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Buy Now, Cry Later: 5 Ways to Keep Your Holiday Budget in Check Thumbnail

Buy Now, Cry Later: 5 Ways to Keep Your Holiday Budget in Check

Holidays looking a little different this year? If you’re having a smaller family gathering, or none at all, you might feel compelled to show your loved ones how much you really care by spending more on gifts.

With major retailers rolling out their holiday deals earlier this year, chances are, impulse buying is at an all-time high. 

From retail therapy highs and bargains too good to pass up, we all might be in search of an extra dose of holiday cheer this year. Instead of nursing that holiday hangover come January 1st and reflecting on the guilt of money spent and budgets blown, read below for 5 tips to keep your holiday budget in check. 

  1. Plan your Trip:

    Before you get in your car, make sure to set your intention on what you’re buying. Making a list will keep you grounded when you go shopping, so take a little extra time to create one. Online shopping? Same rules apply. Make a list and stick to it.
  1. Take a beat: 

    Did you know that “shopping therapy” gives us a dopamine burst in our brains, similar to the rush from drinking or gambling? Our brains are chemically wired to feel pleasure when we anticipate a reward. In addition to planning out your shopping trip, make sure to do an emotional scan before you head out.  Are you feeling solid and strong, or do you feel impulsive and weak?  You shouldn’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry, so don’t go shopping if you’re feeling blue.
  1. Keep your goals in mind: 

    The number one common trait of millionaires is that they pay themselves first. If you can divert 20% of your income each month to an account that is difficult to access (such as a retirement plan), chances are you won’t spend it. Remember that impulse spending is the enemy of your financial goals, and try to reframe this saving “sacrifice” as an “opportunity”. Savvy saving gives you the opportunity to use your money in a better way. It’s up to you to seize that opportunity, but it’s much easier to take control of your money when you can see how it will benefit you in the long run. 
  1. Know thyself: 

    Bottom line, no one is going to police your spending but you. Whether you decide to use a budget, shop with cash, or use another spending strategy, make sure you make a plan and stick to it.   
  1. Splurge Strategically:

    Not all spending is bad! Give yourself permission to spend – just within budget. 

Retail companies drill into us this time of year the message that the more you spend, the more you love. However, I encourage you to reject the idea that purchasing a product will make you happier, better respected, or more complete. In doing so, you’ll not only keep more money but also be a smarter consumer and possibly a happier person.