This Christmas finds me shopping far more frugally than ever before. I haven’t finished my holiday shopping because I am trying something new this year. To keep within my very strict budget, I am practicing what I call ‘mindful’ or ‘intentional’ shopping. I’ve always been a careful and frugal shopper. But I have been guilty of over-shopping and over buying. I always found good deals and best pricing, but I just simply spent more than I should have. And the children were younger, so Christmas shopping was just plain more fun. The older the children get the more expensive their presents become. One Ipod or pair of snowboard boots can more than blow the budget. And you still only have one gift under the tree.
This year, I am not only paring down and cutting back, I’m simply not putting as much stuff in my shopping cart. In years, past, I would put all sorts of goodies in my cart, just because these items were on sale. Now I am consciously not adding things to my shopping cart. And before I check out, I go over the whole cart and scrupulously examine each purchase intentionally in my own mind. Does she really need this? How much enjoyment will he get out of it? Does she have other items like this that I have forgotten? Is this the best price I can find? Even if I’ve answered affirmatively to each question, I will sometimes still put the item back.
I’m adopting a ‘wait and see’ policy. I don’t impulse buy for myself as much as I do for my family and children. The advice for impulse shoppers is to walk out of the store without buying an item. Think about it for a few days. After that time you will have forgotten all about the item you were sure you needed. That’s the nature of the impulse buying beast. Impulse shopping creates a false sense of urgency in buyers. Sales principles operate on impulse buying, too. Salespersons are told to ‘close the deal’ quickly, before the customer has time to think it over and change her mind. Dealers and sales people find that those shoppers who say, ‘I think about it and come back later’ almost never do. So I’m using that strategy in reverse, for my arsenal of holiday shopping in a strict budget. I’m not going to ‘just buy it because the store may run out and I’m here anyway, and it looks so great, and, and…’ I’m going to wait, on purpose and think about my purchases very carefully. If the store runs out (and the arctic shelf will probably melt faster) then we didn’t need it anyway.
Am I being a Scrooge? Not at all, in fact I’m actually more cheerful this holiday season because I am choosing gifts with more thought. For more tips on saving money, shopping wisely and beating merchandisers at their own game, visit me at www.pennypincherpost.blogspot.com and www.shopchat.blogspot.com. Happy, healthy, frugal holidays.