As the holidays approach, we are constantly reminded about the consumer mindset we are forced to have during this time of year. Have you purchased gifts for everyone on your list? Have you prepared all the food, wrapped all the presents, and hung all the decorations? If not, you may feel pressure to do so and to buy more stuff to supplement your already hefty purchases.
Impulse spending can really come to a head during the holiday season. This article will help you avoid that as much as possible by providing some solid tips to avoid impulse buying. If you struggle with impulsively buying things and spending unnecessary money, especially during the holidays, keep reading to find out how to stop!
Why Do We Impulse Shop During the Holidays?
Impulse shopping during the holidays isn’t just a bad habit, and it isn’t entirely your fault. So much is sold to us during the holiday season, and it can practically feel like a competition between who bought the best or most gifts for their families. It might seem incredibly important or pressing to buy things when you see them during the holiday season out of fear they might sell out, but this is only an illusion.
It has never been about who buys the best or most gifts. Yet it benefits major corporations if we believe that and keep spending money on their products. Thinking critically about your purchases is important, but time is often of the essence during holiday shopping; therefore, impulse purchases happen.
What Are The Dangers of Impulse Shopping?
For those who don’t have massive disposable incomes (which is most of us), impulse shopping can be an enormous financial and emotional issue. For one, making impulse purchases means you aren’t actually keeping track of your spending, which can drain your bank account very quickly. Or, if you shop using credit cards, you can rack up some serious debt. Then, you hace to work that much harder to improve your credit score.
On the emotional side, extended periods of impulse buying can mess with our endorphins and lead to a shopping addiction. Allowing yourself just to buy whatever you want all the time isn’t only bad for your wallet–it’s not great for your mental health! Therefore, it’s better to avoid it ahead of time.
How to Curb Impulse Spending
Now that we’ve discussed what impulse spending is, what causes it, and why it can be so dangerous, it’s time to talk about how to curb impulse spending and stop doing it for good. Below are five tips to use when you struggle with impulse spending, especially during the holiday season when you’re hunting for gifts for friends and family. By following these tips, hopefully, you can stop impulse spending and pull yourself out of the hole.
Shop Only When You Have a Plan
One of the most essential tips for avoiding impulse purchases is to shop only when you have a plan. A shopping plan includes having a list of everything you will buy and where you can find it, promising yourself that you won’t shop outside that predetermined list. If you put yourself in a difficult financial situation due to your holiday purchases, you won’t actually be able to enjoy those purchases or time with family and friends. Therefore, it’s encouraged that you closely follow your shopping plan during the holidays.
Stores are literally designed to encourage you to buy things as you walk around and browse. So, if you’re trying to save money, don’t browse around the entire store to get the things you plan to purchase. Instead, only go to the sections with the items you need, and then head directly to the checkout.
Take Someone With You
Having a shopping buddy with similar goals can also help you significantly reduce or eliminate impulse spending. For example, if you are a mom shopping for your children’s Christmas gifts, bring another mom friend with you who is doing the same thing. Both of you will be looking for similar items and can keep each other in check regarding your budget and shopping for items you don’t actually need.
Share your shopping plan and list with your shopping buddy, which can be extremely helpful. Not only will they also be on the lookout for the things you need if you miss them, but they can also call you out if you stray away from your list and the budget.
Remember Wants vs. Needs
Trying to remember your wants versus your needs can be difficult, but it absolutely needs to be done in terms of impulse holiday shopping. For example, do you really need to buy more garland for your tree or another toy for your child? You might want these things, but if they are outside of your budget, it does you more harm than good to buy them.
If you didn’t put it on your shopping list before you left the house, it’s probably something you want instead of something you need. Avoid your “wants” until after the holidays–you can reconsider them then! You can save money by avoiding certain purchases!
Beware of Online Shopping
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping has never been easier. All you have to do is click a button, and your favorite food or product can show up at your house the next day, sometimes even earlier. You can shop all day in your pajamas, and all you need to do is wait for your items to arrive at your doorstep.
However great as this might seem, it can quickly become detrimental to your budget. Filling up an online cart might sound great, but taking away the physicality of buying things can also make them seem less “real.” Additionally, things like Klarna and Afterpay make it even easier for you to put off these purchases until “later,” when you probably won’t have the money for them later, either. Beware of shopping online. Things can add up fast!
Wait to Buy Until After Holidays
As we mentioned earlier, buying everything you want before the holidays come around might seem like more of a ticking time bomb than an actual fun shopping activity. Therefore, it’s important to remember: some things can wait to be bought until after the holidays are over.
For example, if you have personal wants outside of gifts or necessary purchases for your family or friends, consider waiting until after the holidays are over. While you might think the deals and savings disappear, most of these discounts are a holiday illusion and will remain after Christmas Day has passed.
Saving Your Wallet During the Holidays
Following one or more of these tips can help keep your budget in check during the holiday season. Shopping before major holidays like Christmas or Hanukkah can feel like a complete nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare for your bank account if you don’t let it. So while you shop for gifts, decorations, and food this upcoming holiday season, remember these tips and be mindful of your impulses! You’ll thank yourself in January!