The holiday shopping season has officially kicked off and if you’ve been to a mall lately, it certainly looks festive and enticing to buy the latest toy, fashion trend or gadget for those on your list. After the sales are over and the pretty wrapping paper sits in the recycling bin, comes the big bills.
Debt isn’t the best way to kick off the new year, so we’ve so we’ve partnered with Sybil Verch from The Wealthy Life to give you some tips on curbing holiday spending so 2017 can start on a financially sound note.
The number one question: How do people curb spending during the holidays?
Sybil: When shopping, take the emotions out of the decision-making. This can be easier said than done as our senses are overwhelmed at the malls with the energy of other shoppers, big sales by the retailers and unique items that look like a great purchase at the time. To stay focused and protect your wallet, make a list of who you want to buy for, and set a limit on the amount you want to spend so you can find the right gift within your budget. Often we go shopping without a clear set of intentions or a plan and then get easily swayed into spending more than we planned. Remember that it’s the thought that counts, not how much you spent. By having your shopping list handy at all times, you’ll less likely be enticed to buy things you don’t need.
Sybil adds that you should review your list and maybe consider shortening it if possible.
Sybil: Do you really need to buy something for everyone on your list? Would a thoughtful card suffice? Consider doing a name draw with friends and family so you only buy for one person rather than for the entire group. In recent years, I’ve seen groups of friends donate time &/or money to charity rather than buying gifts for each other. This is a rewarding experience that reduces stress and is good for a budget.
The dreaded credit bill is what we’re afraid of so credit vs debit – what’s better?
Sybil: For the majority of people, debit is better. Using debit prevents people from spending more than they have (unless they have an overdraft line of credit linked to their debit card, but then that really is credit too).
For those people who are extremely disciplined and pay off their credit card in full each month, using credit is better as it allows you to earn points or other perks associated with your credit card. But use caution, even the most disciplined people tend to overspend during the holidays as it’s way too easy to get swept up in the hype of it all.
Whether using a credit or debit card, set a budget and stick to it. Only spend what you can afford.
There are still gifts that we need to buy so how do we purchase gifts and still stick to a budget?
Sybil: Keep track of what you’ve spent to ensure you don’t go over your holiday budget. There are many great gift ideas that don’t break the bank. Finding something special and personal for those on your gift list may require some creativity and time, but doesn’t need to cost you much.
And finally, what is the number one tip for spending this holiday season?
Sybil: Make a shopping list, set a budget and stick to it. Don’t give in to temptation and end up buying more than you need.
Keeping these points in mind and sticking to a budget for the next holiday shopping trip might help keep the panic of bills out of the way and kick 2017 off with a bang. Happy sound shopping!
About Sybil Verch: Sybil is a financial guru with Raymond James and the host of The Wealthy Life, which is in its second season. Sybil dishes advice on a variety of financial questions from guests as well as expert advice. The show airs on CHEK Television in Victoria and the Lower Mainland. Check out all the episodes on YouTube.
For more information about The Wealthy Life, visit http://www.thewealthylife.com/.