How can you stay financially healthy during the holiday season? Have mercy on your wallet and approach Christmas shopping with a strategy.
We’re now right in the thick of the holiday season, and if you’re anything like me, you might be a tiny bit worried about how your wallet is going to recover from Christmas shopping.
There’s just something about the festive music and twinkling lights that makes us want to fork over our hard-earned cash left and right. But if you don’t want to be left with empty bank accounts and horrifying credit card bills, then you have to approach Christmas shopping with a game plan.
How to plan for christmas shopping: Avoid overspending!
Here are a few things you should do to keep your spending in control.
1. When setting your budget, think beyond gifts
One common mistake that people make when setting their Christmas budgets is failing to account for the additional spending on groceries, socials, travel (if you don’t live near your family), and so forth.
The earlier you set your budget, the better you can prepare for the extra spending. But if you’ve gone this far without drawing up a budget, there’s no better time than now.
2. Make a deal with your family and friends
Chances are, most people you know will be grateful to be relieved of the pressure to spend. Maybe you can make an agreement with your family that you’ll only be giving gifts to kids. Maybe you can set a price ceiling for gifts. You could draw names and do a Secret Santa with your friends instead of giving everyone a present.
3. Use cash, not credit
Using a credit card makes it so much easier to lose track of how much you’re spending. Instead, use a set amount of cash. Once it runs out, that’s your cue to stop shopping.
4. Choose the right savings account to dip into
And if you have to go into your savings, be strategic. Choose an account that pays the least interest and make sure that you don’t go below the minimum daily balance.
5. Take your time and shop around online
I get it—shopping around Christmas this time of the year isn’t fun. When confronted with the crowds, the loud music, and the traffic, we’re more likely to make impulse buys just to get everything over and done with.
But this is one easy way to spend more than you should. Instead, try shopping online. Not only will you end up avoiding the headaches that come with holiday shopping at the mall, you’ll also be able to compare prices and get the best deals.
6. Stalk social media accounts
A lot of brands like to reward loyalty, and if you follow your favourite brands on social media, you can easily stay updated on sales, discounts, and exclusive coupon codes. Subscribe to newsletters. Download their official apps. No matter how small the discount, every last penny helps keep that post-holiday financial hangover at bay.