The holidays are upon us and we, most likely, will be spending an awful lot of time at malls, leaving us vulnerable to overspending. Before you throw away your budget plan and give in to temptation, we have listed four simple techniques to keep you from overspending.
1. Don’t overreward yourself.
Being good and staying within your budget for a long period of time can make you feel like you deserve to reward yourself for your discipline and hard work. Treating yourself to something nice is well and good but the problem is that these rewards are sometimes worth more than what you were able to save in the past few days, weeks or months. When you feel tempted to pat yourself on the back by buying a costly item like a gadget or a new item of clothing, stop yourself and think about the possible consequences of your purchase.
Splurging on big ticket items can mean starting from scratch and giving up on your financial and budgeting goals. If you truly want to reward yourself, keep it small. Keep reminding yourself that seeing the progress of your budgeting (like finally having an emergency fund) is enough reward in itself.
2. Be careful of sales.
Maybe you saw a new item at 50% off at the supermarket or at the mall. Even though you probably have no use for that item, you’re ready to reach for your wallet because you think it’s such a great deal. Beware of this mentality. Impulsively buying items just because they’re on sale is tantamount to overspending.
A purchase can be considered a great deal if you have budgeted for the item and happened to buy it at a lower cost. The holidays are usually filled with endless sales and you’ll likely find yourself considering buying those quirky gadget accessories, especially if they’re offered two for the price of one. Ask yourself: do you really need two more cases for your phone when you already have three extras you don’t even use?
3. Buy what you need NOW.
It’s almost the end of the year and you’re probably thinking of hoarding lots of stuff you need for next year since most items are on sale. You’re thinking of buying a new dress for that beach trip you’re planning for the summer. How about new shoes or workout clothes when you finally sign up to the gym? How about a new oven for when you finally have enough free time to study baking?
The problem with this is that you’re buying things for future activities that may not even come to pass. Most people buy products that their future and better selves will need, only to find such items unused and stored away in corners within their homes after a while. The trick is to buy things that you have immediate use for. Why buy an oven when you barely have enough time to tidy up your own place let alone study baking? Planning to go to the gym? Sign up first and then buy the sportswear you need. Don’t splurge on items for an ideal self or hobby. Make sure the need is there before you address it.
4. Think before you buy.
A no-brainer and no-fail way to keep you from overspending is to think each purchase carefully. Follow the old adage of weighing wants with needs, and don’t be liberal with the word “need”. You don’t “need” a new phone when the old one works perfectly fine. You don’t “need” to buy that new fashion trend when it doesn’t flatter your body type.
Others can have an influence over our spending habits. Despite this, don’t allow yourself to be forced into buying something just because everyone else has it. Don’t let the fear of missing out or wanting to look glamorous break your budget. Do you find yourself overspending every time you’re with a particular friend? If so, maybe it’s time you thought of another way to hang out with each other without spending a fortune.
Lastly, buy things that directly benefit you in the long run. Will a particular item keep you happy even if it’s no longer new? Does it contribute to your personal happiness? In the end, you have to prioritize and buy what’s only essential to your life.
Holiday shopping is no reason to get deep in debt or break your budget. After all, the holidays are more than gifts and spending. What’s your go-to technique to keep from overspending? Share them with us in the comments.