Consumer Savings Tips

5 Spending Temptations to Dodge this Holiday Season

We’re only half way through November and you’ve probably already come across some sort of temptation to spend money on something you really didn’t need this holiday season. Whether or not you gave in to that allurement is a test of your willpower to stay focused on your budget. But even if you faltered, don’t let it drag you down. We all make mistakes! The trick to getting back on track is becoming more mindful of what makes your heart tick when it comes to impulse spending during the holidays so you can learn how to put the desire on hold and avoid wasting money.

Here’s a look at the 5 common spending temptations this season brings and how to avoid wasting your money.

Seasonal coffee drinks.

I’m sure Starbucks has a cult following when it comes to their holiday drinks. From the gingerbread latte (okay, this is one of my favorites!) to peppermint frappuccino to chestnut praline chai tea, many coffee lovers can’t resist these flavors especially since they are only available for a limited time–that’s where the FOMO sets in. Considering the average cost for a grande latte runs around $4 a pop before tax (depending on your location), overindulging in this holiday temptation isn’t a smart use of your money. This doesn’t mean you have to forgo your favorite holiday flavors. Check out this awesome list of holiday coffee drinks you can make at home that are cheaper and healthier.

Christmas movie blockbusters. 

Most seasonal movies released around Christmas are sub par at best so why waste your money on overpriced tickets and that unhealthy tub of popcorn you’re going to regret eating an hour later? Save your money and enjoy a free movie night in your living room instead. You’ll find a wide selection of holiday flicks through video-streaming sites like Netflix or you can borrow a Christmas classic like a Christmas Story on DVD from your local library at no cost.

Checkout aisle junk.

Checkout aisles are stocked with all sorts of impulse buys because retailers know shoppers can’t resist festive fuzzy socks, sparkly lip gloss and scented candles. While most are cheap, small purchases of $1 here and $5 there add up quickly so it’s important to ask yourself if you really need these goods before you throw them in your cart.

Festive apparel.

Brands roll out all sorts of adorable, festive clothing for kids this time of year and parents may feel compelled to deck their littles in this seasonal attire. Considering that such holiday-esque styles are only valid for a short period of time and won’t get much use after Dec. 25, it’s better to skip it or stick with solids in red, white and green. This way, he or she can continue wearing the new threads through the new year without feeling like the odd ball out. When it comes to adults, don’t worry about showing off something new at a company party or splurging on the ugliest Christmas sweater. It’s best to save your dough and if you really need to find something new to wear, check out thrift store options for less.

Holiday decor.

People often get swept up in the holiday spirit and overindulge in new decor to achieve that warm and fuzzy Christmas feeling. Unfortunately, when it’s time to put away those decorations, a whole new feeling of guilt and remorse about spending and debt hit, and this tends to linger for a much longer time than that fuzzy holiday joy. If you already have bins full of lights, ornaments, garland and other holiday tchotchkes, don’t buy more before Christmas. Wait until after Dec. 25 to pick up new decor pieces when you can expect to save over 70%.

Every time you dodge an unnecessary purchase, track the money saved. You may be shocked to see what this figure looks like by the end of December!

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