The holiday season is here and whether we want it or not, it is also the gift buying season. I enjoy gift giving and most of all I enjoy shopping for gifts. Some of us shop on-line, and some of us go to stores.
I love the holiday season, and one of the reasons I love it is the shopping. I love going to stores, browsing through shelves, trying on different clothes and accessories. Most of all I enjoy the shopping process itself. It can be quite enjoyable. It also, however, can be pretty frustrating.
When I shop for gifts, I start with a list of things to buy and a budget. I always make sure I evaluate what I can afford this year and try to stay within my budget boundaries. However, somewhere between a scarf for a girlfriend and a purse for my mother-in-law, my carefully prepared and accessed budget goes out the window.
Every year I promise myself to stick to my budget, and every year I fail miserably . It does not happen on purpose. I just think that we, the shoppers, are surrounded by carefully orchestrated opportunities to spend more than we actually planned.
Stores simply trick us into spending. If you want to stick to your budget, watch out for these sneaky ploys that the stores use on us.
Have you ever noticed the similarities between Vegas casinos and stores? The fluorescent lights are turned up all the way, creating an endless impression of a bright day. Shoppers lose track of time, staying longer in stores, browsing through the stuff and, ultimately spending more than they initially planned. Why not make a note of the time and even set an alarm on you phone that would indicate for you the time to leave. Just make sure you do leave!
I have a weakens for so called “charm” prices such as 9.99, 59.99 or 18.99. Somehow those price tags can be very alluring. Don’t be like me and make sure to watch out for those price tags that make clothes and shoes seem cheaper. All these price tags are doing is making you feel that you need to have this particular item because the cost of it looks cheap.
Just Say No
Have you ever noticed that if you ask for an item you are looking, the sales associate hands it to you. Or while you are trying on a few clothes, the sales associate brings something else with the words “This is going to look so good on you.” How does it make you feel? I feel like I have to buy this item that was just handed to me and which, indeed, looks good on me. I learned the hard way that it is perfectly okay to say “Thanks” to that eager to help sales associate and put the item back.
Consumer Report says that we blow more than $40 billion (!) a year on gifts that get returned. Let’s make a resolution this year to not be part of this statistic.