Beware of These 4 Holiday Spending Traps So You Don’t Blow Your Budget

shopping-mall-522619_640You’ve set your budget for the holidays and now it should be easy to stick to it, right? Not always!

With more and more choices for saving money than ever before, from grocery store apps to online coupons and cashback sites, it can be overwhelming for shoppers. These “savings” tools can also make it difficult for consumers to stick their guns, and their budget, so they don’t end up overspending just to take advantage of “savings”.

If you are worried about overspending your budget this holiday season, here are 4 holiday spending tracks to beware of.

Shopping without a Clear Strategy

The last month before Christmas is crazy. There are lots of things to finish up before the holiday, including shopping for gifts. If you go into this hectic time of year without a clear strategy in place for your shopping, you can get into trouble very quickly.

Take some time to write down your gift-giving and shopping plan so you don’t end up buying gifts for more people than you anticipated, or overspending on gifts for the small number of people on your gift-giving list. The more specific you are in your plan, the less likely you are to go over budget.

Getting Gifts for Yourself

Christmas shopping for others is fun, but it can be tempting to buy a few small things for yourself while you’re shopping for others. This tradition of self-gifting has become increasingly more popular in the past few years with many shoppers justifying these purchases because items are on sale, or because “I deserve it”. If you can’t resist the call of the sales, at least plan for these splurges in your holiday budget.

Using Credit

Credit cards can be a good tool if you use them properly, but the problem is that most consumers don’t have the willpower to avoid overspending on credit during the holiday season. It’s easy to get into the mindset of “I’ll pay for that later” when you use credit cards for your shopping. If you really want to stick to your budget, use cash or debit when doing your holiday shopping. Then you can only spend what you can afford right then and there, there’s no option to “pay for it later” with cash or debit.

Promos that Make You Spend More

Online stores commonly offer special promotions that make you spend more than you originally anticipated. Things like “Spend $X to get free shipping!” or “Spend $X for a free bonus item” cause a lot of people to add more items to their cart just to save on shipping or to get a free item. Even with free shipping, you are still likely spending more than you would have if you had just paid the shipping on your order instead.

If you really hate shipping costs, shop in-store or opt for ship-to-store instead of home delivery to save on shipping costs.

Holiday shopping is not something than can easily be avoided altogether, but by avoiding these mistakes and sticking to your budget, you can likely avoid the hassle of holiday credit card debt that so many consumers fall into each year.

How do you avoid overspending on holiday shopping?


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