It`s the holiday season again. In a couple months we can look forward to the leaves changing colors, the smell of Thanksgiving turkey, and the first snowstorm. With that comes buying enough groceries to feed a feast of 10 people, buying Christmas presents for your whole family, and other expensive, yet important things.
Sad but true, one thing that is unique about the holiday season is how much consumers spend. More so than any other time, during the holiday season consumers are more likely to purchase in lump sums and cough up receipts that six times as much as what they would have spent during other parts of the year. For Example, the average consumer spends about $100 a month on clothing during the year (excluding holidays), during the holidays consumer purchases average $600.
From October to January, or from Halloween to New Years, consumers can overspend and rack up to about $1,000 worth of debt. That`s an average of $3,000 in debt in a quarter of a year. Most consumers pay off these debts in the same manner that they pay off the other debts, but this can be an inefficient payment plan.
Try planning ahead for the holiday season by saving throughout the year. If that`s not possible, try shopping with a few things in mind.
- It`s Not Always About Name Brands. We flock to name brand products because they are the most familiar to us. Honestly, a name brand doesn`t guarantee the best quality. Do your research and see if a no-name competitor can give a better option at a cheaper price. This can help you out at the grocery store when shopping for Halloween pumpkins or for that Thanksgiving turkey. It could also apply to any electronics you purchase.
- Need vs. Want. Make sure you know the difference. It can be hard to differentiate during the holiday season. Writing down a list will help you stay focused next time you head to the store. Try and stick to the list, but don`t beat yourself up if you need to pick up one or two extra items.
- Keep Your Receipt.If you have issues with any of your purchases make sure to have your receipt handy. Also, understand the stores return policy when making a purchase. Some items may be on 'final sale,' others may have a seven day return policy, and others might only offer gift cards when you return your item.
The best option is to save money ahead of time to prepare for the holiday rush, but if you can`t and a credit card is your only option, use it wisely.
And try not to overspend this holiday season.