The retail-commercial complex are like the Borg. relentless
Many household budgets are still in recovery from '"back to school" spending. Some of us don't even want to hear anything about money right now, especially spending more of it. But now is the time to prepare for one of the biggest challenges to your family finances, the Holidays' spending.
The retail-commercial-complex is preparing to launch all-out massive assaults on our minds, money, and happiness. Buy,buy, buy.... "Resistance is futile. Assimilate or be destroyed." Here are three things you can do.
BUY MEMORIES NOT THINGS.
It’s almost impossible not to spend money in the USA during holiday time because of the opportunities, the social approval and the messaging to do so are limitless. It now starts with Halloween in early October. Followed immediately by Christmas and its’ greedy spawns: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, Doorbusters, after Christmas clearance sales, etc. It finally winds down in very early January. About 94 days of hyper-consumerism and conspicuous consumption run amok.
Americans spent $707.5 Billion during the holidays in 2018. You are not immune. Since you are going to buy something anyway, buy something that lasts. Most people remember experiences longer than things. Is the preponderance of your fondest memories experiences or things? Special experiences with friends and family will be treasured by both the Giftee and the Gifter. Remember experiences don’t just have to be good to be memorable.
HAVE A PLAN BEFORE THE SEASON BEGINS. Don’t go into this financially hazardous season unprepared. Have plan. Decide how much you will spend for the holidays. People spend money during the holidays on food for celebrations, eating in and out, decorations, gasoline for holiday-related travel to events, errands, and visits.
It is important that you take control of your spending decisions. If you don’t, your spending decisions will control you. Holiday hangover debt is never fun and last longer than the one from that great New Year’s Eve party.
Now that you decided how much you are going to spend. The next step is to decide how you are going to spend it. Will you use only cash or will you borrow from credit cards? If you have to borrow for holiday spending, you need to make sure it is notfinancially self-defeating.You also can make additional income to cover your holiday spending plan.
STICK TO THE PLAN. Now that you have a plan. Stick to it. Believe me, that is far, far easier said than done. Because of the aforementioned messaging and social approval, it is HARD NOT to impulsively spend money during this time of year. Try as you might, you just get worn down and succumb. Let’s face it, buying stuff feels good. That’s the part of consumer psychology that retailers and advertisers have mastered and prey on.
Start implementing your plan early. That could include researching planned holiday purchases or buying before the holiday rush. Perceived time constraints can add to the holiday stress of gift-giving and food preparation forcing bad spending decisions. Look for seasonal employment to cover additional expenses.
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