It’s the time of year when retailers pull out all the stops to encourage us to shop. There are offers with imminent deadlines, tempting window displays and essentially the whole armoury of tricks on display to get shoppers to spend as much as possible in the coming weeks. If you are one of the many who find that along with buying Christmas extras and gifts, you end up buying a few little treats for yourself, it’s really not surprising. Here are a few simple tips to help you to make wise shopping decisions…
TIP 1: Impose a waiting period on big purchases
Depending on your circumstances and the item you are buying the time limit may be as little as one or two hours or as much as 30 days, but when shopping for an important or expensive item, have in your mind a waiting period between settling on an item and actually making the purchase. It will help you to avoid those moments when you panic and miss an essential piece of information about the item you are buying, or when you buy out of sheer desperation to just get the job done — never good mindsets for wise choices.
TIP 2: Give yourself a treat budget
One way to help you stay on track with spending and feel in control against the retail temptations out there is to have an affordable amount set aside for your shopping trip in case you should see something you absolutely love, or you just want to treat yourself to a relaxing lunch while you are out. Having a small amount of pre-planned discretionary spend will also help you to avoid bigger impulse buys.
TIP 3: Plan, plan, plan
Just like Santa, of essential items and items which would be nice but you can live without. Plan in at least two or three shopping trips, supplementing them with online shopping if necessary and keep a tally of what you’ve spent on Christmas so far and update it every time you shop. Not only does this avoid one last minute rushed shopping session where you will be at the mercy of the last minute price rises and vulnerable to panic buying, but it just means that you’ll have more time to enjoy the best parts of the festive season, spending time with family and friends, indulging in a bit of baking perhaps and enjoying the lights.
TIP 4: Remember the sale price rule.
It’s often repeated and usually forgotten, but to establish if a sale price really does offer good value, ask yourself — would I have thought the original pre-sale price reasonable. Would I have bought this item at this price, if I could have afforded it, before the price was reduced. If the answer is no, it’s not really a great bargain.