The holidays tend to whip up an over-spending frenzy in shoppers, getting them to abandon common sense in favor of spending their way into misery. To avoid making a string of bad decisions you’ll regret when the credit card bills come in, you’ll need careful planning and self-discipline.
The Jenny Pincher offers some pointers that will keep you from losing it in the holiday hysteria:
* Map out a budget. Put pen to paper — or mouse to spreadsheet — and develop a maximum spending level for everyone you feel obligated to give a gift. Ideally, your budget will present a worst-case financial scenario.
* Scout deals online before braving the mall. There’s no way to tell whether or not a deal at a store is good unless you have something to compare it to. Find the lowest prices for the stuff you’re targeting online before heading out into the real world to see if you can beat those prices.
* Use your smartphone on the go. If you stumble upon an item you didn’t realize you needed to buy, pre-planning won’t help you. That’s when you pull out a smartphone to compare prices before you commit. The writer suggests ShopSavvy and Amazon Price Check.
A bonus tip: If you’re out shopping for others, don’t pick up anything for yourself. The easiest way to blow your budget is to succumb to greed.
How to Shop this Holiday Season Without Blowing Your Budget [The Jenny Pincher]