It’s that time of year again to . . . spend, spend, spend! Depending on the holiday, shoppers spend billions of dollars on holiday gifts, decorations, food, etc. Stores are offering to open earlier and close later so that you can get a “great deal” on their merchandise. Hundreds even thousands of people stand in lines at stores for days for items that are few in quantity. Only to hear on the news that shoppers were trampled, fighting, or killed over a $20 Elmo doll.
If you must go shopping . . . be smart! Don’t let the price tag define you! Money can’t buy self-esteem, self-worth, and love. Money can only remedy problems, never solve! If you can’t afford to go shopping . . . so what! Most families globally are struggling financially and can’t afford basic necessities. The value is in the time spent bonding, cooking, creating, laughing, and sharing stories.
To ensure you can afford to pay a few bills once the holiday season is gone, below are a few tips:
- Stay warm– most parts of the country and the globe are experiencing Arctic – like temperatures. If your wife can’t get a new diamond ring because you bought a new generator on sale . . . oh well, at least she will be warm with lights while the power is out.
- Stay brave– most stores will ask if you would like to open a credit card and save 10% on your purchase. Just by saying no, you save 18% or more on the interest rate and future payments.
- Stay committed– most parents give in to their children’s gift wishes regardless of the child’s behavior. Give a gift comparable to what the child deserves. A 17-year old who is failing in school and disrespectful at home requires discipline not a new convertible sports car.
It is amazing to me how people find enjoyment in sharing the “retail price”‘ they paid for an object. You see it everyday, someone bragging about an expensive car, yacht, or home they purchased. Those with little to no money will brag about the shoes, sneakers, clothes, or a purse they just bought for the full retail price.
I find pleasure in how much money I saved for a purchase. When I receive a compliment on anything . . . I could just say “Thank You”, but no, I have to share that I paid 90% less than the actual retail price.
My point is why pay retail if you don’t have to. If you are a college student, apply for financial aid, scholarships, and grants. REALLY!!! I helped create and award scholarships and it is unfortunate every year that the money just sits there. Nationally, millions of dollars for higher education is waiting to be given away.
If you stay-at-home or are unemployed, recycling items around the house can be used to make something old . . . new again . . . it requires time not money. Or gather those things for a garage sale or donation.
You can save money by cooking at home. Prepare your meals to take with you to work. Learn new recipes, cook from scratch, cut out those fast food meals which will eventually cost you in dollars and pounds. Make your own coffee or tea, unless you own stocks and bonds in those companies.
Most stores have coupons available through newspaper or online . . . Use them! When you go to a store ask about any discounts, coupons, or price matching. Shop off-season, buy your winter clothes when it is hot and your summer clothes when it is cold. It might sound funny, but you can laugh your way to the bank and deposit the money you saved by not paying retail!