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Doing Life Together

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Gray Thursday, Black Friday, Cyber Monday…get ready for the before and after Christmas sales. Seems there is always a sale, a pull to get us to buy more! But considering most of us are on a budget, we need to say NO–move away from the display and exercise shopping restraint!

According to the annual Harris Poll conducted for SunBank Trust, 40% of us feel pressure to overspend during the holidays. And if you are a parent of children under the age of 18, over half of you feel pushed to spend more than you can afford.

So here are a few tips to help prevent holiday overspending:

1. Follow Santa’s lead, make a list, check it twice and only buy for those on the list.

2. Give what you can afford, not what others may expect or what you think you need to do to impress others.

3. Have a budget and stick to it. Set aside money to spend and then stop when that amount is gone. A great deal still costs you something. If you are over budget, pass it up!

4. Pay cash instead of credit. I know, who carries cash, but during the holidays, you may want to consider for this reason. It is less psychologically painful to swipe a card than pay cash. With a card, you overspend more. It doesn’t feel like real money.

5. Avoid last minute shopping. The stress of finding that last minute gift can result in picking up something you didn’t plan or something too expensive. Plan ahead!

6. Avoid on-line shopping deals. The emails come flooding in during the holidays and if you have any impulse or addictive tendencies, online shopping can really add up credit card bills. So whether you are watching a shopping channel or surfing the net, don’t click BUY without considering the cost. Yes, it is a good deal, but can you afford it and do you need it?

7. Avoid the impulse buys. Even if you think someone will love the gift, wait 24 hours and reconsider. If you still think it is a great idea, go ahead, but most of us will reconsider and realize it was only impulse moving us to purchase.

OK, get out there and finish your shopping but be careful to avoid buyer’s remorse!

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