Tis’ the season to be jolly, unless it pertains to holiday shopping! One in two people are making a list and checking it twice as consumers worry about their managing their holiday budget. In a recent survey, more than 1/3 Americans plan to spend less this season than in previous years. With unemployment at 10.5%, the highest rate of all time, seventy-five percent of consumers will purchase fewer gifts, 60 percent will spend less, and 30 percent will start shopping sooner. Each year, most of us spend above and beyond our budget, which leaves us with a less than desirable bank account entering into the New Year. So with the changes in the economy, how can we watch our spending without losing the holiday cheer?
Bob Brooks, host of the Prudent Money Radio Show and author of the new book Deceptive Money suggests avoiding the “credit trap” and not make it worse by racking up thousands more on credit cards during the holidays. Brooks recommends putting money away ahead of time for holiday purchases, allocating a certain amount for each person and don’t exceed your total budget.
We all fall for ads this time of year—but Brooks sates “Don’t fall for the marketing campaigns (i.e. buy it today – worry about it tomorrow). Shop around and look online first since the same items can be priced differently at various stores as well as the special internet prices offered by many big-name stores. Don’t forget to stock up on wrapping paper and cards for next year immediately after the holidays when stores offer deep discounts.
Financial psychology experts and authors of the international best-seller, The ABCs of Making Money, Denis Cauvier, Ph.D, and Alan Lysaght knows that sometimes we find ourselves paying off last season’s bills just in time to spend more during the new season but with a little planning, you can reduce or eliminate holiday debt. A key factor when shopping smartly, take out that amount of cash and leave your credit and ATM cards at home–it will prevent you from buying something for yourself!
Playing host this year? Entrepreneur and Business coach, Donna L. Johnson says skip the elaborate, high-priced meals and serve up serve up inexpensive comfort foods that will fill you up without breaking your budget. Also, scale back on the specialty items, keep it simple and buy decor that can be used for more than one season/holiday.
Enjoy the upcoming holidays with family and friends and hopefully we can all get through the season a bit unscathed. How have you adjusted your finances for the holidays? What shopping strategies have been successful? Do you all feel pressure to spend during this season?