The year-end holidays are fun. But they can also be very stressful. Especially if money is tight. In a recent survey, many holiday shoppers admitted to stress due to financial pressures. We have come up with a few helpful ways to keep your wallet in the black.
In an article published last year in the Daily Mail, a study indicated that shoppers get quite a workout when they brave the malls for those last-minute holiday gifts. In fact, the heart rate of the average holiday shopper can spike considerably after just 32 minutes of shopping time.
Part of the stress also comes from financial pressures. Holiday shopping isn’t cheap. According to the National Retail Foundation, Americans will spend $967.13 on gifts for family and friends in 2017. That’s a 3.4 percent increase from just last year.
For many, shopping is a competitive sport. Especially during the holidays. So what can YOU do to lower stress levels and save money during this prime shopping season? The short answer is: Shop smarter.
Here are some simple things you can do to keep yourself relatively stress-free and debt-free over the holidays.
1. Create a budget ahead of time – Don’t just hop in the car and drive to the mall, willy-nilly. Have a plan. Budget how much you plan to spend on each person on your list, ahead of time. Avoid impulse buying.
2. Pre-Plan your trip to the mall – After you’ve made out your gift list, go online, and do some research on gifts that fit the budget for each person. There are a boatload of retail store websites out there that can give you comparative prices on popular gift items.
3. Check for gift coupons – Most retailers offer gift coupons during the holidays. You can typically find them on each store’s website or in your local Sunday newspaper. Every little bit helps.
4. Plot out your mall mapping ahead of time – To save yourself time and energy, make a “shopping map,” so you can shop more efficiently. Map out each retail store you plan to go to, from one end of the mall to the other. And when you enter each store, just buy the gifts that you have on your list. That way, you’ll be less likely to make an impulse purchase. Stick to the plan.
5. Use your credit cards sparingly – The fewer purchases you put on your credit cards, the less you’ll potentially pay in overage fees and interest.
6. Pay in cash – Again, the less you put on your plastic, the better. Pay in cash, if you can.
“A bargain isn’t a smart purchase if it compromises a person’s overall financial health,” says Gail Cunningham of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, in a recent Forbes article. Truer words have never been spoken.
From all of us at AccuQuote, we wish all of our customers a great Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Festivus.