that were actually financed because you can’t afford it

Here’s the thing. You can be a holiday baller without breaking the bank—it all starts with redefining what it means to be a holiday baller.


A baller isn't someone who just makes it rain and plays Santa Claus by showering their friends and family with gifts. You don’t need to be a sugar daddy/momma to be liked, and you don’t need to keep up with the Jones OR the Kardashians. You can be a baller with your time, your positivity, your intelligence, your love… as cheesy as it sounds, it’s really not all about material objects.

Give presence over presents

A friend of mine has been writing a column called #DearRichPeople for the Huffington Post. In one of the articles he talked about how no amount of money really satisfied his needs and it wasn't because he didn't have enough; it was because excess wealth in itself was not fulfilling. What did fulfill him was when he was giving, whether it was giving money or time. He felt just as good sharing his time as he did his money—and the receivers of his philanthropy also valued time as much (if not more) than money.


So… Be a baller with your time! Just go and ask your family—I can guarantee that they would rather have your gift of time over something you purchased at the mall for them. Especially if you financed it on a credit card. Experiences are way more memorable than things. According to psychologist Dr. Thomas Gilovich,


"We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them."

Rather than buying the latest iPhone, Gilovich suggests you'll get more happiness out of spending money on experiences like going to art exhibits, learning a new skill, or travelling.


Would you rather give a gift that is cool for a few weeks or a memory that lasts forever?

A few ideas: If you feel like you need to give them something to unwrap, you can still do this with the gift of time. Create a beautiful custom invite for a fun day with you here on Canva, print it, and wrap it up!


Check out DIY gift-wrapping by our pals Kastor and Pollux

A baller’s perspective

Take a cue from Ice Cube and check yo self before your wreck yo self because overspending is bad for your health. Before you go out shopping, shift your perspective on your spending habits. I overspend on organic juice. It’s a bad habit and I had a hard time stopping until I put my spending into perspective. In Vancouver, there’s a token program to feed the homeless through Save on Meats: it’s $2.25 for one token that can be exchanged for a hot meal to someone in need. And there I was spending $12 on a juice! For $12 I could feed 5 people. So, the next time you're about to spend like an entitled millennial, take a look at the opportunity cost.

Need a little more perspective? Check out this example based on the Save On Meats hot meal token program:

A great holiday baller gift idea is to share this perspective with friends and family and get them in on the giving. Instead of your 5-course holiday dinner, have a minimalist dinner and donate a meal. Or instead of gifts, donate to someone in need. It doesn’t have to be a monetary donation either; time can be a very valuable donation. The most valuable gifts can come from being rich in compassion.

Outsmart the marketers and don’t borrow to ball

Everywhere you look, you’re being marketed to. Before you go out holiday shopping, you need to outsmart the marketers and understand how they’re manipulating you to spend more over the holiday season. If you fall into this trap and reach for your credit card to fund it, you could quickly lose your holiday baller status—real ballers don’t borrow to ball.


If you do have to borrow to fund your holidays, have a debt payback plan in place. Check out this calculator to see how long it’ll take you to pay off your credit card. If you can’t pay it back within a few months, consider using a personal loan like MogoLiquid that’s designed to get you out of debt faster.


Chantel Chapman Chantel Chapman is Mogo’s Financial Fitness Coach. She teaches you how to be an adult, and is also the host of our Adulting 101 events. With over a decade’s experience as a mortgage broker, Chantel recognized a need for financial education with many of her first-time homebuyers, so she began creating custom content to help guide them. Chantel is the founder of Holler For Your Dollar, a consulting firm that jump-starts anyone who’s ready to dive into the world of Adulting or entrepreneurship. Her role at Mogo puts her skills to use creating and teaching digestible, yet educational financial literacy content geared to millennials and daring entrepreneurs.

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