Save and be safe this season
by Melissa Snyder
Dec 05, 2010 | 1718 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The last couple of years it’s as if the holidays sneak up on me. I am definitely not one of the small number of people who complete their Christmas shopping little by little throughout the year. When my sister told me two weeks ago she had all of her shopping finished except for one gift, I realized I was already behind what I normally have accomplished.

If you haven’t made your gift-giving list yet, do that first and do your best to stick to it. It really does help to avoid the urge to impulse buy and overspend on all the “good deals” and sales that are aimed to lure shoppers into purchasing.

Try not to go into debt. Overspending is often something we tell ourselves is OK if it results in a happy family member, but it’s not OK when the end result is debt which causes unhealthy stress on us.

Black Friday weekend bargains were hoping to attract 138 million shoppers according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). According to a survey conducted Nov. 25-27, by BIGresearch for NRF, 212 million shoppers visited stores and websites over the Black Friday weekend — up from 195 million last year. “People also spent more, with the average shopper spending $365.34, up from last year’s $343.31. Total spending reached an estimated $45.0 billion.” Somebody is surely smiling over this big turnout.

One way to keep within a budget is not to shop for yourself. Don’t get distracted by the flashing “SALE” signs and the stocked shelves of new merchandise like I did.

Shopping with a friend last weekend I saw just how easy it can turn to a “treat Numero Uno” event. We found ourselves doing just that — a couple of times even in the dressing room trying on clothing for ourselves!

It’s so easy to justify shopping for ourselves this time of year by saying we deserve it. We need to remember Santa won’t forget us and we need to fill the stockings of friends and family. Giving always feels better than receiving anyway.

Another way to keep from overspending is to search for the discounts and don’t be backward about using coupons. One thing to do is comparison shop. Search the local retailers online for the best price before hitting the stores. It will save money and a little valuable time.

Be safe in the hustle and flurry of the season. While it’s a festive time of the year for us, for thieves it can be a booming time. They target distracted shoppers, look for unattended purses in shopping carts, and for unlocked vehicles with shopping bags and valuables in plain sight to snatch.

Many people are in a rush-race this time of year and don’t take the time to keep things secure and out of sight. If a thief can’t see something to swipe, he or she will move on. It could take as little as one minute to safeguard your valuables in the trunk. You never know when someone is watching you.

While the Christmas shopping season is in full swing, you can never be too careful.