The holiday season is fast approaching, and while it’s always a great time to enjoy the company of family and friends, it’s also easy to overspend.
The National Retail Federation projects the US to spend between 678 billion and 682 billion during November and December.
Yes, billion with a B.
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with spending money on gifts and experiences this holiday season, we wanted to share a quick guide to help you cut back on your spending while still making the most of the holiday spirit.
Remember Overspending Means Stress
With companies spending hundreds of million of dollars on marketing, it’s easy to convince yourself you need to buy the latest phone, designer clothes, or gift that will often just collect dust on a shelf.
Getting the latest gadget or favorite gift item might make you happy in the short term, but the stress caused by financial hardship almost always comes back to haunt you.
Before you ring up a $1k tab on Amazon, take a moment to remind yourself that the costs of your actions today will be felt for many months to come.
If you still feel the need to purchase it after a few days, make the decision guilt free.
Personalized Gifts When Possible
One of the easiest ways to cut back on holiday spending is by putting together personalized gifts for family and friends.
Not only will these gifts be more meaningful to those on the receiving end, but they will also be significantly less costly.
Instead of buying the latest TV, put together a photo album.
Instead of buying the latest designer clothes, take a peak on Etsy for a more customized gift.
Spend a few hours putting together a thoughtful gift, and your wallet will thank you.
Go Shopping With A Plan
One of the reasons so many people throw their budget out of the window during the holiday season is they go shopping without a plan.
Before you go to the mall or start browsing Amazon, have a clear idea of what you’re looking for.
Sure, there might be something that pops up that makes the perfect gift every now and then, but the bulk of your holiday purchases should be conscious, not last second impulse buys.
Spend on Experiences Not Items
Chances are you have a ton of gifts in your closet you never used, and that goes for the people you gave gifts to as well.
When possible, try to purchase experiences both for yourself and others. Not only will these be more enjoyable and memorable in the long run, but you can also significantly cut back on your “random item” gifts that very likely won’t be remembered just months from now.
Unsubscribe from company emails
As we’ve said time and time again, your willpower isn’t unlimited. In fact, each day you have a finite amount. Being exposed to your favorite brands and companies emails is only setting yourself up to make an in-the-moment purchase.
If you absolutely must stay subscribed to your favorite places to shop, make sure your emails go straight to a specific email label and only stop in to check once every couple weeks.
Put Away The Credit Cards
A good rule of thumb is to only purchase holiday gifts with cash on hand. While credit cards have their place for financially healthy individuals, using them to buy the latest and greatest will end up costing you down the road.
If you need help cutting back on your credit card spending be sure to check out our free guide here.
If you do decide to purchase a more expensive gift or item, spend a few moments looking for coupons online. Just 5-10 minutes can end up saving you hundreds of dollars over the course of the holidays. There are several fantastic coupon apps such as “Honey” on Chrome and other browsers that automatically find you discounts you might not have otherwise seen.
Keep a holiday spending budget
We aren’t suggesting you become scrooge with your holiday spending, but taking a few moments to allocate a certain amount of money into holiday spending will help keep you on track.
List out the gifts you’re hoping to buy, and for whom, and stick to the budget and plan as best you can.
Last and not least, the best way to cut back on your holiday spending is to become aware of your shopping habits.
Do you browse Amazon while you eat lunch at your desk? Does the thought of seeing your extended family make you feel like you need to buy the best gifts?
Over the course of the holiday season, make a note of every time you feel urged to shop and spend money. Many Pavlok users, for example, zap themselves anytime they are about to make an impulse purchase.
Enjoy The Holidays!
The holidays are a great time to be with your family and friends and share meaningful gifts with those you love.
This guide isn’t about NOT spending money; it’s about being conscious about when you choose to do so.
No gift is worth the stress of paying it off many months down the road. With a little bit of planning and a clear game plan, you can enjoy the holidays without going overboard.
Of course, if you want to give the gift of habit change for life, consider getting your family or friends a Pavlok 2.
Only if it fits into your holiday spending plan of course. 😉