“Making a list and checking it twice” isn’t just what Santa does when he’s loading up his sleigh with toys. It’s what smart shoppers do before they hit the stores to start buying holiday gifts. You may have already overcome the urge to give into the kids’ pleadings for the latest expensive gadget, but unless you have a plan you can find yourself giving into the alluring “buy now, pay later” deals once you’re in the stores.
You may have read our post “It’s time to start budgeting for the holidays” in October. Now that the holidays are getting closer, revisit your holiday spending plans. In the earlier blog post, Stacy Livingstone-Hoyte, Financial Counselor at the Fleet & Family Support Center Millington, TN gave great tips on prioritizing gifts and establishing spending limits. Unwrap even more helpful advice from her in the new Navy.mil story “Holiday Spending- Don’t Go Broke Trying to Save.”
If you haven’t already, start your holiday shopping by giving yourself a present first-sticking to your shopping list! The rewards of spending within your means will last far beyond the holidays, and you’ll ring in the New Year with satisfaction-not big bills and buyer’s remorse.
Apply the Principles of Resilience to your holiday shopping plans, so that your finances can “bounce back” from gift-giving. Controllability is one principle that is particularly helpful while shopping on a budget. You may not be able to control how long a sale lasts, but you do have the power to decide that it’s okay to miss out on the “best prices of the year” for items that weren’t on your shopping list. When you’re faced with temptations in the stores, remind yourself that you have control. “Identify whether you will actually use the item, and if the item being advertised is a ‘want’ or a ‘need.’ If you are on a tight budget it will help you weed out the non-essentials,” Livingstone-Hoyte says in the Navy.mil story. Don’t hesitate to pull out your list whenever you find yourself questioning an item in the aisles.
Remember, it doesn’t have to come from a store to be special. Military OneSource offers a variety of tips on ways to save money over the holidays and how to encourage generosity and the gift of giving. Taking your family to donate clothes or volunteer at a food bank can help everyone refocus on what’s important and recognize there are people whom are less fortunate. That will surely earn them a spot on Santa’s “Nice List!”