Holiday Shopping Tips
Posted By Haley
The holiday season seems to entice us into overindulgence. Eating too much turkey or drinking too much spiced cider is one thing. Using your credit cards to purchase too many gifts is another.
With the holiday season upon us now and the "sales" dangled over our wallets to spend more than we can afford, some self discipline can help guide the way.
Limiting holiday credit card purchases.
- Credit cards give us a false impression that you we can buy more gifts than you actually can afford.
- Gifts you purchase on credit cards will end up costing you more. If you add up all the finance charges in the end you'll ultimately pay more for your gifts if you'd used cash. You're once 50% discount on those shoes your brother needed is now gone and eaten up by finance charges.
- Once the season is over there may be unexpected expenses that you did not plan for, thus lengthening your credit card debt.
Avoiding Holiday Debt
As soon as you've made the choice to keep your credit card purchases within a sensible limit, here are some tips for implementing your choices:
- Save up. Spending cash instead of using credit for your holiday purchases allows you to avoid holiday debt all together. If you haven't started saving start now, put aside a little each paycheck and use that to finance your holiday purchases.
- Set a budget. Setting a spending limit and sticking to it will help to keep you from overspending. Be disciplined and don't go over your budget, no matter what.
- Make a list. If Santa himself makes a list and checks it twice, why can't you? Even though you might feel compelled to overindulge on everyone in your life, you don't have to. Your friends and family appreciate simple and meaningful over luxurious and useless.
- Use layaway. Layaway vanished for a small number of years, but a lot of big retailers, like Kmart and Wal-Mart, are bringing it back for the holiday season. Starting early means you can put a little toward your holiday purchases each month. In the end, you will walk away free and clear of debt.
- Ignore "big" sales. More often than not, they're not really sales at all. Those "Buy 1, Get 1 Half Off" deals only mislead you into purchasing more than you would otherwise. Remember, stick to your list.
- Shop online first and know your retailers. The internet makes it easy to shop around. It also makes it harder to buy impulse purchases. Price shop amongst retailers for the best prices, PriceGrabber.com and Retailmeknot.com are great sites for comparing prices and for coupon/promotional codes. Look for those coupons codes that stack to save extra and for free shipping.
- If you can't afford it don't' buy it. When you purchase items using credit, you're barrowing against your income. You are the only one who knows your finances better than anyone. Only charge what you can afford and you'll avoid paying on your holiday debt until the next holiday season.
By sticking to a few straightforward spending principles, you can keep your holiday spending to a minimum and stay away from paying for holiday gifts 2 and 3 times over.
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