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Merry, Mindful and Money-Savvy: Avoiding impulse spending this holiday season

 

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With the holidays right around the corner, we’re all excited about presents, family gatherings and decorating the tree. But let’s get real, there’s also a not-so-merry side to the holiday season: the urge to spend impulsively.

Have you ever noticed the increase in retail discounts and advertisements during the silly season? Stores do this intentionally to try make you splurge, There are a few reasons why we think we can’t resist impulsive buys such as the fear of missing out (FOMO), discount illusions and emotional factors.

We’ve broken down a few of the psychological and marketing tricks retailers use – and how to avoid them.

Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)

In a world where everyone’s life is on social media, it can be hard to avoid the feeling of FOMO, especially when it comes to shopping. New releases, products and toys also don’t help at this time and can entice you to spend more.

Discount Illusions

Retailers love to make it seem like they’re giving you a generous deal over the holiday season, by displaying signs like: Sale, Limited time offers and Holiday deals. This creates a sense of urgency for shoppers and can lead to impulsive buying.

It’s important to always question the real value of the discount and decide if it is something that you would have bought at its regular price.

Emotional tactics

Emotions play a huge part in holiday spending. We all want to make our loved ones happy by gift giving and celebrating but this can lead to overspending. Retailers know this and will play on your feelings with ads and promotions.

It’s crucial to take notice of your emotions when shopping and question whether or not you really need that item or you’re just feeling the ‘Christmas spirit’.

 Strategies to keep your spending in check

  1. Have a plan and budget- Before you even think about going shopping, create a budget that covers all of your holiday expenses. Be sure to include expenses for gift giving, traveling, decorations, parties etc. and make it as accurate as possible.
  2. Make a gift list- Write a list of everyone you need to buy a gift for, along with gift ideas and stick to this list when shopping.
  3. Set limits– Decide how much money you’re going to spend per person/gift and stick to it.
  4. Be cautious of sales– If you find a great deal for something you had planned to buy, that’s great. Just don’t let discounts trick you into buying things that you wouldn’t purchase otherwise.

Knowing the ‘science’ behind holiday shopping when it comes to psychology and marketing can help to retain control of your money during the holiday shopping. Enjoy the holidays by making wiser, more wallet-friendly choices.

Like every article on TomorrowMoney, this is not personal financial advice. If you need help with debt, you can contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007. 

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