Smart Spending For The Holidays

holidays, present, christmas, childhood and happiness concept - close up of child and mother hands with gift box over shopping center background


By : Jurissa Ayala

Tis the season for shopping and, for most people, overspending. You don’t have to let that be your tale for morning after Christmas regret. You can spread holiday cheer without breaking the budget. These tips and tricks will help you resist impulse buying throughout the holidays so your New Year doesn’t begin in budget jail.

Shop with a List – And Stick to It!

Making a list isn’t an unheard of holiday tradition. The jolly old fella from the North Pole has been using the tactic for years. It’s a recession proof recipe for holiday spending success. Use the advertisements to find the gifts you’re going to purchase. List the recipient’s name, the name of the gift (size and color), and the advertised price. If something doesn’t add up in the store, skip it, and don’t buy anything else until you’ve returned to your home and done your homework.

Bring Cash for Your Purchase – Leave the Plastic at Home

There are two purposes for this particular tactic. One. If you only have the amount of cash you need to complete your planned purchases, there’s nothing left over to spend on impulse buys.

Two. We’ve grown numb to the fact that those plastic cards are either connected to our bank accounts now or will be in the form of future payments, with interest. Cash continues to be more painful to spend, urging more caution and care with the spending. It’s a mental edge to urge discretion in spending and a highly effective one at that.

Shop Early in the Season

The sooner you begin your holiday shopping the greater selection you will have. Don’t worry about missing big sales. Completing your shopping ahead of these massive traffic shopping days will save you much more money in the long run and you avoid the panic of last minute shopping.

Not only are you more likely to get the items you want earlier in the season, you’re also more likely to get them at reasonably discounted prices. Doorbuster sales are only effective if you get the items you came in for, which is a craps shoot to begin with, and if you’re able to stick to only the doorbuster items you went in for.

Skip the Doorbuster Sales

It may feel like the wrong thing to do if you’re on a budget. The thing about doorbuster sales is that they are a tool designed to get you in the store. The stores are willing to take a loss on a few select items in order to encourage shoppers to come into the store. They are willing to take this loss because they know customers will spend more on other items – enough to more than make up for the losses the store incurs.

Plus, the lines wrapping around the store provide far too many opportunities for impulse shopping urges to kick in. These are the times when you spend 30 minutes winding through children’s clothes in your favorite department store and pick up six outfits you never intended to buy. Just skip them!

Shop During Non-Peak Hours

As the holidays approach, weekend and lunchtime hours become brutal times for shopping. By some estimations all times are bad for shopping, but these can be the worst. Many impulse buys occur as people attempt to navigate quickly through crowded isles in their favorite stores.

Taking a half day and shopping between dropping the kids off for school and lunch during the middle of the week is often the ideal solution to get what you needs in less crowded times. If you’re shopping in stores that are open 24-hours, consider stopping in during the wee hours of the morning. It’s much quieter for shopping and far less crowded. This gives you time to make thoughtful buying decisions and make sure you’ve gotten all the items on your list – and only the items on your list.

These tips will help you curb your impulse buying habits in a really big way this holiday season. Just remember when working with cash to take multiple small trips and be careful with your cash so that you do not make yourself a target for pickpockets.