1. List of people and gifts: Make a list of people you want to buy for and write down the gift you want to give. Take this list with you while you shop and try hard not to stray from the list. It might be tempting to buy a pair of earrings because they are on-sale but ask yourself:
Who will you give them to?
Can your budget support this gift?
When will you give the person the gift?
How will you get it to them?
Do you have time to get it to them?
2. Take someone with you: If sticking with a shopping plan is hard, take a wisely picked buddy with you. With your buddy discuss:
The shopping list and amounts
Stores to visit
The shopping trip
For example, we will go right to the ________section, get the item then leave or we can look around for x minutes in _________ section but we can’t visit the __________section.
3. Sales: Stores like to offer sales and focus the consumer’s attention on the amount saved as opposed to the amount spent. On receipts there is generally a highlighted portion that tells the consumer how much they have saved. In fact, in some stores the clerk tells the consumer the amount that was saved. Like anyone, I like to save money and I like to get good deals. But I think a helpful question to ask is, “This item that is on sale, is it an item that I need and/or was planning on buying?” If not, then one could focus on the cost of the item as opposed to the discounted amount.
4. After holiday stuff - cards, wrapping paper, ribbons: It is exciting to buy things at discounted rates after the holidays. But before you go out and buy, take a look at what you already have. Just because cards are on sale doesn’t mean that you need to buy more if you already have a drawer full. If you used all your cards, sure, buy your cards for the following year. Buying more cards, wrapping paper, ribbon etc. takes up space and can stress us out in terms of finding storage for the new stuff. So to put it simply, assess what you have before you buy.
5. Reading material: We may decide that we want to buy ourselves a gift and the perfect gift is a book. Before you take the book up to the register ask yourself a few questions:
When will I read this book?
Do I have time to read this book?
Are there other books at home that I have wanted to read but haven’t read yet?
Where will this book go when I’m done reading it?
Do I need to make room for new books before I buy any?
6. And finally: Consider buying fair trade. A brief word about fair trade products - They are made in such a way as to promote environmental sustainability. Also, the producers receive fair wages for their product. For more information about fair trade and fair trade store locations see the links below.
Deep breath, breathe, good luck, and Happy Holidays,