What you need to know:
The holiday season is here and with it comes one of the most tempting activies; shopping. What it about the sounds of Christmas carols that makes us want to splurge?
That time of year, when temptation to splurge is here again. There is something about the festive season that loosens purse strings and makes even the most frugal people go overboard with shopping.
What if there was a way you can buy gifts, shop for décor without digging a hole in your annual savings? Here is how to shop smart this holiday season.
Before you embark on your holiday shopping spree, come up with a budget. Put down a definite amount you will spend and spread it over all the purchases you will make. Be realistic about your budget and commit to it.
Make sure everyone you need to buy gifts for this year and your personal purchases are all covered. If you are the kind who never knows what they want until they see it, at least set a price limit. That way you will not be tempted to spend too much out of poor planning.
Be practical, learn to say no to requests that are unnecessary be it for your children or your own.
Do not fall for false advertising
With all the discounts this season, it is easy to convince yourself that you are saving by buying items on sale. The truth is that every time you buy something, you are spending, not saving. Only buy the items you need not because they are affordable.
To overcome temptation, remind yourself that if you already have one at home, you do not need another one. Do not let the excitement of so many great deals be the reason you enter the New Year broke or in debt.
Another advertising gimmick to watch out for is the deceptive offer which is usually a way to get customers into the door. If you see a 50 percent off offer followed by the terms and conditions disclaimer, take a closer look.
Research on major purchases
With Black Friday deals and Christmas discounts, this is the perfect time to buy expensive items such as laptops, flat-screen TV, camera, cookers and fridges among others.
To make smart purchases, spend a little time checking out the various options and brands available. Read the reviews, figure out some base prices and make a list of at least the top three options you want so you know what to look for. You might even surprise yourself and find that what you thought you wanted and what you really want are two different things.
Go to different stores and compare prices or check online and pick a few of your favourites. It cannot be stressed more not to let the excitement of a hot deal blind you. If it beyond your budget let it go, there are more deals out there.
Be patient and compare prices to get the best deals and avoid overpaying. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Do not be fooled by the lure of great discounts.
Possibly the biggest benefit online shopping is the convenience. You can shop from anywhere and at any time, without having to brave the queues to pay for your items. You also do not have to worry about parking and being pushed by strangers just to get to the counter.
Thanks to the wonders of technology, you can now have those items delivered to your doorstep and most of the time it is even free. Also in case you have to pay for delivery, make multiple purchases from the same online store, which will save you on delivery costs as you will only pay for one delivery.
While online register for discount codes or special deals, which will help you save money. Also if you shop online frequently, take advantage of credit card companies for perks such as points, miles, flights.
While online beware of scams. Look out for fake package tracking emails, fake e-cards, fake charity donation scams and emails requesting that you confirm purchase information.
Before making purchases from a website or online company for your holiday purchases, read reviews and see if other customers have had positive or negative experiences with them. Also, verify that the websites are legitimate, if they look suspicious get a phone number of a sales person and speak to them.
Protect your passwords. Make them long and strong, never reveal them to anyone, and use multi-factor authentication (MFA, also called two-factor or two-step authentication).
Watch out for deceptive discounts
To prevent impulsive purchases and wasteful spending avoid time-bound offers because they offer lesser discounts. So, the notion of heavier discounting during the festivities might not be true in all cases.
Go for quality
Although we all want to save, remember the best saving is buying quality items. One nice high quality item will serve you longer than 10 cheap ones. When you go out shopping find things that have true value and not things that are available or affordable. As easy as it is to get caught up in all the excitement of holiday shopping, remember that Christmas is not about what or how much you can get. Spend your money wisely and value those things and give gifts to those people that really matter.