November 23, 2018
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is often considered the start of the Christmas shopping season. It can be easy to become overwhelmed, with what to buy, when the stores are shouting “sale, sale, sale” everyday from now til December 25.
Here are a few tips to help keep you focused and on budget when shopping this holiday season:
Map it out. The best way to shop in the stores, is to plan where you are going to go before you go., figure out what you will buy, and set up a time limit on how long you will browse.
Beware of spend more, save more. Retailers put all of their market research findings to use during the holiday season and their number one goal is to get you to spend. Before you snatch up an extra item to meet the quota for a sale, pause for a moment and consider this—are you going to spend more, simply to save, or, do you really need to buy that item for a person on your shopping list?
Compare prices. Comparison shopping is the only way for you to know if you are looking at a good deal or not. You can decide if the price is a “savings” if you don’t compare what the asking price is from multiple retailers first.
Shop with cash. Credit card companies will encourage you to shop with their cards to earn more rewards points. But study after study have shown, it is very easy to overspend when using plastic. When you have cash in your hands and your wallet is empty, you know you are done. Shopping with a credit card simply cannot give you the same visual cue when you are “empty.”
Buy quality staples. Classic presents can be purchased in bulk, usually for a discount. Wine bottles, candles, picture frames, and bath soaps and lotions are example of gifts that work well for multiple recipients and often come with a discount when purchasing more than one.
Don’t forget to return. If you do manage to overspend (or simply grabbed 1 item too many), return it! Stores often offer generous return policies for holiday shopping, which gives you the chance to return any gifts you didn’t hand out so that you aren’t stuck with something you didn’t really want for yourself.
How do you stay focused and on budget with your holiday shopping?