Tis’ the season for overspending. We already covered in previous posts how holiday spending is expected to eclipse a record $1 trillion this season, which is certainly the sign of a strong economy. But just because you’re better off financially this year doesn’t mean that you should overdo it. Doing so could make those credit card bills a little more difficult to pay off, sending you into debt and negatively impacting your credit score. That’s not how you want to start 2019, and unfortunately, about one of four people do go into debt during the holidays.
We already covered tips and tricks to help you save money this holiday season, and in this post we’re going to cover ways on how to avoid overspending. You might be surprised by what you learn. Here’s a look:
Clear Your Cookies
No, we’re not talking about from the cookie jar on your kitchen table, we’re talking about your Internet browsing habits. Chances are you do some sort of online buying or at least online browsing. In Internet lingo, cookies are data sets that are stored when you visit web sites. However, cookies can also be used by brands to target you with specific advertisements based on your browsing and buying preferences. So when you’re scrolling through headlines and see a great deal in the form of a box ad on those clogs you were just checking out, you may be more apt to buy them. Delete your cookies often around the holidays. Technology makes it really easy to overspend.
Pay With Your Debit Card
Research shows that you’re not likely to overspend when you’re only buying what you know you can afford. This isn’t just a great tip for not going into debt during the holidays, but for staying out of debt year-round. It’s pretty easy to go over budget when you have a piece of plastic in your hand that allows you the opportunity to pay it off later.
Stay Off Social Media
Twitter. Facebook. Pinterest. Instagram. Limit your usage. Why? Because research shows that you may be more apt to overspend around the holidays based on peer pressure and/or activities that your friends are sharing. Overspending can be done on more than just gifts, it can be done on activities, trips, decorations or other special holiday events. And you’re likely to get the ideas for these activities, trips, decorations and other events from seeing it shared by your online friends.
Be Skeptical of Sales
It seems like every store has a “sale” or some sort of promotion this time of year. But just how good of a sale is it really? This is a common tactic this time of year to motivate consumers to buy – mark lots of items as on sale, even if it’s only a marginal savings compared to the actual retail price (or even if it’s no sale at all). When consumers see the word “sale,” the brain is inclined to think that there’s a deal to be had. In reality, you may not be saving anything at all – just buying more.
Shop Alone (or With Like-Minded People)
It’s common for friends to hit the mall together and knock out their holiday shopping in one day. But if your friends aren’t similar from a spending and/or lifestyle perspective, then this could be trouble – and we’re not talking about in gift buying, we’re talking about secondary spending. You know, the friends that want to stop for lunch at that expensive restaurant when you’re done. Or the ones that want to grab coffee, then take part in a “retail therapy” session where they treat themselves to a spa day or pedicure after it’s all said and done. It all adds up, one way or another. We’d suggest knocking your shopping off by yourself or going with like-minded friends this year to avoid overspending on those “little” extras that might come.
Don’t go into debt this holiday shopping season. Be smart and avoid overspending. Even in a booming economy that’s expected to give way to a record-breaking holiday spending season, you don’t want to fall behind come 2019.