5 Ways To Curb Holiday Spending Without Being A Scrooge

2017-11-24   minute read

Leah Drewcock

Lifestyle Debt

A stack of gift boxes

1. Let your fingers do the walking and your budget do the talking

Shop around from the comfort of your own home before you make that trip to the store to make your purchase. Before you commit to making a purchase, try comparison shopping by watching the flyers, searching on-line and phoning local retailers.

Once you find the best price on the product you want to purchase, consider whether there is a retailer closer to home that offers a price match. Many retailers offer the same products for different prices. If you can get the same product closer to home rather than driving across town, it’s worth taking the time to research your purchases first.

Many on-line retailers offer free shipping. Whenever possible and affordable, I recommend buying local, but if the price is significantly less on-line, including shipping costs, it just makes good financial sense to buy on-line.

Don’t forget the coupons! Before you buy on-line or at a local retailer, check the flyers and on-line coupon sites. A few extra minutes looking for a coupon could result in significant savings.

2. Make a list and shorten it twice

How many people are you giving gifts to this year? Does your list seem to get longer and cost more every year? If you are buying for more than just immediate family and your BFF, it might be time to shorten your list and save some money.

Think about why you are giving to those on your list. If you really want to cut your list down significantly, you can reduce spending by giving a handmade card or baking some cookies for those you’ve crossed off your list this year. Consider giving gifts to children only and cut out the adults from your list. Grownups are often happy to let the tradition of gift giving go because there is so much stress involved with trying to find the right gift that doesn’t break the bank.

3. Spend time, not money

Do you remember every gift that was given to you and by whom last Christmas? I don’t. But I do remember the good times I had with family and the memories we made. Try spending time, not money on your friends and family. Give them the gift of time spent with you rather than an expensive gift that may never be used.

4. It’s not what you saved, it’s what you spent: don’t get caught up in ‘one-day sales’ and ‘specials’

Retailers are paid to get you to part with your hard-earned money. Even better for them if you use the retail store’s credit card to make your purchase and part with your future hard-earned money! One trick to watch out for is when retailers take previously discounted items and put the prices back to full retail before applying the discount for a one-day sale like Black Friday or Boxing Day. The result is often a higher price or similar price to what you would pay during a regular sale or discount.

Remember these tips to save yourself from impulse shopping and getting caught by one-day sales:

  • Research your purchase (see # 1 above).
  • Make a list and stick to it.
  • Leave your credit cards at home and only bring enough cash to cover the cost of your planned purchase.
  • If you see something you really want and don’t have the cash to pay for it, go home and sleep on it. If you still want it after sleeping on it then return the next day to buy it. This might not work for a one-day sale, but if it wasn’t on your list you probably didn’t need it.

Remember, you didn’t ‘save’ money if you didn’t put money in the bank. If you are spending just for the sake of getting something on sale, you didn’t save anything.

5. Saying ‘No’ does not make you a Scrooge

The holidays tend to be filled with get togethers, parties and gift exchanges. Not to mention all the charities that are asking for holiday donations. Do you have trouble saying no to every request to donate to a charity or to every invite to dinner or holiday party? If you have been caught in this trap before, you know how quickly you can blow the holiday budget before you even buy your eggnog and shortbread cookies!

If this sounds familiar to you I recommend you learn to say ‘I can’t afford it.’ You would be surprised how people react to this powerful but simple statement. You may worry that you will be judged or that people will assume you haven’t managed your money well. But you aren’t admitting to any financial mismanagement, you are simply saying that it isn’t in the budget at this time. That’s fiscally responsible and most people will understand this and won’t question your response. Say yes to the things you really want to do that fit in your budget.

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