7 Tips to Stop Overspending
You’re determined to stick to a gift budget this year – yeah, right! Or maybe you’re a shopaholic who goes weak at the sight of a SALE sign. Or you realize the year’s almost over and feel pent-up generosity. If you want to get serious about sticking to a budget and avoid a holiday spending hangover, there are seven ways to take control.
Ditch the Plastic
Many consumer studies show people spend more with credit and gift cards than they do with cash. It’s way too easy to fall in the “spend now, pay later” mindset. Leave the plastic at home to stop overspending during the holidays and other gift-buying occasions.
Shop with Big Bills
A University of Maryland study shows that people given a $100 bill spent less than people given five $20 bills. However, this Jedi Mind Trick fizzles once that big bill is broken. Quick, on to Tip #3!
Shop with a Buddy
An accountability partner works as well in the stores as at the gym. Pair up with one of two types of people: someone who will really be tough with you, or someone who needs to rein in spending as much as you.This is especially helpful for single parents on a budget.
Shop Cheap First
Create a list and shop for the best prices using a comparison tool like PriceJump. Force yourself to check out an online store’s Clearance tab first. Shop via a coupon website to save extra. Use it as a portal.
Hit the Thrift Stores
The holidays are a great time of year to shop thrift and consignment stores. People are unloading their old or unused stuff in anticipation of new purchases. If you’re heading to the mall, swing by that second-hand shop first. You might find new, in-the-box items.
Keep Your Goals in Focus
Tack visual reminders of past excesses or financial goals on your fridge, a mirror or the front door. Saving for your kid’s college? Write a note with a photo. Want to save for a vacation? Put up a colorful picture. Already in debt? Putsome reminder of it where you can see it.
Get a Support Group
It’s all too easy to make light of the “shop ’til you drop” stereotype, but for 6% of people, shopping addiction is a serious problem. There are people who understand. Check out an online support group like Shopaholics Anonymous.
For most people who tend to go just a little overboard during the biggest shopping season of the year, the fixes are simpler. Focus on the spirit, the traditions, the togetherness of the month. And avoid temptation by putting some safeguards into place.