How to avoid overspending during the holidays
It’s that time of year! The holidays. Be it Christmas, Labor Day, or the Fourth of July…you can bet there’s a huge sale coming.
If there’s anything that follows as night does the day, it’s a major retail sale whenever there’s a holiday.
If you do the math on that, that means retailers are having EXCLUSIVE, RARE, and MAJOR sales at least every three months.
And if you are reading this article, you have probably fallen prey to a holiday sale at least once or twice. And it’s understandable! Retailers make big marketing pushes around major (and even minor) holidays, sending you discount codes, reminders, and incentives to SHOP.
While we all know intrinsically that shopping won’t fulfill us or be the thing we remember fondly during a holiday, it’s easy to fall prey to retailers’ marketing tactics. In fact, the percentage of Americans who shopped during the holidays went up 5.1% from 2017 to 2018, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Holiday shopping, at any time of the year, has become so ingrained in our consciousness that many people wait to shop during holiday sales specifically, under the guise of “saved money” or “informed consumerism.”
But for those of us with a history of compulsive shopping, holiday sales can be just another excuse to spend money.
Ultimately, big holiday sales are dangerous for people who can’t control their shopping habits.
So what can we do to resist the temptation to shop during a holiday sale? Here are 6 tips, or affirmations, to keep in mind during the next holiday sale, to keep you from shopping—and keep your money in your pocket.
How to Avoid Shopping during Holiday Sales: 6 Affirmations
1. You don’t need anything else.
Here’s the thing: if you’re reading this blog, you likely have more material items than you know what to do with. Most of us live in material abundance, even when we’re in debt.
It’s why there are so many blogs, books, and TV shows about getting organized—we are simply overflowing with things.
So when you are tempted to buy something new during a major holiday sale, first tell yourself: I don’t need anything else. Eventually, you’ll start to believe it.
2. You already have something like this.
Because you have so much stuff, most of what’s on sale is already in your possession!
This is so even if it’s not an exact copy. In fact, you should start getting comfortable drawing loose comparisons between items you want and items you already have. It’s one of the best ways to avoid shopping during a holiday sale.
For instance, if you had planned to purchase a certain handbag during a holiday sale, it’s exceedingly likely that you already have a handbag that fits the bill. Even if it’s not the exact color or style that you “want,” you have to tell yourself: I already have this, to keep yourself from shopping.
3. You can repurpose something you already have.
If, after doing the mental exercise above, you are still convinced you don’t have something like the item you wish to buy, you likely have something you can repurpose for your current “needs.”
For instance, let’s say you’ve run out of brown eyeshadow, and are looking to replace it with a new palette during a holiday sale. It’s very likely that you own some sort of bronzer…which you can then use as brown eyeshadow.
Get creative. Think long and hard about the items you have, and whether you can repurpose any of them to fit your current “needs.” Tell yourself: I can make something I already own work in my favor and save me money.
4. Your desire for this item isn’t real.
It’s a classic chicken-and-egg situation: Did your desire to shop stem from your awareness of the sale? Or do you truly need the things you’re shopping for?
Aside from the fact that distinguishing wants from needs is a crucial step in training yourself to stop shopping, the important thing here is to always be aware of the root of your desires. If the sale itself prompted the desire to shop, then you should stop shopping immediately; that tells you everything you need to know!
If you had planned your purchase around the sale, think even harder about why you want to shop the holiday sale. Do you want the item because it’s trendy? Because you saw it on Instagram? Because you think it will make you happier?
You have to train yourself to believe that your desire to shop is not real. Even if the desire for a particular new item feels real, the way you combat against it is by telling yourself that you are in control of your feelings, and that the consumer machine making you want more is not in control.
Tell yourself: My desire to shop is fleeting. I did not want this before something outside of myself (CONSUMERISM) created this desire. I will fight against it, and I will win.
5. You are still losing 100% of the money you spend for a discounted item.
Listen: I know this comes as no surprise to you, but you’re still losing 100% of the money you spend on an item that’s 50% off. But it bears repeating, in part because it’s so effective.
One of the reasons why holiday sales are so pervasive is the deals are so good. We feel like the sale gods are doing us a favor by putting a coveted designer handbag on sale, when in reality, it’s just another cash grab—albeit slightly discounted.
You have to start evaluating sales for what they really are: a way to push inventory out, at artificially reduced prices, in order to take your money.
Tell yourself: I am still losing money when I shop a holiday sale.
6. Your money is better spent elsewhere: your freedom.
Never forget the reason why you wanted to stop shopping in the first place. Every dollar you spend is a little bit of freedom you’re stealing from yourself.
The reason for this? You worked hard for the money you earned, which took time—a non-renewable resource. So although you might think you’ll “make the money back,” you’re just continuing the cycle of your valuable time in exchange for money.
Tell yourself: Every dollar I spend during a holiday sale is a dollar stolen from Future Me. If I ever want to be free of the shackles of consumerism, I have to avoid shopping, even during major sales.
As with everything else in your journey to stop spending money, keeping yourself free of the clutches of consumerism during major sales is a learned skill. With time and practice, you WILL be able to do it.
And if you want these stop-shopping affirmations in FREE printable format, click here!