Christmas. The very word invokes outright fear in many impulsive shoppers. If you’re prone to smoking the credit cards or breaking the budget during the last few weeks of December, knowing a few tips on how to curb those urges can help you get through to the New Year with your dignity and your wallet intact.
Tips for Avoiding Impulsive Christmas Spending
- Understand why you buy. For the majority of non-necessity purchases, most consumers make the decision to buy based on emotion. The product evokes a positive feeling that compels them to open their wallets. The hope of being more attractive, fit, desirable, like a doll that looks like your favorite one from your childhood, a popcorn tin emblazoned with your favorite sports team’s logo, an LCD TV bigger than your next door neighbor’s, you get the idea. Stopping to examine the why behind the buy can help you determine if it’s a wise purchase.
- Don’t shop hungry- ever. Even if your blood sugar is slightly below normal, your judgment may be impaired. You may be cranky, emotional, and more impulsive. Eat a balanced meal before leaving the house and carry water and healthy snacks on all shopping trips.
- If you tend to be easily swayed by the opinion of others (such as your children) shop alone. Conversely, if you have little personal willpower when it comes to overspending, take along an accountability partner and discuss your spending limits before leaving home.
- Use a prepaid credit card. If you know you’re prone to overspending, determine your budget and put cash on a prepaid debit card earmarked for gift purchases. Leave your other cards at home (especially the 0% balance transfer credit card) and take only your Driver’s License and enough cash for gas and meals. When the card’s empty, you’re done shopping.
- Shop online. Some consumers do better shopping online. Using a prepaid credit card or a PayPal account, you can safely do most holiday shopping online. This allows you to thoroughly research products at your leisure without the pressure of other hurried shoppers or that pesky salesperson. You also have the ability to examine your shopping cart extensively and remove any unwise or extraneous purchases without embarrassment. If you’re a hands-on kind of shopper, you can still visit the stores to punch all the buttons and feel the stitching, but return home to make your final decision without duress. (Aside: If you are shopping online, remember to use online coupon sites such…