Well this is a big bummer.
Our well-intentioned efforts to save money are apparently costing us more.
In 2016, nearly 40% of Americans went overboard with holiday shopping (same life). But what’s truly shocking is that shoppers who chased sales and clipped coupons were 45% and 22% more likely to overspend than those who didn’t, according to research from The Center for the New Middle Class.
Let the unfairness of that sink in, then put down those Black Friday circulars and step away from the sales rack.
But if you just can’t give up the rush of doorbuster deals, follow these tips to avoid overspending.
Make A Holiday Budget
And stick to it! The same study found that those who didn’t set a budget at all spent more than intended. Decide early on who you’re buying presents for and how much you want to spend for each. Look at your bank statements from last year to get an idea of how much you spent. If you ended up stretching your budget or going into debt, decrease your spending limit, trim your shopping list or consider alternative gifts like DIY creations or experiences you can put together. Then, funnel your reserves into a separate savings account to be used only for holiday expenses.
Don’t Buy Into Impulsive Deals
“Because it was on sale!!!” is an all-too-common excuse for buying something you didn’t need in the first place. If this sounds familiar … well, stop that, especially this time of year when markdowns are at every turn. Buy only what’s on your list and comparison shop for discounts instead of letting the sales guide your spending.
Redeem Those Rewards
Sitting on airline miles or cash-back points from your credit cards? Use them now to offset costs on everything from travel accommodations, transportation, gifts and food — especially since $16 billion worth of rewards go unredeemed every year.
Try Using Cash
To really make sure you stick to your holiday budget, consider going all-cash. After all, among shoppers with a credit score below 700, those who paid with credit or debt were 89% more likely to overspend than those who used cash.
Remember, It’s Not All About Gifts
Between cross-country travel, office party threads and end-of-year tipping, presents are far from the only thing you’ll spend on this season. One-third of survey respondents said their largest holiday expense was something other than gifts, so remember to account for everything in your holiday spending plan.