The shiny decorations, the pretty lights, the wonderful smells, the bustle of shoppers, the increase in commercials, and the demanding kids all combine at Christmas to raise the risk of impulse buying.
Many debt services report that the number of phone calls they get for help really drops off in December, as people put aside the idea of debt and just go ahead and spend. Of course, the calls in January are another story. These agencies often see their highest traffic then, as people find themselves in debt crisis.
Don’t let this happen to you. Control your impulse buying at Christmas with the following three strategies.
Stick with a List
Create a list of what you need to buy and stick with it. Include costs. For example: Aunt Joanna, scented candle, $10-15; Baby Tommy, soft toys, $20-25. If you happen to get a great bargain, note it on your list, but think twice about spending that savings right away.
Understand the True Worth of Presents
Why do we give presents at Christmas? Realize that just because you didn’t spend $130 on the latest Barbie dream house or $500 on an iPad does not mean that you are a bad parent or love your kids or your spouse any less. People, especially kids, mostly want time with you. In fact, that is what a recent survey suggests. Given the choice between the latest toy and quality time with mom or dad doing something fun, the kids overwhelming chose the later.
Do a Reality Check on Your Stuff
Studies show that if you go grocery shopping after a big meal, you will spend less at the store. The same can be applied in other areas as well. If you first get all of your boxes of ornaments out and sort through them, you will be less likely to buy new ones on impulse. Go through and organize your kids closets, and you will realize that your daughter already has enough cute boots to wear.