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The “Don’t Buy It If…” Holiday Shopping Rules

November 26th, 2014 · No Comments · Budgeting

by Kristy Welsh

(Last Updated On: February 26, 2018)

The “Don’t Buy It If…” Holiday Shopping RulesWhether you plan on getting all your holiday shopping in before the end of Black Friday, or you’re notorious for waiting until the last minute on Christmas Eve, the same “don’t buy it if…” rules apply.

Don’t buy it if…

1) It’s not on the list.

You have a list for a reason, not the least of which should be helping you stick to your budget. So instead of leading with specific items beside each name, give dollar amounts the priority, followed by two or three items that work accordingly. This gives you the kind of flexibility you need when shopping during the holidays, but only where your budget can afford it – in your choice of gifts, not how much they cost.

2) You can’t pay cash.

The surest way to stick to your budget – during the holidays and otherwise – is to only buy what you can pay for with cash. This can be a tall order any time of year, but especially during the holidays.

Yes, the holidays only come once a year. But if you’re not careful, your holiday shopping spree will haunt you well into the New Year. Yes, your family deserves to have nice things. But they don’t deserve the months-long struggle and stress that comes from trying to pay off credit card debt for Christmas gifts probably long forgotten.

3) You prefer paying by credit card, but can’t pay it off before the end of the year.

There’s nothing wrong with using your credit cards. That’s their purpose, and it’s how you build your credit score. The problem arises when you carry a balance from month-to-month. This not only negatively affects your credit utilization ratio (and, in turn, your credit score), but also charges you interest on the amount.

Bottom line, if you are not certain you can pay off what you’re charging before the end of 2014, and you’re not absolutely committed to doing so, only spend as much as you can afford to pay for with cash.

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