Have a Plan Before Starting Your Holiday Shopping

[ 0 ] December 4, 2015 |

The 2015 holiday shopping season is well underway, but it’s not too late to consider some money management advice, before you venture out to the mall or on the Web.

“First, try and keep it in perspective, when it comes to shopping,” said Katie Bossler, GreenPath personal finance counselor. “While some people like to get all their shopping done at one time, rushing through it can cost you, especially if you don’t have a game plan.”

Bossler shared a few timely tips to get through this holiday shopping season:

Hitting the mall:Pathways - Dec15

Have a strategy. “Come up with a plan before you walk out the door,” said Bossler. Know who you are buying for, what you want to buy and how much you are willing to spend. So often, we buy things because they are such a good deal, but it really ends up a waste of money. Don’t be tempted to buy more than you need, just because it’s a good deal.

Online Shopping:

Your inbox will be bursting with “TODAY ONLY!” bargains throughout the shopping season.  Internet flash sales can be a great way to get a bargain, but, like shopping at the mall, take time to make a plan and stick to your list.

Many online sales encourage you to buy more than you need. Discounts, or free shipping, often are based on a minimum purchase. This can encourage you to spend way more than you planned and buy more than you need. “Sometimes, it makes sense to pay for the shipping and forgo the discount,” said Bossler. “Don’t buy something just to get free shipping, thinking you’ll gift it to someone. Odds are, it will stay with you.”

But I deserve it!

“There are the sales at every turn, you see stuff you want, and you buy for yourself,” said Bossler. “If you are trying to keep your spending in check, keep the focus on your list. Remember, someone is likely shopping for you, too.”

Kids are the reason for the season:

We all want to make sure that the little ones on our list have a good Christmas. But, how often is the box your gift came in their favorite thing? Think back to your childhood Christmas. What made them special? There is much more to making holidays special to kids, besides what you buy them. “How about a special afternoon listening to Christmas music and decorating the Christmas tree, watching holiday movies together or decorating Christmas cookies,” says Bossler. “Making memories can be just as important, as what is under the tree.”

Lastly, in looking at the entire holiday season, separate your budget into smaller sections, making it easier to control your money. “Inside decorations, outside
decorations, sending cards, buying gifts, wrapping gifts, cooking and baking can add up,” said Bossler. “Dedicate a certain amount to each category and stick to it.”

As for some final encouraging advice, Bossler says: “Focus your time on the things you like most. Keep it all in perspective and enjoy the holiday!”

 

Check out GreenPath online.

 

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