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The Top 5 Ways to Stick To A Budget For Holiday Shopping!

This post is sponsored by Zelle®.

Time and money. We all need more of those two things all the time but most especially during this time of year. My mission: you don’t lose any of either and take control of both.

Quick scary stat: 1 in 4 people say they typically go into debt during the holiday season. Being a statistic is not cute. Here’s how you can ensure you won’t be:

MAKE A LIST OF EVERYONE YOU WANT TO GIFT AND HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO SPEND

The first thing I ask people who tell me they blew their budget is if they even had one in the first place! I mean, if it’s good enough for Santa, it’s good enough for me! It’s easy to go crazy clicking and buying–especially if you’re tired or in a bad mood, and not having a list only feeds into that and can quickly lead to overspending. Approach your holiday shopping just like you would approach a trip to the grocery store. Plan ahead, write a list, and know what you are searching for so you are less prone to the pitfalls of online shopping rabbit holes.

SAFEGUARD YOURSELF FROM SALE TEMPTATION

Set your inbox up to work for you. Go through and unsubscribe from retailers’ emails or use a service like unroll.me so you don’t get all the zillions of sale emails inviting you to spend, spend, spend (especially on those gifts to you, from…you). Or, you can set up a newsletter filter in your email so you’re not tempted to get something when that tantalizing email comes through. If you want to get real fancy, set up a whole separate email account just for shopping so when you do decide you are buying something, you can locate the sale email easily but won’t be bombarded on the regular.

GO ON A SOCIAL CLEANSE

A new study found that 40% of social media users are likely to buy what they see in their feeds! And when you see stuff on social media that you’ve “got to have”…it’s usually spontaneous and not planned so even if you do have a budget set up, that social media temptation usually blows it. If you have an iPhone, make Apple’s Screen Time your new best friend, or Digital Wellbeing app if you have an Android. Both will help you try to limit social media time. No one is going on a food detox now, but it might be good to go on a little social detox. Staying present will give your wallet a present.

CLEAR YOUR COOKIES AND OUTSMART THE RETAILERS

You know how when you look at something online it seems to stalk you on the side of your email or Facebook or other sites you’re visiting? And you’re like, “how did the internet even know I looked at that thing?” It’s a smart way companies try to follow you and advertise to you until you buy that thing. So outsmart them by clearing your cookies. Every time you look to buy something, you leave a trail of cookies. Clear your cookies in your browser – each one like Chrome or Safari are a little different, but it’s likely at the top where you clear your browsing data. You can do the same thing on your phone. This way you’ll free yourself from getting stalked any more by those shoes you were checking out a couple of weeks ago.

STICK TO YOUR BUDGET BY SENDING MONEY

Studies have shown that a majority of people want money this holiday–58% of people in fact because it allows them to spend it on whatever they want. Plus, 81% of people would prefer to have some extra money on hand going into the New Year instead of a gift they’ll need to return if they don’t like it. It’s easy to go overboard with gifting, but you can get creative and stay on track by sending money to friends and family with Zelle®. Did you budget 15 bucks for your co-worker? Or $35 for your brother? If you go to a store for their gift, you will rarely stick to that exact amount. Instead, send that co-worker $15 and let them know it’s for their favorite spiked eggnog at the bar next door. Or, send that $35 to your brother and tell him it’s meant to replace the plant that keeps dying in his living room. Include a note to make it personal and sweet for them, and exactly on budget for you.

‘Tis the season to be jolly. And you know what’s a surefire way not to be jolly?? Going broke. No present is worth it if it hurts you in the long run. Stay focused and stay on track…your New Years’ self will thank you.

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