Holiday Shopping 101 – Simple Ways to Enjoy Guilt Free Shopping
By: Vonda Mone’
New Year, New Records!
Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday are known to many Americans as the true beginning of the holiday shopping season. According to the latest report released by Adobe, Cyber Monday of 2017 has officially hit a new record as the largest online shopping day in history. Adobe predicts that shoppers contributed to sales of over 6 billion dollars for Cyber Monday. In addition, smartphone-based revenue and mobile web traffic surged with estimates that account for 33.1 percent of retail revenue. With an increase in statistics, shoppers are reshaping previous trends and changing the face of online retail. “Shopping and buying on smartphones are becoming the new norm and can be attributed to continued optimizations in the retail experience on mobile devices and platforms,” said Mickey Mericle, vice president, Marketing, and Customer Insights at Adobe. Consumers are excited about the sales and bargains of Cyber Monday also spending more money.
Additionally, many Americans can easily feel compelled to purchase with the ease of great perks such as free shipping, PayPal and many rewards offered by your favorite retailers. However, the guilt of quick clicking and pop up ads and the excitement of getting the best deal can also cause anxiety and stress upon you navigate through the holiday season.
“Do not tackle all your holiday shopping in one fell swoop,” says Jennifer Melnick Carota, owner and licensed counselor of the Counseling House. “In fact, one of the leading causes of anxiety, particularly when holiday shopping, is taking on too much all at one time,” she continued.
Thankfully, there are ways to enjoy shopping guilt free without the major anxiety of going into debt.
Here are five ways to avoid overspending when holiday shopping:
- Establish a Budget
Before you start shopping or adding items to your cart set a budget immediately. It is important to decide what you can afford to spend and focus on your finances. Use websites like www.mint.com to help keep track of your spending in addition to what you amount of money you have left after paying bills.
- Set Monetary Guidelines on Gift Giving
It’s very easy to go above your established budget on one item and causes financial duress with one mistake. Before you start shopping, check your finances and decide what number is best for gift giving to family and friends. If you are short on money, be creative and invest in quality time with fun activities such as game night or cooking dinner for family and enjoying a movie night. Christmas isn’t always about gifts, but if you do want to share gifts set guidelines and remain strict.
- Avoid Using the Plastic Cards
Don’t even think of pushing that card in the chip reader because you will be upset when you see the bill in the mail in January. In fact, set aside cash specifically for the holidays and use it for gifts and miscellaneous expenses. It is much easier on your credit and will not affect your daily living expenses. You will be happy you did in January 2018.
- Do Your Research
Everything is not on sale; don’t believe the hype. Retailers are geniuses and prey your emotions. From offering targeted emails to offering multiple coupons you can easily get caught up in spending more money than planned. Google what days are best to shop and always use your list as a guide. Just make sure you stick with it for guidance. We knew we wanted to buy a memory foam mattress and from our research, we saved so much time! Our friends actually wanted to buy a home security camera for elderly people on black friday and because they planned ahead, they found the perfect one!
- Avoid Shopping with Emotions
In the holiday season, not everyone is happy and ready to spread cheer. It can be an emotional and stressful time. Teodora Pavkovic, a psychologist, and life coach believes, “we engage in stress spending when we feel unpleasant emotions such as anger, sadness [and] anticipation.”
Nevertheless, no matter if you decide to get online in the evening to shop or hit the physical sales at the mortar and brick stores with guidelines and research you can be a smart shopper and stay on budget.