If you are a recovering shopaholic, or want to improve your spending over the next month these tips should help you!
1. Stay out of the stores
If you like to shop and buy little trinkets and knick knacks, it’s time you found a new hobby. This is the season marketers and advertisers have dreamed about. Their goal is to get in your wallet! Fight them off with will power. It’s the same with shopping online. Yes there is an awesome deal, but there will also be one next week and the week after that. You notice they still have after-after Thanksgiving Sales. No need to rush out for Black Friday! (Unless it is a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer for $50. In that case GO. Go. GO!!!)
If you are constantly on your computer, smart phone or checking your email, it might be a good idea to unsubscribe from some stores. Spending money on items because they are “good last minute deals” will empty your bank account faster than you think. Instead of dealing with temptation every time you open your email or hear your phone buzz, just unsubscribe.
3. Shop Early/Plan Ahead
The earlier you shop the better and making a list of who will receive what will make life so much easier. If you have a lot of people to shop for consider doing family centered gifts instead of individual. These can be
- Games (not the video kind)- Board games are so much fun and usually you can find them on clearance or get discounts with coupons. It’s amazing how a room lights up when families play Apples to Apples or learn who has a competitive edge when playing Monopoly.
Restaurants- The gift of a gift card to a restaurant is always great purchase. Some companies have 3 different restaurant choices on 1 card. If you have a family of 6 to shop for $50 will be appreciated. That can be appetizers, drinks, and/or dessert!
- Books- You can find good ones for super cheap! If you have never ventured out to Half Price Book Store, it’s time you did. They have new books for $1 or half off. If you are buying for kids they have games, puzzles, and coloring books too! I know everyone isn’t really into reading, but some kids will love books. (Half Price also has movies and cd’s)
- Fun bags- Is there a family you are buying for that has a large age range? Make a bag of fun. Visit the clearance racks at the stores you frequent and you will see tons of little things that kids like. Bubbles for 50 cents? I’ll take 4 please. You can put all of the items in a box or bag and throw in some candy. More ideas would be cars, play jewelry, puzzles, play doh, crayons/markers, notepads, stickers, etc. *Make sure the items are age appropriate for the entire family. Don’t put little items in a box with a family that has a small child (for choking hazards)*
4. Make a list whenever you go shopping
If you go to the BX on a weekend without a plan, you will almost always buy something you don’t need. I went in for baby wipes and they announced over the loudspeaker that for 3 more minutes, all shoes on clearance were an additional half off. I had to use all of my willpower to make a beeline for the express line and get out of there.
5. Make a list for your stocking stuffers (the little things)
These little knick knacks can add up even if you don’t have a large family. The commissary will always have an awesome display of candy, and again everything is targeted to take your money! Don’t dawdle in stores. The longer you spend lingering, the more likely you are to make a purchase!
If you are like most military spouses, the holidays are filled with spouse gatherings, unit events, and cookie donations to the troops. Even if you aren’t the best cook learning to make a simple cookie will save money. Not into cookie making?What can you make? Try a few recipes out, but once you find a killer banana bread, scone, or deviled egg recipe that you can make in your sleep, all of the parties will be a breeze!
Holidays should be a happy time. You should enjoy the season and not worry about a bunch of bills coming up in the new year. Remember the mantra – “Is this the best purchase I can make” when headed out. Even if the kinda ugly cute shirt is only $8, can that same $8 be spent on something better?
Keep up your guard!