As a child watching the Christmas presents build under our pine tree in the living room was nerve-racking. Did my parent’s remember to get that Lisa Frank trapper keeper I requested? If there isn’t a Tamagotchi, I will just die. Then finally, just as the clock struck midnight on December 31st, we could open our presents.
You read right, my family did all the typical Christmas traditions; we had a tree with ornaments under which Santa Claus a big fancy family dinner and Grandfather — the only difference was that we celebrated on New Year’s Eve.
My family’s strange practice actually helped with savings in the long run, but it’s not for everyone. This got me thinking what are some other simple, but not often cited, ways to avoid over spending on the holidays.
Don’t Go After Work
Think about it, you’ve put in a full day at the office, do you really want to mill about a crowded store? Going shopping when you are in a bad mood or overly tired raises the probability that you will purchase the first acceptable thing that pops into your field of vision.
By planning special tips and going when you are alert, you can find the best sales and even do some comparison shopping.
Eat Lunch Before Buying Your Gifts
You’ve probably heard the saying “Don’t grocery shopping on an empty stomach”, but what about Holiday shopping? Researches have found that when you are hungry your blood-sugar level is lower impacting your decision making abilities.
According to scientists, if our blood-sugar is too low our desire to make difficult decisions goes down the drain, forcing us to use intuition. Intuition isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you are less likely to take the time to search for the best prices.
Plus, if you are hungry you are more likely to buy that snack at checkout, not the most expensive purchase, but you should be saving for gifts!
Leave the Kids, Significant Others and Friends Behind
I hate shopping alone, I am indecisive and I get bored. But one drawback of shopping with other people is you are more likely to spend more. A recent study even showed men are more likely to spend more in attempts to impress friends they are with.
If you absolutely need to go holiday shopping with your friends, make sure to create a list and budget and to stick to it.
Avoid Overspending: Don’t Use A Tablet
The Wall Street Journal has found that tablet users are more likely to make purchases than those on their PC. When shoppers are on their computers retailers have found a conversion rate (orders/visits) of 3% where as users who visited online retail sites on their tablets had a 4% to 5% conversion rate.
Some retailers even reported increases of 10% to 20% in added spending. Maybe this research says something about tablet owners and their spending habits, but to be on the safe side avoid a using a tablet.
Celebrate Christmas Like a Russian
My Russian family’s decision to celebrate on New Year’s is actually not a tradition specific to my family, in fact it is a commonly practiced celebration throughout many American-based Russian families.
The reason behind the strange switch of dates goes all the way back to 1917 when the communists took power in Russia. Once in power, the communists banned Christmas, along with other religious holidays. The ban, lasting 75 years, forced Russian people to get a little creative with their celebrations. Since New Year’s was a non-denominational holiday, and therefore free for open celebration, the people of Russia decided to jazz up the holiday with a tree, gifts and even Grandfather Frost (a.k.a the Russian Version of Santa Claus).
We saved so much money on Christmas sales especially Christmas-specific products i.e items adorned with red and green or with Santa’s cheerful mug.
Holiday spending is expected to increase by 2.8% hitting a total of $465.6 billion according to the National Retail Federation. I would not be surprised if holiday shopping hits this projected increase because Black Friday spending hit an all-time high of $52 billion. This increased spending on Black Friday also indicates another thing; Americans are more desperate to score those sale prices.
Whichever way you choose to spend or celebrate, as long as your with people you love you can’t go wrong.