Keeping Your Finances in Order Throughout the Holiday Season

This time of year, the number of enticing deals by retailers can be difficult to resist. It seems everywhere you go, posters are screaming “SALE, SALE, SALE” with very little reprieve until after December 25th. But just when you thought it was safe to go back out to your local mall or shopping center, the “after Christmas” sales begin and your will power is tested yet gain.

Resisting the urge to buy things you do not need is a difficult proposition during the holiday sales season. However, self control in this area can go a long way in helping you keep your finances in order, pay off interest-bearing debt, maintain a healthy savings account and perhaps even save enough for a down payment on that dream home.

Here are some tips that we have found to be helpful. If you have any tips of your own, please share them with us!

1. Use Only Cash – Challenge yourself not to shop with a credit card. When you’re limited to cash or a debit card, you’re much more likely to purchase only what you can afford. There is plenty of research out there that shows people tend to spend more when they charge things.

2. Ask Yourself if Paying Triple the Price is Worth It? – If your purchase is put on a credit card at 21% interest and you can only pay the minimum payment at the end of the month, by the time you have fully paid off that purchase it could cost you triple. So, if you’re buying a $50 sweater, look at that sweater and know that, in your situation, it may just cost you $150. Is all that riba/interest really worth it?

3. Eliminate Emotionally Driven Shopping – Guilt, panic or a mob mentality can make for an expensive combination. Short-term sales create an emotionally charged situation. Whether it’s Black Friday, a weekend special or the after-Christmas sales, the fear of “missing out” can override our common sense. Avoid this situation by always keeping a shopping list of items you really need and be sure to prioritize. If you’re shopping online, wait at least 20 minutes after you place something in your shopping cart.

4. Trust Your Instincts – Whenever you feel fear about spending money, that should be a sign that you’re spending money you don’t have, and worse you might be spending money to impress people you don’t even know or like. Try asking yourself, do I need this item or do I just want this item?

Share some of your tips with us!