Surviving Holiday Shopping – 10 Tips to Staying on Task

Are you cognizant of the emotional, visual, psychological advertisements of the holiday season? The National Retail Federation forecasts holiday retail sales to increase by 2.3 percent this year to $447.1 billion. While this is a moderate growth indicator from the previous years where 2008 was -3.4 percent and 2009 as 0.4 percent, it suggests consumers are overcoming the ripple effects of the recession.

In my opinion, it connotes consumers’ remembrance of the timeless wisdom of Benjamin Franklin: A penny saved is a penny earned. They thought twice before spending their hard-earned dollars. On the same token, a positive growth indicator means we are taking baby steps out of our cozy, safe homes and into the long, long lines at the department stores.

Advertisers know consumers will be armed with cash, debit cards, credit cards, and charge cards to purchase items during the holiday season. Advertisers are aware of the shift in mindset occurring during the holidays. It never fails. Entering any store during the holidays you will hear loud music, see enticing packages, along with smelling enchanting, aromatic perfumes in department stores. Consumers are lined up at the doors at 4:00am to catch the hottest deals, especially during Black Friday. And, once Black Friday is over Christmas is just around the corner. However, with unemployment at almost 10 percent, and credit remaining tight, I believe consumers will closely plan their spending.

Here are tips that will ease the emotional, visual, and psychological anxiety of holiday shopping along with tips to save money for the holidays:

1. Designate an allowance aligned with your financial goals. You can possibly have credit card debt, car loans, and/or other monthly expenses while simultaneously you are working towards paying off your credit card debt, saving for an emergency fund or a down payment for a home. A key question you should ask yourself is how will this allowance affect the results of my financial goals? Allocating money for holiday spending may or may not affect your financial circumstances. However, an allowance provides spending parameters. It also requires planning how the money will be spent.

2. Layaway. Layaway used to have a stigma. Not anymore. If you want to purchase me