This is one of those occasions where you might be stressing out on what to buy for your loved ones and shopping tips will come in handy. However, these tips are geared to help you manage your funds. It will not give you clues on where to get that diamond necklace or those sneakers your partner is obsessing about. The idea is to be able to celebrate Valentine’s Day with as little financial stress as possible.
With this in mind, one of the first things you could think of is shopping for less expensive items. Although your main concern would be coming off as a cheapskate if you choose an item of lesser value. That would be the least of your concerns. You need to make sure that you still have enough left if you plan to splurge on gifts this Valentine’s Day.
NRF.com shared that for this year, US consumers are looking to spend about $18.2 billion in total this month. This comes off at about $136.57 average per consumer. The good thing about it is that it is actually lower than last year. In 2016, people averaged more than $145 to make their special someone feel loved.
Right at this moment, your heart could be racing not just from how much you love your significant other. You might already be stressed trying to think of ways how to buy a gift and still keep your budget intact. Here are some shopping tips to keep in mind this Valentine’s season to help keep your finances in order.
Save more by getting more
This is one of the most common debt traps consumers fall into when shopping for loved ones. You would always find that stores would have great promos that are meant to help you save money. Or so you think you are saving money. Take for example a “buy one, take one” promo the store is offering you.
Who wouldn’t want a free item? Especially if you get to have them while you are going about your shopping chores. The message is very clear – if you buy one specific item, you get another one absolutely free. However, this sways your decision making into making a purchase you might not have even thought of.
Do you really need that item? Was that what you really wanted to buy? Why are they giving items away? These are just some of the questions you need to answer. They might be stocks from last season that is why they are making room for new ones. It is also possible that they have small defects. If it is really something you want and you have the money then, by all means, buy them. Just be aware that you could be swayed to buy items you don’t need because of promos.
Impulse buying can put you in the red
This is undoubtedly one of the financial pitfalls that can hurt you early in the year. Impulse buying stems from the fact that you do not have a plan whatsoever with your purchases. You might just be walking around the mall and you see a nice gift for your loved one. You immediately go in and buy it without any seconds thoughts because you are a romantic person. This is one of the shopping tips you need to take note of.
As you walk away from the store, you might feel that the paper bag on your hand is getting a little heavier. You get home and start to think if you made the right decision. As soon as you receive your credit card statement, you panic not knowing where to get the money to pay for that gift.
One effective way to curb impulse shopping is to leave your credit cards at home. Use only cash that you have on hand. This is great until such time that you have a handle on your behavior. Until then, you need to experience how actual money leaves your hands to pay for purchases. It is a lot harder than just signing away on a receipt.
Getting store cards for a discount
Once you are already at the store counter ready to pay for a purchase, some stores would offer you a store card. One of the shopping tips you need to remember at this specific point in time is that store cards usually have high fees and rates. They can give you great discounts but once you screw up, those rewards might not be worth it.
Creditcards.com shared that an average household carries a credit card debt of about $9,600. Getting into trouble with late payments on store card purchases would certainly increase this number. If you regularly shop in that specific store then the store card might be a good idea. You also need to take into consideration how you pay off your statement. It is best that you pay the entire amount off and not carry over balances to the next month.
If you are able to handle and control yourself with your credit card purchases then good for you. If not then you better assess your relationship with your plastic. Credit cards have made themselves almost indispensable in anyone’s finances. This has led to many people believing that their credit limit is as good as cash.
Though you can certainly make a purchase with your card, you need to remember that it is far from being synonymous with cash. In essence, the money you get from credit cards is short term loans from your lender. They extend that to you up until your credit limit would allow. Non-payment or even minimum payment would allow them to tack on fees and penalties on your account. This would increase your succeeding payments.
You can actually use your credit cards to improve your credit score. There are also some people who use their cards to manage their budget and it works. The idea here is to know what role your plastic cards play in your finance. Is it there for emergency purposes? Are you using it for the rewards? Or is it there to help you repair your credit? Understanding your relationship with your credit card can help dictate how you will use them.
Avoid retail therapy is one of the shopping tips you need to consider
Sciencedaily.com shares that there are a lot of factors that come into play when talking about retail therapy. The article shares that jealousy is one potent driver in getting people to shop more than the usual. It goes to show that your emotions play a big part in helping you shop better. This is because there are times it overpowers common sense. If you know for a fact that you are running high on emotions, it might be a good idea to suspend any shopping plans for the meantime. Wait until you cool down so you can make better shopping decisions.
There are a lot of shopping tips you will come across especially as Valentine’s Day draw near. The best thing to do is keep an open mind and try to think of your finances when you shop for a gift for your loved one. Remember that it is better to enjoy a movie night at home with home cooked meals rather than an expensive night out if it will mean additional debt.