Saturday, October 27, 2007

11 Tips to Cut Holiday Shopping Costs

Most Americans accumulate the greatest amount of debt during the December holiday season. The holidays should be filled with joy and laughter not anxiety, pressure or guilty about spending money during the holidays.

If you don't have the money to buy gifts be honest and tell the persons who are expecting gifts just that. If you have a small amount of buy to buy gifts buy what you can and don't use your credit card to buy gifts unless you have the money to pay the debt off in two or three months. Here are 11 tips to help you save money during holiday shopping.

  1. Don't buy gifts on Christmas eve or the day before Christmas eve. Selection is limited and lines at the register are longer.
  2. Buy Christmas or holidays gifts during store sales in October or November.
  3. Spend less money on gifts this year than you did the previous year.
  4. Visit local vendors, you can probably negotiate a good deal on the same items you will find in the department store.
  5. Think of creative gifts to give that you can make yourself.
  6. Visit the local dollar store to find gifts for children.
  7. Get a part-time job until Christmas arrives if need money to buy gifts (this will prevent you from using that credit card).
  8. Buy gifts throughout the year so you don't feel overwhelmed with buying all of your Christmas or holiday gifts at once.
  9. If you have to buy gifts for several family members try doing a "secret Santa" or "grab bag" so only one family member has to buy a gift for one family member and set a limit on the amount spent. That way everyone gets a gift and you don't have to worry about buying several gifts.
  10. Shop online, some companies waive shipping and handling fees during the holiday season.
  11. Make getting out of debt one of your new year's resolutions.

Copyright © 2007 H.E. Freeman Enterprises

Friday, October 19, 2007

Instant Grati Syndrome

As a baby when you cried your mother or father came running to take care of you. As a toddler when you cried your parents hugged or talked to you until you stopped. As a teenager when you wanted something you talked really nice and sweet to your parents to get it. Throughout your life you may have received gratification instantly so as an adult it is only natural for you to believe that you should continue to receive this treatment. Unfortunately, this attitude affects every aspect of your life even your spending habits.

It can be difficult to resist the temptation of the instant gratification culture of America which I call the "instant grati factor". Advertisers make consumers believe everything can be obtained instantly by creating instant cereal, instant coffee, instant meals, instant messaging, instant credit card approval and online shopping. I have labeled this behavior as the "instant gratification syndrome" or "instant grati syndrome". To determine if you are a victim of "instant grati syndrome" ask yourself the following questions:

1. If you see an item online or in the store do you buy it immediately?
2. Do you buy an item even if you don't need the item or the item is not in your size?
3. Do you buy an item with your credit card even though you know you don't have the money to pay the bill when it arrives?
4. Do you get upset or defensive when someone questions your poor spending habits?
5. Do you rationalize your poor spending habits by saying things like "I work hard I deserve it", "Why can't I have it", "You are not my father, I can buy whatever I want", "I just had to have it", "I don't have to answer to you", "I want it now", or "I can buy it with my credit card"?
6. Is your home filled with unused items you purchased or items that still have the tags on them?
7. Do you go shopping with money already set aside to pay a bill?
8. Do you hide items you have purchased from your spouse, children or significant other?
9. Do you buy a new outfit every time you go to an event or gathering?

If you answered yes to any of these questions you are a victim of the "instant grati syndrome". Here are 6 ways to avoid the "Instant Grati Syndrome:"

1. Make being debt free your ultimate goal
2. Stop listening to the instant gratification messages
3. Live your life like an investor
4. Surround yourself with people who are investors or people who are in a better financial situation
5. Enjoy the little things in life
6. Stop being depressed

This behavior is difficult to change but it can be changed. Don't buy on impulse - think before you buy and determine if the item is a want or a need. Embrace the old values of working hard and saving your money to buy something. So the next time you buy something with a credit card ask yourself, am I a victim of the "instant grati" syndrome?

Instant Grati Factor and Instant Grati Syndrome Copyright © 2007 H.E. Freeman Enterprises