11 tips to shop smart this holiday season
- The very first thing you should do is set a budget for your shopping expenses, and stick to it!
- Avoid the “throw in the towel” mindset if you go over your budget. It can be a slippery slope if you go over your budget. You might think “I’ve already gone over my budget, what does it matter if I go over a little more?”. This can cause you to dig yourself into a hole that can be very difficult to get out of.
- Don’t think of a credit card as “extra money”, you still have to pay it back. If you aren’t able to pay it off right away, you’ll end up paying a lot of interest.
- Unless you regularly shop somewhere, avoid signing up for the store credit cards because they are often more complicated to pay off and have higher interests rates.
- If you use a credit card, don’t spend more than 30% of your credit limit. Spending above 30% will negatively impact your credit score.
- If you can, pay in cash. Studies have shown that you’re likely to spend less when paying in cash versus using a credit or debit card.
- Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are meant to make you spend money you otherwise wouldn’t have. Regardless of how big the “savings” are, you are still spending money.
- If you have credit card debt, consider taking out a personal loan to pay it off. The interest rates you’ll pay for the loan will be significantly less than the rates on your credit card.
- Don’t let yourself collect too many credit cards. It’s best to have a main card and one to use as a backup in the case of fraud.
- Start budgeting early. If you are able to get a separate saving account, that can be a good way to set aside money throughout the year so that your budget is already set for when the next holiday season comes around. That way, you aren’t trying to figure out how much money you can afford to spend at the last minute.
- Finally, set expectations. Let whoever you’re shopping for know how much you can afford to spend. You don’t have to tell the dollar amounts, but let them know if you’re in a financially tough spot in a given year. That way, you won’t feel the pressure of feeling like you have to spend a certain amount or give them a certain number of gifts.
Holiday shopping can be mentally, physically, and financially stressing, but it doesn’t have to be.
Follow these tips and your shopping season should be a little easier on you and your wallet.