Your Holiday Shopping Guide: Try These 4 Steps
It’s November so that means we’ve officially entered the holiday season. You know what that means? Shopping on top of shopping on top of spending money. The amount of sales increases, stores are staying open late, and people begin to fill the shopping centers. Most are either looking for the perfect gift, trying to catch as many deals as possible, or doing a combination of both.
Although it’s the season of giving, it’s also the season of spending. This means maxing out credit cards, applying for personal loans to use for shopping, and spending most of everything in your bank account. Once the holiday season is over many are left in debt and behind on bills. It’s the season of giving, but it doesn’t have to be the season of debt. It’s time to do better with your finances; learn to spend reasonably versus beyond your budget.
It’s hard to tell yourself no when you’re itching to swipe that card, rock a new pair of shoes, or to see a smile come across someone’s face when they finally see your gift; but having a little self-control will never steer you wrong.
Here are four tips to get you through this holiday season:
Set a REALISTIC budget, and stick to it. Before you begin shopping, go over your finances to see how much you can afford to spend. Keep this number in mind as you go out into the stores and are tempted with sales going on everywhere. A realistic budget is one in which you’re honest with yourself about your finances. You should plan thoroughly and accurately, along with some extra cushion room.
Be mindful and track your spending. Once you’ve set a budget, keep up with all your receipts and the amount you’ve spent. You should always be consciously aware of the amount you’ve spent and how much you have left.
Don’t overextend yourself, know what you can and can’t do. If it’s just not possible at this time then so be it. Be okay with knowing you did what you could do. Don’t compare yourself to others either. This is about you and your own spending, not someone else and what they’re doing.
Think beyond the holidays. After the season has passed, what then? How do you plan to pay back anything you used on credit? How long will it take you to get your savings back up? Think about your bills, are you caught up or behind? Will you need to make any payment arrangements? Whatever it is you’ve spent, was it worth it?
Don’t think I’m encouraging you to not give this holiday season. By all means indulge in the moment, give your children the best Christmas possible. Give to others and show different acts of selflessness, just do so responsibly. Don’t put your own finances in jeopardy trying to keep up with others and what you think you “should” be doing.