You don’t have to spend a lot of time in the mall to realize the frenzy people tend to fall into when seeking out the ‘perfect gift’ for everyone on their list. Unfortunately, many people become so caught up in the madness of gift-buying they give absolutely no consideration to what they are buying or how much they are spending – at least not until they go home and face a pile of receipts – and a future of debts.
Consider the five tips to stop buyer’s remorse and keep yourself out of debt…
- Start Early
One primary reason people get hit with buyer’s remorse is because they procrastinate every year, leaving all of the shopping until the last minute. Face it – when you are tired and frustrated, you do not tend to care too much about anything but getting back home. You’ll grab anything off the shelf (or put anything into that online cart) without much consideration of the price or for the merchandise you have selected. Not only do you end up regretting the careless spending because of the rush, your gift recipient may end up disappointed with your obvious lack of thought put into the gift.
- Commit to a Spending Limit
Every personal finance expert stresses the importance of a budget. The holidays are no exception. Rather than think of your shopping as a chance to go on a spending spree, you need to commit to a spending limit before you head to the mall. According to your regular household budget, you should be able to determine the limit you have to set for gift-buying. If the total amount you can allocate to your shopping is less than you hoped, you need to face the reality and make do with what you have. Cut down on your gift list or sacrifice in other areas but don’t consider overspending just to please other people. Debt and overdrafts are not what you need.
- Shop at Home First
Keep out of the shops until you know what you want. The majority of gifts you need to buy should be researched online and through local sales fliers before you start spending a dime. With the many technologies available, there is no excuse to not do price comparisons and coupon-finding before shopping. Create a list of what you need, where it can be found, and how much it is. Take the list with you on each shopping trip so you have a specific mission rather than wasting your days wandering aimlessly through the aisles. Your research and list can help you resist impulse buys and careless spending. It’s a lot like creating a list before going grocery shopping- if you have a plan you’re more likely to stick to it and spend less!
- Avoid Consumer Madness
If you’ve done your homework, you don’t need to hit the malls during the busiest times (like ahem, Black Friday) to get all the best deals. Don’t get caught in the trap of overspending just because you see the word ‘sale’. Skip the consumer madness and save yourself a lot of cash and stress.
- Start Planning for Next Year Now
As soon as you wrap up your last gift of the year, you should be making plan for the following year. A good place to start is buying opening a Christmas Club account so you have 12 months of saving time. Get into the habit of scanning sales throughout the year so you can pick up gifts over an extended period of time rather than all at once.
Luckily the holidays happen at the same time each year so take a more financially-savvy approach and get a jump on your holidays shopping throughout the entire year so you don’t find yourself in a tailspin during the last few weeks.
How are you avoiding buyer’s remorse and having a guilt-free season?
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