Red and green decked out are all the stores as the shopping seasons races upon us. The retailers are hoping for an increase in sales, but those hopes may be far-fetched because many consumers are cash-strapped and don’t want to incur more debt during the holidays. If you are determined to escape the cycle of holiday overspending, follow these steps to help you achieve your goal.
1. Make a budget: Make a list of the people you need to purchase gifts for during the holidays and keep track of how much you would like to spend towards each person. Keep track of how much you have spent and re-evaluate your list along the way.
2. Hold a family meeting: Discuss holiday shopping plans with your family and try to voice your concerns. Don’t use gifts to compensate for working-parent guilt or to compete for blended family affections. Try to explain to children that even though little Johnny might be getting a Xbox 360, it is not in the plan or budget for us.
3. Buy for meaning; not amount: Create a positive impression of love and caring during the holidays, so they remember that instead of what gifts they received. Volunteering work or having family time creating holiday cards for each of your family members can create lasting memories for your loved ones that doesn’t necessarily come from the store.
4. Find a happy saying: Remember a mantra during the holidays that can avoid triggers that causes overspending. Some old says like “It’s the thought that counts.” Or “The holidays are about caring, not spending.” Or make a personal one involving your upcoming event that your family would love to go too like a vacation or family wedding.
5. Be ad aware: Stay away from places and activities that are organized around shopping and spending money. Spending time at the mall can led to temptation to overspend. Substitute other activities in its place, like trip to a park instead of the mall or online movie services to watch movies as a family instead of going out.
6. Don’t spend to save: Spend your budget on being with your loved ones, rather than buying gifts for them. Watch out for savings that control to how much you spend. If you were not originally going to spend the same amount, do not be tempted to spend more to get an extra five dollars in savings.