Holiday shopping can get overwhelming. Shoppers need to be prepared in order to avoid making financial mistakes this season.
Here are tips to make sure this holiday does not cause debt related stress in the new year.
Gifts are expensive enough as it is, the wrapping paper or gift bags don’t need to be pricey too. Get creative with the wrapping, buying solid colored papers that can be used after the holidays. Recycled gift bags or ribbons work well and it’s completely acceptable.
Cut the cost of the holidays by keeping your credit card at home. Research has shown that consumers spend more when they charge. Stick to cash and set a budget. Balances that start high and dwindle are easier to follow rather than adding your purchases as you go. Stay away from the “interest-free” deals. Most times, these deals are just set ups for financial failure.
Don’t approach this holiday shopping season with negative emotions. Feelings of panic or guilt make an expensive combination. Consumers need to remember that money doesn’t equal affection. Try to maintain a level head and don’t get carried away by what others are doing.
If your finances are tight this season, make it known. It is not necessary to give specifics to those around you, just make a statement to let them know your intentions, “this season I am focusing on the children only.” Perhaps the gift of food is more financially manageable for you; making your favorite dishes or pastries for those you love.
Separate shopping from what is entertainment. Don’t venture to the mall with a shopping buddy who may have a different budget than you. It’s easy to get carried away with the music, the decorations and the atmosphere at the mall. If you plan on going there, take only enough to purchase a cookie and a hot chocolate and just enjoy the surroundings.
The holidays are about being together and enjoying each other. If you stress over gifts and how much you overspent, you have missed the point. Spend this season with people and not the stores!