at this time of year can be a serious problem, leading
to a holiday hangover in January, when credit card bills
prevent a buildup of shopping anxiety and binge buying
during the season, shopping and finance experts offered
some tips to help shoppers navigate stores.
a realistic budget. Courtney Jespersen, retail and
shopping expert at NerdWallet, said the prime reason
many people bust their budgets is they donít think of
the total cost. Holiday spending is not just about
have to remember travel, the cost of food, wrapping
paper, bows, greeting cards, all of it, so you donít
end up being surprised when you need to buy
something," she said.
recommended taking advantage of online and mobile app
budgeting tools. Two of her favorites are You Need A
Budget, good for year-round budgeting, and Santaís
Bag, which focuses just on Christmas lists and holiday
spending. These apps allow users to set budgets and log
when they make purchases, allowing them to see their
spending in real time.
for retail subterfuge. Make a list of products to buy,
and research prices ahead of time to limit last-minute
shopping and impulse buying, say Jespersen and Brad
Klontz, educational partner with Chase Bank and
associate professor of financial psychology at Creighton
bottom line is that the retail outlets are set up in
such a way to separate you from your money," Klontz
current prices from different retailers is as easy as
entering a product name into an internet search engine.
For shoppers looking for price trends, the website Camel
Camel Camel is a historical price tracker for goods sold
on Amazon, Jespersen said. It shows how much an item
sold for over the course of a year and can be a
reference to see how current prices compare with the
strategically place items in stores or target online
shoppers with certain goods to encourage impulse buying.
Donít fall for it. Klontz recommends putting some time
between when you select a product and when you purchase
it, whether itís walking around the store or putting
items in an online cart but waiting to buy.
yourself questions about whether you need it stimulates
the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that is
responsible for impulse control and judgment,"
cash instead of credit cards curbs overspending. Pretend
your credit card is a debit card to prevent racking up
bills online, Jespersen said.
holiday giving. Talking to family or friends about gifts
may also reduce anxiety and the pressure to overspend,
a good idea to talk early. That way, everyone can set a
price limit, so no one person shows off and spends way
more than you can afford," Jespersen said.
yourself up about overspending is counterproductive,
said Klontz and Michael Liersch, head of behavioral
finance at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. Instead,
step back from the idea of how much to spend, and think
about why youíre giving a gift. That changes giving
from being about how much money is spent to the intent
of the gift, regardless of cost. And tell the person why
you chose it.
youíre giving a gift to someone, make sure itís
accompanied with a narrative. Ö Even if itís as
simple as, I know itís something you might not
normally spend money on; I want you to enjoy yourself.
The narrative makes it more important to the person
giving it and the person receiving it. It creates an
alignment and connection," Liersch said.