The most wonderful time of the year is upon us; however, I believe this is also the time during which we waste the most money and are at risk for the most debt.
Please be reminded that the holidays only last for a fleeting moment on the yearly calendar. Once the holiday time passes, life moves forward. Please do not allow yourself to get burdened with credit card debt and stress because you overspent during the holiday season.
Here are a few of my suggestions for holiday shopping that won’t break the bank:
Establish a clear budget.
As a business coach and finance expert, I advise setting a clear and reasonable budget for the holidays. When you set a budget, you are empowered not to break the bank; this will set the parameters for what you spend over the holidays.
Budgeting is writing out clear money goals to enable you to assess the true state of your finances. Nobody understands your finances like you. Be realistic and do not break the bank, no matter what.
According to the National Retail Federation, sales during November and December will increase 4.1 percent to $619.9 billion. This number is up from 2013’s 3.1 percent. Shoppers are planning to spend more; however, I advise you to plan how much you will spend.
Do your research.
I believe that an informed shopper is an empowered shopper. While many are excited about the Black Friday sales, make sure you have done your homework by doing comparison shopping.
You would be amazed to learn that many items for which people stand in line are still greatly overpriced. Also, many items will be available at a much better price on Cyber Monday, which follows Black Friday.
One of the quickest ways to catch buyer's remorse is to spend compulsively. There’s nothing worse than making a purchase only to learn days later that you did not get the best deal. Patience is the best way to get the best price. Be sensitive to price and budget as you shop.
Hold yourself accountable.
Financial empowerment begins with financial accountability.
If you know you are an emotional and compulsive shopper, get money accountability partners in your life. Make sure to ask someone whom you trust and with whom you do not mind sharing personal financial data. Check in with this person regularly as you holiday shop to stay accountable for your spending.
When you are tempted to go over budget, give your accountability partner a call. You will be amazed at what support and accountability can do for you.
Remember the real reason for the season.
While we all love receiving great gifts, let’s not forget what the holidays are truly about. This is a time for families to come together and to reflect on the many blessings in all of our lives. The holidays present an opportunity for us to focus on the more simple things in life: health, love and the support of amazing friends and family.
Do not get so mesmerized with the commercialization of the holidays that you forget it supposed to be about the people you love. Gifts will be remembered for a moment; however, the love you feel from your family will last a lifetime.
Do not get yourself into debt this year. Refuse to turn into one of those out-of-control holiday shoppers. Set a budget and stick to it. Maintain perspective this holiday season.