Posted on December 4, 2012. Filed under: money matters |


“It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle-belling
And everyone telling you
Be of good cheer”

Those are the lyrics of an old yuletide song made popular by the late Andy Williams. However, if you don’t spend wisely it might end up being far from the “most wonderful time” for you.

Christmas is one of the most popular times for impulse buying or making purchases without thinking them through.As the Christmas (shopping) season approaches, we can expect the massive advertising blitzes from companies and stores trying to lure every last dollar out of your pockets or bank accounts.

Many persons tend to do last minute shopping or race through the shopping exercise which results in failure to properly think through purchases. These, along with other factors, result in impulse buying which is making purchases without thinking through the needs and issues of the purchase.

Here are my suggestions on how to avoid impulse shopping this Christmas.

Start with a list
Before you swipe that credit card or splash that cash create a list. Know who you’re shopping for and know what you’re getting. Shopping can be done quickly and easily when using a list. The main reason that causes people to purchase on impulse is a lack of planning. Proper planning helps consumers avoid the impulse purchases.

Making a list of the various items needed from groceries to the gifts can help develop a shopping plan and move beyond the need to purchase impulsively. Using a list offers focus and direction for shopping.

Shop early
Shopping early usually means less crowds and allows for making purchases at a slow calculated pace. Shopping during busier times only invites impulse buying. Many times people get into a rush to leave a store to avoid the crowd and start buying items quickly to be able to leave. Shopping during the slower times to avoid this problem and will allow you to remain focused on your list and the stick with their shopping plan.

Shop with sales in mind
Shopping with sales in mind will help you avoid impulse buying by letting you think through the purchases ahead of time. Shop smartly by finding the right items at the best possible price or the lowest price. Sales usually are the best way to get the best prices out there.

During the season everyone competes for your money by offering great deals. Keep an eye out for flyers, ads and TV commercials to help you find the best price on gifts.

No shame in coupons
Another way to save money is to find various coupons – these are becoming increasingly popular locally and across the Caribbean region. There are special offers during the Christmas season to entice shoppers to spend money. Coupons help save money on those various items. Many times people only think about saving money on gifts. Search the papers and magazines for coupons for items such as holiday food items, gift wrap and other Christmas essentials.

Get all you need
One of the biggest causes of impulse buying is forgotten items. Forgotten items cause people to make more trips to the store. Each extra trip to the store allows for additional impulse items to be purchased. Last minute items are also causes for impulse purchases.

How many times have you or someone you know forgotten an item or needed something last minute and made purchases without thinking them through? “Too often”, invariably is the response to that question. Don’t become impulse shopping statistics; break the mold this Christmas.

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