The holiday season is all about festivities and celebrations. From the Thanksgiving day parade to decorating Christmas trees or lighting candles, there’s little not to love about this season.
But for many people, the best part is having an excuse to shop with reckless abandon. Or, as most people call it: Black Friday.
Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with some enthusiastic holiday shopping. Apart from the many sales and deals that come with the holiday season, there’s a deep sentiment behind holiday gift-giving.
With that said, you can’t deny one thing: Holiday shopping isn’t easy on your wallet. And you’re not alone.
According to Forbes, Americans spend nine times the amount on retail shopping between November and January than they do in any other month. So, if you’re an impulsive shopper, Black Friday and Cyber Monday can launch you into an ill-advised shopping spree.
But there are ways you can overcome this rash spending.
Set a Budget
First thing’s first: you need to give yourself a cutoff point. If you know you can get a little too enthusiastic around Black Friday, you can’t leave anything to chance.
Don’t just come up with a vague figure in your head. Instead, you need to have everything set in stone and not give yourself any wiggle room.
For example, you can set a spending limit per person for gift exchanging. This limit should make sense for your individual financial circumstances. It could be anything from $5, $10, or $20.
Don’t worry; your friends and family won’t think you’re a cheapskate and will respect your decision.
Make a List of Needs and Wants
There’s a huge difference between things that you absolutely need and things that you simply desire.
But with so many Black Friday sales, the lines between the two start to become a little blurry. Before you know it, you’re holding a Hello Kitty toaster and thinking, “I definitely need this.”
Let’s face it, though: your regular toaster works just fine.
Differentiating between these two is the most crucial step to avoid impulse buying. The best way to do this is to work backward; list down all the things you’re thinking about buying.
Make another list with two columns: wants and needs. Then, go through your original list and categorise each item accordingly.
Conduct an Inventory Check
To help with the previous step, you can look around your house and see if you already have some of the things on your list.
As you do an inventory sweep, you’ll be able to cross off a thing or two from your list. Who knows, you might even find renewed value in what you already have.
Or, maybe you’ll be inspired to fix or upscale some of your old belongings. That list will look a lot shorter in no time!
Credit to Cash
The next thing you’ll want to do is switch your payment methods. Sure, credit is so much more efficient and liberating— it’s almost magical.
But that’s just the problem.
According to a survey by Experian, 60% of respondents said that they want to stick to cash this holiday season. When you shop with credit, you’ll always have a way to keep shopping.
But if you’ve set a budget and you withdraw only that amount, you’ll close the door on any possibility of slipping up and overspending.
Track Your Spending
Going cash-only is a good hack, but let’s face it: most of the good deals are online. And you can’t do online shopping with cash.
But you don’t have to miss out. Instead, just track how much you’re spending and stay within your budget. Since it’s easy to lose track of how much you’re actually spending amidst all the sales, you can use a money tracking app. Santa’s Bag is a great app built specifically for holiday spending and gift-giving.
Be Wary of Retail Tricks
Mass production and fast fashion systematically entice you into impulsive shopping. Marketing strategies are based on the fact that your environment and unconscious behavioral traits influence your shopping behavior.
Now, marketers know this and will try to manipulate your shopping environment and get you to buy things you don’t even want, let alone need. They’ll convince you that something is a steal even when it’s really not.
So, don’t fall prey to deceptive marketing strategies. Instead, take them with a grain of salt and figure out if you’re being manipulated.
Shop in Advance
Like, way in advance. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other holiday sales are great. But the sales follow into the post-holiday season as well.
So, why not start your Christmas shopping in, say, January?
Plus, you can make use of sales that happen all year round. This way, you can spare yourself the stress that causes you to spend so recklessly in the first place.
Don’t Spend to Save
You know that moment when you’re ready to click that “checkout” button and see that you’re just $30 bucks short for free delivery? Might as well buy some more things to get that free shipping, right?
Or what about those tempting “buy 2 get 1 free” offers?
This is how retailers get you to spend more money. You might think you’re saving, but you actually end up spending way more than you would have otherwise.
Sometimes, it can be good to reward and treat yourself to something special— kind of like a little present for yourself.
But as Black Friday approaches, you have to learn to draw the line between self-care and excessive spending.
Remember that you have a budget, and if you buy gifts for yourself, then you won’t be able to buy gifts for others. At least, not without going over your spending limit.
Do Your Research
Impulsive shopping involves spontaneous and often ill-advised decisions. But there’s nothing spontaneous about taking a beat to research the products thoroughly.
As you distract yourself from the urge to buy, you might even learn that you don’t want the product after all. Or, you might realise that you need to look at other options. With more time to think, you’ll have a better perspective on that particular purchase.
Remember: it’s not an impulsive purchase if you take your time with it.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday season, in general, can be triggering for impulsive shoppers. It’s easy to get swept up in the sea of sales, discounts, deals, and bargains.
But impulsive shopping is not only heavy on your pocket, but it also increases your carbon footprint and contributes to environmental degradation.
So, let this holiday season be the one where you finally break your unhealthy shopping habits.
For those gifts you really do need to buy the best thing you can do is shop with small businesses and buy sustainable products. Why not check out our gift guide for some ideas: Click Here
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