In just a few days, the annual shopping frenzy will begin: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Free Shipping Day, Small Business Saturday, and sales galore. During our annual shopping season, it’s easy to overspend only to find ourselves paying off those December purchases well into the next year.
- Make a plan. List all your holiday expenses including gifts (list each recipient!), tips, travel, decorations, special meals, etc. Decide now, before heading for the stores or the internet, how much you will spend on each person or item on your list. You may want to add a contingency for unexpected expenses. Once shopping, keep a tally. If you spend more than you planned on one item, cut back on another.
- Walk away. This time of year, it is easy to make impulse purchases – especially in stores with beautiful displays, seasonal music and holiday smells. Whether it’s a great sale or a small trinket at the checkout, those unplanned purchases add up. If you are tempted by something not on your spending plan, hold off on buying it. Give yourself a day or even an hour to think about whether you really want to spend money on that item. If you do, you can always go back.
- Use cash. You can’t spend what you don’t have. If you don’t want to carry cash or are shopping on the internet, consider using gift cards or a pre-paid debit card.
Do you have any tips to share on keeping holiday spending in check?
I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving and a debt-free holiday shopping season!