Break the seasonal guilt.
Wouldn’t it be great to get through Christmas this year without that great big dose of seasonal guilt? Very few of us feel good about the way we spend over Christmas – let’s face it most of us spend too much. That can not only ruin Christmas itself but leave you with a pretty nasty financial hangover well into the New Year and possibly a bad credit situation that affects your future borrowing. If you want to change the record this year then it’s all about healthier Christmas shopping habits.
- Just buy what you need
The temptation at this time of year is to just buy everything you come across. Overbuying is a serious problem at Christmas and a very bad habit to get into. Do you really need 60 mince pies? Are you sure that only top of the range toys will do? It’s easy to start panicking that Christmas will only mean something this year if you have all the “stuff” but the reality is that it’s just not about that. Get what you need to have an enjoyable Christmas and leave it at that.
- Break the habit of associating a “good” Christmas with an expensive one
When you start your Christmas shopping think about what it is that really makes this time of year special. Is it having the best champagne money can buy or being surrounded by family and friends? It’s always a good idea to try to keep in perspective what Christmas means to you when you’re doing the buying for it so that you don’t end up overspending for the wrong reasons.
- Plan and budget
Yes, it does sound a little Scrooge-like to sit down with your lists and work out exactly where to allocate every last penny. However, the reality is that planning what you’re going to buy and budgeting for all of it will ensure that you keep your Christmas spending under control. This is also a great, healthy spending habit to get into at Christmas because you’ll end up really thinking about the gifts that you buy and the food that you opt for. Plus, when it comes to enjoying the day itself you won’t be sitting there mid-turkey feast thinking “we really can’t afford this.”
- Walk away if you’re not sure
At this time of year, advertising goes into overdrive and it can create a state of FOMO that’s difficult to escape. Clever marketing campaigns can make you feel like you really just can’t do without the ultra expensive new outfit or 20 tins of chocolates. Try to keep your head when it comes to the Christmas deals and discounts and don’t get sucked into spending on what you don’t need. Walking away when you start to feel affected by all that advertising is a healthy Christmas shopping habit to get into.
- Shop with a friend
If you know that you’re likely to get sucked in to spending more than you should – or turning the whole experience into a stress-filled nightmare – consider shopping with a friend. Share your budgets beforehand and agree to stop each other from overspending. Sometimes having someone there is all that we need to make us feel accountable and to not take that unhealthy step towards bad spending. Plus, if you’re shopping with a friend you can make it a fun and festive affair rather than a mad dash that you dread.