This monthly money tip is brought to you by one of my new blog contributors, Lindsay! I am so excited to be able to bring you some money saving tips especially during the holiday season! My goal is to bring you fresh, new content through my contributors. Content that I have always hoped to add to my blog but because of time restrictions with three kids, another job and maintaining the style & motherhood aspect of this blog – I haven’t been able to add these sections to my blog. I am beyond thrilled to have her on board with us and I hope you are too!
We are coming up on the holiday season… how is this possible? Wasn’t it just New Year’s?
A majority of us will go shopping in the near future to buy gifts for our loved ones. I do overspend on other people, but usually during this time of the year, I also blow my own budget out of the water. No matter how much we don’t want to admit it, we tend to find material items for ourselves while we shop.
December’s Monthly Money Tip
We shop in store after store to find that perfect gift for our husband, wife, child… but through this search, we are constantly seeing new things that we “need” (which we have apparently never seen before). How is it that we always end up with a full cart (no less than the usual 200 dollar “Target Run”) and get home to realize that not even ¼ of our gift list is complete? Why do we still have more to do? And with what money?
I have tried everything to prevent this including (but not limited to):
- Staying out of the stores as much as possible between now and Christmas week (deliberately not going to J. Crew, Madewell, or even Costco) so there’s less of a chance I will see material items that I want.
- Taking a break from Social Media (in an attempt to not want the items other people are purchasing – everything they post is just SO good…).
- Refraining from browsing online stores unless the purchase is deliberate (because they have SALE written in red, huge, bold letters across the top of the page so it’s OBVIOUSLY something that I will need).
Even after all of that effort plus a specific monthly zero-dollar based budget, it STILL doesn’t stop my overspending during this time of the year.
So, picture this:
- You’re leisurely walking into Target, kid-less, with a Starbucks latte in hand.
- Christmas music playing in the background while you grab a cart (your first mistake)! You’ve walked right in between the poinsettias, dollar section and the produce.
- First on your gift list: Child #1
- There’s no reason why you can’t make a quick stop in the clothing section. After all, it is on the way to the toys and you think “I just want ideas” (mistake number 2!)
- You’ve now covered the back of the cart with your Christmas outfit and your new ugly sweater that you NEED for this year’s ugly sweater contest at work (after all, you can’t reuse the one from last year).
- You’ve cruised through the clothing and with the new Target floorplan, the clothing extends right into the shoes, and of course, you realize you’ve wanted new boots. After finding some that you like, you throw those in the cart.
- You’ve successfully made it through the clothing and shoes, just to run into the home décor. It doesn’t hurt to browse (mistake number 3).
- You think all the things are cute, but you’ve been wanting this Hearth & Hand set of dish towels and platter for the longest time and since you’re hosting the family holiday this year, obviously now is the perfect time to get it. Thank you, Joanna Gaines! This ends up in your cart.
- You’re still not at the toy aisle…
Do you really need that platter?
If you’re in Target long enough, let the items you’ve picked up for yourself (like that Hearth & Hand platter or those boots that you don’t need but you do want) simmer in your cart or in your arms for a while. If you have time, walk around the store with the items that you intend to purchase for yourself. After 30 minutes have gone by, ask yourself if you still want those boots or if the impulse and excitement of them is gone. Most of the time, if I walk around for over 30 minutes with these unplanned items, they end up finding their way back to their spot on the shelf. The initial impulsive desire to purchase these things has worn off and I don’t go home with the feeling that I’m missing out on anything.
If this is an online purchase, consider leaving these items in your cart for 24 hours. After that, ask yourself the same question. If you are still thinking about them after that time, then it’s time to consider making the purchase.