The holidays are upon us once again, and it’s pop culture for people to dive head first into reckless spending so much so that at the end of the day, most of us are neck deep in debt. Most of the time, we end up mad and disappointed in the things we purchased because they were incredibly inferior or we had no use for them. While everyone is acting as if they are bitten by the spending bug, you can successfully save money.
Here are few tips to help tame your impulsive shopping habits this holiday.
Understand Why You Buy
It is important to write a list of the things you need during the holidays to avoid overshooting your budget. Writing a budget helps you to give some thought to the things you plan to buy. And in doing so, you get to eliminate the things you do not need. Creating a shopping list with subtopics with estimated costs for each of them will help keep your spending in check. For example “Holiday Presents – $950;” then list each gift and their cost.
Don’t Shop Hungry
One of the reasons why most people overshoot their budget when shopping is due to hunger, especially when you’re in such festive surrounding. Everyone’s in such jolly spirit, and your initial instinct is to grab a quick bite to eat. Believe me, when you’re hungry, every food item on the shelf looks attractive. When you’re shopping hungry, you’re very likely to make poor decisions or unhealthy choices. So, make sure to grab a bite to eat before you leave the house to go shopping.
Do Not Be Easily Swayed By the Opinion of Others
It is possible to get distracted by what others are buying or what they have to say about a particular item. I remember when I went shopping for a few household holiday fixtures a couple of years ago, and I met this group of women fawning over an antique centerpiece. I found myself buying the last available one even though that was not what I had set out to buy. I eventually learned to tune other people out when shopping to avoid impulse buying. It’ll kill the holiday budget.
Use a Prepaid Credit Card
Keep the wallet at home and take a prepaid credit card. A prepaid credit card will help excessive spending as opposed to a traditional credit card that allows you go above and beyond. The drawback to prepaid cards is that they typically have service fees attached to each purchase and if you lose the card, then you have may no way of recovering your money; so use them wisely.
Shopping online may help to save more money because you can search for specific items and place orders for them. However, when shopping at a store, it is possible to get distracted by other items. Also, when shopping online, stores give discounts such as free shipments. Ultimately you save a lot of time, gas, money and energy shopping online.
Walk Around the Store before Buying
Most shoppers pick things they don’t need just because they looked good and they were right there in front of them. Make a point of walking through the store before you begin to push items into your cart as this may help you to have a clear idea of the brands available and the exact things you need to buy. Another tactic is to ask yourself if the purchase is a want or need. If the item is a want, then walk around the store a bit before finalizing the purchase, and the likelihood of the purchase will diminish.
Freeze Your Credit Card for the Month of December
You may have heard of freezing your credit card, but it does work. Because there are a million and one temptations in the month of December, with tempting percentages off and this is how people get trapped, you may find that you have incurred additional debts. Avoid using your credit cards during the month of December to avoid the temptation of overspending.
Lower Daily Spending Limits
Reduce your daily spending limits by having weekly budgets. Most debit and credit cards have a daily spending limit attached to the card, normally ranging from $500 – $10,000. Call your financial institution and request a temporary reduction in your daily spending. Lowering your daily spending limits will eliminate the impulsive shopping and overspending.
Don’t Buy a Gift for Everyone on Your List
If you’re someone who is very friendly, you probably have a thousand friends. There’s no way you’re going to buy a gift for a thousand people, right? Keep your gift recipient list as practical as possible.
Eliminate the Junk Mail
Adopt a household rule to toss all junk mail in the dumpster before coming inside the house. Therefore no one is tempted by the catalog’s arriving in the mail during the holiday season.
These tips have helped me tame my spending during the holidays. Implementing these tips have helped me save money that I would have spent buying a pair of Louboutins.
Contributor: Cozette White
Cozette White is the CEO and founder of My Financial Home Enterprises, a nationwide a wealth management firm helping entrepreneurs and organizations develop solutions that fuel business growth and transform products into EXCERLATING PROFITS. Cozette has the unparalleled ability to empower not only people, but businesses also, to learn to ditch the debt and develop a plan to create the kind of wealth that leaves a secure financial legacy!