Wednesday, December 18, 2019

8 Tips to Prevent Impulsive Buying this Holiday Season

Wazzup Pilipinas!

The holiday season is fast approaching. Sales are popping up left and right, gatherings abound, and parties all around. Your schedule’s packed for the next couple of weeks, and before you know it, you’re already in the new year wondering where all the time and money went.

Certainly, Christmas is a joyous occasion. Giving in to a little indulgence is inevitable—of course, after a year of hard work, you deserve a treat! But because everyone knows the unpleasant experience of finding a bank statement the next month all too well, as a precaution, it could help to be just a little more mindful of what you splurge on for just a couple of weeks.

Here are some handy tips to help you steer clear of impulse buys this holiday season so that you can save yourself from the rush, traffic, and unwanted debt.

1. Make a list; check it twice.

Prioritize and do as Santa would—make a list! If you’re trying to get ahead of the holiday rush, narrow down what there is to purchase. This keeps you in check to avoid spending unnecessarily.

It helps to ask questions such as:

  • What are the things you need to buy?
  • Are they absolute necessities for the season or are they things you could maybe do without?
  • What about gifts, who are you buying for?
  • Are there alternative items I can get?

A pro tip for the holiday shopping list: organize your list in a way that works for you. For example, you can separate the gift list from the necessities list so that you can focus on one set at a time. You might also want to group the items by where you’ll be buying them.

2. Set a budget with the intention of sticking to it.

Be realistic about the number you set so that it’s not too low that you know you aren’t going to be overspending. Make sure it isn’t so high too so that there’s money left to save yourself from accumulating debt. It’s important to manage expectations to keep from shelling out way more than what you should.

Also, consider how much you can afford to spend, taking into account your monthly dues and personal savings. The best approach to setting a budget is to round off what you’ll be spending. Whether you’re just out to have a good time or go ahead with your holiday shopping, give yourself a ceiling price for what you pay.

Canvas first, don’t buy right away.

Maybe you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone special. Perhaps you’re in the mood to splurge on a treat for yourself. Whichever it is, if you’ve found the item, don’t sprint for the cashier just yet! If it’s something pricey, you may want to hold off on buying right away.

Chances are, there’s another store—physical or online—that sells it for a lower price. If you know of an online store, you can check on the spot to see if you can get a better deal.

Spend in cash; leave the card behind.

While it can be a little scary to carry around a big amount of money for what you’ll be buying for the holidays, it’s much easier to be mindful of what you spend and how you spend it if you have it on-hand as cash.

You’ll see your cash visually depleting, and you’ll be forced to make wiser decisions when choosing what to purchase. This also significantly minimizes the likelihood of you making any big purchases that you won’t want to see in your next bank statement.

Unsubscribe from retail newsletters.

Malls and restaurants aren’t your only temptation. Online shopping is bigger than ever and way more convenient than braving the holiday traffic. It may only take a short message telling you that an online store is going on sale to break you. Avoid seeing the promos by unsubscribing from email newsletters. Out of sight out of mind, right?

Make some healthier food choices.

Let’s be real: the holiday season is notorious for all the group get-togethers, spontaneous nights out, and family reunions that pretty much mean eating out or drinking. Take every chance you can get to eat healthy and on a budget.

Save what you can by doing a couple of meal preps for your workdays. Not only will you be cutting out additional expense on your lunches, but you’ll also be cutting out excess carbs so you can fully enjoy your Christmas parties.

Don’t let fancy phrasing and holiday deals fool you.

Think twice about an item that’s put on sale or a “Christmas pack” that’s only offered during the holiday season. It could just as easily be the same price or marked down by a tiny fraction of the full price. Don’t hesitate to be clear with the salespeople, asking questions like “What’s the exact amount I’ll be saving?” or “How much am I spending for the final price?”

A pro tip is to compute your savings and compare it to the original price. Ask yourself if the product is really worth buying. Could you be spending that same amount of money on something more meaningful like catching up with friends you haven’t seen in ages or a non-holiday expense that’s equally important? Bank on the experiences rather than just material things.

Keep a contingency fund.

It’s always better safe than sorry! Yes, you’ve set a budget and are hellbent on sticking to it. But what about emergencies, like forgetting to get someone important a present or needing more supplies for the Christmas party you’re hosting in a few hours?

Set aside a right amount of money that can cover emergency cases like that, but make sure to keep it in a place you can’t easily reach so you won’t be tempted to use it on an impulse buy.

Christmas is indeed the most wonderful time of the year. From holiday shopping and parties to nostalgic get-togethers and family reunions, it’s inevitable to spend a little more than necessary. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just remember to be mindful of these tips and what you splurge on with a budget to keep yourself happy and on track this season!

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