Monday, November 19, 2012

Avoid a Holiday Shopping "Hangover"

You know that sick feeling you get when you spend too much money? It might happen after you take your purchases home and start to think about them, or it might not happen until you see your credit card statement.

That feeling can be summed up as the I can't believe I spent this much on holiday gifts and how will I ever pay for this! feeling.

Some of us call it a shopping hangover. Sure...the shopping was fun. Music was playing in the stores. You might have been shopping with your friends. Everything was on you didn't spend that much...or did you?

Plan Ahead

This year, plan ahead. You can still be generous...but you'll also stay within your budget. These steps can help you:

1. Determine how much you can spend this holiday season. Think about any gifts that you want to buy for your family and friends, any cards you might buy, and the extras such as wrapping paper.

2. Using that total, draft a detailed budget before you start shopping. The budget should include a line item for each expense that you used to make up your total budgeted amount.

3. Get creative to reduce costs. If you’re creative, perhaps you can make gifts (and even some decorations) rather than buying them.

4. Resist temptation. As good as it feels to be generous, fight the impulse to overspend, even if it looks like the best deal ever.

5. Be flexible. Despite all your best intentions, you may end up spending more than you planned on an item. Rather than wallowing in guilt, find places in your budget to cut to offset the splurge. Check out our previous post for tips.

6. Use cash instead of plastic whenever possible. With cash, you can’t spend what you don’t have.

What About You?

Do you make a budget for your holiday spending? Let us know.

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