If there is one thing that is impossible to accomplish come Christmas season, it’s a diet. So I won’t bother fighting a losing battle, and instead, I shall give my best tips on avoiding a problem my ATM, savings, credit card, and debit card know all too well: spending too much on gifts to your loved ones (and yourself). Thankfully my trip to Malaysia next year, along with an unneccessary salary deduction, let me practice a few necessary saving pre-cautions before my first Christmas gift shopping trip yesterday. Here’s how I successfully came out of 500 concessionaires, yet only bought 10 products for 10 people (and none for myself!).
- Stick to a budget. Yes, we’ve heard it all before, but it’s the oldest and best way to really limit your spending. No matter how many talks you attend or projects you take on to make extra cash, if you don’t limit your expenses, then you won’t have any left for basic needs and emergencies. Sticking to a budget also means the following: (a) controlling yourself, (b) realize and accept that the life of a shopaholic has dire consequences.
- Act like a guy. When guys go out to the mall, they set their sights to one (or two) objects and only buy that. Set a buying goal and only do that. Yesterday, my priority was gifts for my officemates and shoes from Posh Pocket. I was able to get a good deal on the former, and didn’t end up buying the latter because the shoes I wanted did not fit well…which brings me to:
- Do not force a buy. Especially shoes, bags, and clothes. If you have too much of one thing, take a page from my friend Nina: only buy a new thing if you’re giving up or selling one of your old. If you have more than you need, then you only want more.
- It also helps to bring a STRAIGHT guy. As much as girlfriends hate bringing boyfriends, they are very, very useful when it comes to controlling your spending. I gave my bf a list of things I can’t buy: bags, makeup, and only ONE pair of shoes. So whenever I looked at a bag, he would go “oh, oh!” When I did insist on a bag I did like, he offered to make it a Christmas gift–it was then I realized I didn’t want it that much. It wouldn’t make my Christmas wishlist; it just happened to be there and I happened to like what I saw. Also, I would have been forcing a buy.
- Prioritize your expenses. List down what you need to buy and what you would prefer to buy. Yesterday, we were also planning to go to a food market–which is much more important to me than getting clothes or a new bag. So once I bought the gifts, I held back from buying something for myself. I wanted to see how much I would spend on food before splurging on anything else.