Today I broke one of my own cardinal rules. In fairness to me (excuse alert!), I was out of my routine.
I headed out to get boots for my daughter. I had 2 coupons in hand, ready to bag my bargain. That part went well, I even picked up a Christmas gift off the Clearance rack. That was one rule I did follow today, always check the clearance rack. But then...
It was still early so I drifted into the grocery store (Dave's) right next door, pricey but they do have free coffee. I found myself under siege! Holiday deals, music, decorations, BOGO's left and right, all attacking my senses, making the all too familiar play for my dollar. Very clever, Dave. But not so fast! "I am a disciplined consumer and I won't fall for your emotional, superficial ploys", I thought. It was at that moment I realized I was losing ground in the very grocery battle I had planned so hard to win... With coffee in hand, I subconsciously reached for my weekly grocery plan, listing the things I will buy this week based on sales and coupons, arranged in envelopes by store. I didn't bring it! I feel odd even writing that but all that corporate training and organization has to creep out somewhere. All I had was the store flier. I felt like I had brought a knife to a gun fight. It reminded me of a few things:
This is the shopping/spending season. Consumers tend to get wrapped up in the season and are not as disciplined with their money. Planning (70% of purchases are unplanned- get into the other 30%) and Discipline (stick to the plan!) are frugally important this season.
Don't leave home without it. Toss the plan, coupon book, etc., in the car whenever you go out. You never know when you're going to need it.
Stores work very hard to get you to buy more. They play on your emotion (holiday joy) and work the science (from colors, to music, carpeting to product placement, etc.) Keep your guard up.
Create the plan and stick to it. That will give you a better chance to identify and avoid the pigs (the stuff you don't NEED)... Today, I saw a sale basket with balloons, "Priced to move- WOW!" The item was still a pig to me, even though it had lipstick on it.
What are some other holiday traps you are on the lookout for this year?