Why Smart Shopping Strategies Can Ruin Your Holiday Budget

online holiday shoppingIt is usually the early bird that gets the worm, but when it comes to holiday shopping, the early bird may also get the bigger bills. People who shop the sales may also spend more than those who plan on buying items at full price. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But according to the American Research Group studying holiday spending, the average family who shopped early spent 14 percent more on gifts on average, and those who shopped the sales spent a whopping 53 percent more on average. what about online Yikes.

Want another strange statistic? Those of us who plan on shopping online this holiday season may also have to be prepared to spend 11 percent more than shoppers who actually make it into the brick and mortar stores.

Why? Why? Why?

Okay, let’s figure out why these smart shopping strategies may be back firing. It seems to all be a matter of psychology. All of these smart shopping strategies don’t just give you an opportunity to save more, but also to spend more.

When you shop early, you may have more time to pick up extra gifts, or you may forget what you purchased and buy more. When you shop the sales, you may be purchasing more items, because you are getting good deals. This means that you may be winding up with more gifts and getting more for your money, of course, but you are also spending more money overall. You’ll wind up with bigger bills.

This is why combining those smart shopping strategies with an overall solid budget gives you the best of both worlds: bargain bottom prices on all of your holiday needs, combined with a lot of money left over. Figure out how much you should be spending, and then stick to it.

Is It Too Late for Your Budget?

If you did shop early and take advantage of Black Friday and other holiday sales either in the store, don’t worry. You still have time to evaluate your spending and make some changes to shave off the excess. The same goes for you if you shopped online or took advantage of one too many sales.

First, check your purchases to see if there have been any price changes. Most stores, including those online will honor changes in price within 30 days. So, if you spot any items that have been reduced, which is likely the closer to Christmas you get, take advantage of the store policies to get a refund.

Next, evaluate all of your purchases. Are you happy with all of the gifts that you bought? Did you actually use the decorations? Have your wound up with too many toys for the kids? There might be purchases that could be returned to bring you back on track with your budget. It will be much easier to return things now before the after Christmas rush, and you’ll end the year with a healthier bank account.