Five Tips to Avoid Holiday “Deals”
Here we are—Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, and the holiday spending frenzy is in full swing. And, according to Adobe, this year is off to a particularly swinging start:
- Sales from Thanksgiving and Black Friday brought in $7.9 billion in revenue.
- Cyber Monday brought in $6.59 billion, making it the largest online sales day in history.
- This year, consumers spent over $1 billion more than they spent on Cyber Monday in 2016.
- And, between November 1st and 27th, online revenue is up 16.8 percent from last year—a total of $50 billion—and we’re likely to break $100 billion in online sales for the first time ever.
Those are some jolly-big numbers! Proof that it’s easy to get caught up in the hunt for the best discounts and gifts.
How’s Your Budget Holding Up?
If you’ve stuck to your budget, bravo! Maybe you, very intentionally, purchased something special at a steep discount, or opted out of Black Friday/Cyber Monday altogether. I bet you’re feeling merry and bright.
And if you didn’t? Well, businesses everywhere do their very best to woo you with special offers, seductive emails and catalogs, and catchy commercials (and don’t even get me started about the special gifts!). There’s no better obstacle course for your budget than this time of year.
… and we have twenty more days to go!
Batten Down the Hatches!
If you’re feeling the stress of a thousand twinkly lights beating down on you, take heart. In spite of social and commercial pressures, you can survive this season without blowing your finances to smithereens. Here are five tips to help you get through the next few weeks without adding to your debt or depleting your emergency fund:
1 - Give Every Dollar a Job.
I know, budgeting. Surprise! When you give every dollar a job, it’s so much easier to say “no, thanks” to the relentless stream of offers. Period. If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you probably already know that.
2 - Use a Filter.
After minding my budget, the second-best way that I’ve found to avoid frivolous spending is just that: avoid it. I don’t go to the mall, I unsubscribe from emails like it’s going out of style, and I never sign up for catalogs! Even with these precautions, I’m still susceptible to a well-timed Facebook ad or appropriately-positioned affiliate offer. And that’s why Tip #1 is so important—it beats impulse purchases to the punch by showing you the real power of your money.
3 - Is It Actually Just Clutter?
Take a cue from the booming popularity of minimalism—declutter your life before the junk even makes it into your shopping cart! As you’re surfing the web, or if you find yourself in a store, think it through. How many times have you unloaded your loot, only to realize that you already have one from last year? Or you don’t like this color, after all. Or those on-sale ‘steals’ really aren’t such great quality? Just get really picky, and only buy stuff that will truly bring you joy … I bet you’ll feel more joyful.
4 - Don’t Let Perceived Scarcity Run the Show.
This one’s tough, but if you can just say “no” to limited-time offers, you’ll remove a lot of leverage from the marketer/consumer equation and tilt the balance in your favor. I look at it this way: if something is on sale right now, it’ll go on sale again, one day.
And if it doesn’t go on sale, again? I’ll just save up that extra bit and buy, when I’m ready, at full price. This might seem counterintuitive if you’re a bargain-hunter, but it keeps you in control of your money (and out of debt).
5 - New Traditions Can Be Fun.
One of the toughest aspects of budgeting can be the feeling that you’re letting down your friends or family. Sometimes, when we adjust to a budget, it makes our old lifestyles impossible (at least, for a little while). If that’s the case, communication is everything. Before everyone starts counting down to the festivities, reach out and make new plans.
Look for more cost-effective traditions that shift the focus from gifts to gathering. Invite your people to take in the holiday lights and sip on some hot cocoa, instead of a more expensive night on the town. Remember, the most important gift is your … I have to do this ... presence!
Cheers to all of the budgeters navigating the season with grace and ease!