“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping. “
Tis the season to do a lot of things, and one of those things is to shop. Of course the goal for anyone hitting the stores this season is to shop for others and find them the best gift; something that will be a huge hit on Christmas morning. The problem lies with temptation. It’s hard to resist and I’m not the only one who finds herself picking up items that catch my eye when the intention was to stick to a list. With the stores decked out so prettily and the ever-present pull to buy just another trinket or accessory for a party, shopping for the holidays can quickly get out of hand.
The desire to accumulate more and more—most of which falls under the category of Stuff We Don’t Need But Can’t Resist—can have serious consequences on our daily lives. Constant spending has a negative impact on a family’s financial stability and when taken to extremes, even the state of the home if the spender begins to approach the hoarder line.
This year I decided to follow a few holiday shopping tips to plug the wallet drain and cause less strain on my wallet and less waste in the home. I went to the expert, Gail Vaz-Oxlade from Til Debt Do Us Part for three doable tips that won’t have me completely changing my life and will still allow me to enjoy an occasional treat or trinket.
Make a deal with yourself that every time you buy something, you must get rid of something. This avoids falling into the trap of simplifying and then going shopping to replace everything you miss. It also makes you prioritize. If you must have that new doodad, what are you prepared to give up?
I LOVE this tip! And it’s especially smart advise at this time of year with the kids’ toys; no sense in having so much underfoot that we trip and break a hip. I explain to my children that we need to donate a few toys that are still in great shape, but that they no longer play with. My kids know that these toys go to other kids that the gift goes towards helping them have a happy holiday. Also, Santa needs room to deliver new toys.
Leave even $1 on your credit card, and you’ll pay interest on your entire balance.
Let’s say you charged $1,000 on your credit card last month and when you’re statement rolled in, you paid it all off, you wouldn’t be charged interest, right? Right. But let’s say you only paid off $900. How much would you be charged in interest then?
You probably think the interest rate would kick in on the $100 you left on the card. You’d be WRONG. When a partial payment is made on your credit card the interest waiver doesn’t apply and you’re charged interest on the full $1,000 from the date of purchase up until the $900 payment is credited. The remaining balance of $100 becomes the “retail revolving balance” which continues to accrue interest until paid off. And that retail revolving balance guarantees you’ll be charged interest on everything you buy moving forward.
Ohmygawd! I HAD NO IDEA! The idea of paying all that interest is insanity and pushed me to convert to cash only during holiday shopping. I don’t want to be hit with a January credit card bill that has me sobbing in a corner.
The Specialty Coffee Association of America, which watches consumer spending of high quality coffee, says that Americans spent $12 billion in 2006. TWELVE BILLION DOLLARS! On coffee? Wow! If you’re saving $20 a week by drinking less coffee (or taking it from home) and you’re 30 years old, eliminating that one bad habit will mean $84,000 in your pocket. Yup, $84,000! That some pretty expensive coffee.
I had to add this tip because it blew my mind. $84,000 is huge! It can pay off major debt and by my calculations 28,000 coffees will equal 579,734 trips to the bathroom. Nobody has time for that during the holidays.
Be sure to check out Gail’s website for more amazing money saving tips.
Do you have a fabulous shopping or saving tip? PLEASE share, we all need a little help this time of year to make our dollars go as far as they can.