Monday, December 12, 2016

How NOT to Overspend During the Holidays

Hi, my name is Shay and I'm an impulse spender. As you can see from the title, it may suggest that this post is going to be me, telling you, how NOT to overspend during the holiday season that can be very focused on material objects. But, coming from an impulse buyer, I gotta be honest in saying that I don't have a lot of tips and am guilty of overspending. So, I'm not sure if I'm the best person to be giving advice on money but I have found a few things that work for me! 

Sophia's first Christmas. Oy vey! Talk about excessive!  These were a mix of presents for everyone but probably a fair amount were for her- a five month old at the time. (insert monkey covering eyes emoji)

I've wrote out my Christmas list and checked it twice since early November. Every year, I make a list of everyone we need to buy gifts for, along with ideas. Once I decide for sure on gifts, I write them down and then begin checking them off as they are purchased. This process has helped me immensely in keeping organized but also to keep track of what I've bought, especially for the girls. 

Girls Christmas gifts from Santa last year. We kept to one large item and 2 small items, plus stockings from Santa. Then, from Will and I, 3-5 gifts. We're sticking to the same basic plan this year. 


From November into December, I am bombarded with ads, emails, bloggers and nifty gift guides that make my organized list a thing of the past. Pretty soon, I am adding things to my cart, both online and in stores (Target, I'm looking at you) that were never on my list to begin with. Pretty soon, my contained, well intentioned list has grown and now Sophia has yet another gift in her pile and of course, I have to make it even, so that means adding another gift for Saidey. 

Last week, as I was clicking on yet another link, I had to literally give myself a mental shake and yell, "Stop it lady!!" What is it with this time of the year- where in my head I know that the girls don't need more toys and junk to overflow from their rooms- but when I see sparkly, shiny things, I'm instantly buying things that they don't need? I can be instantly swept up in this time of the year, filling my cart and over doing it. Excess materialistic "stuff" that will result in more clutter and toys for everyone to pick up. 

It's this time of the year that I need to slow down and remember what life is really about.  So, here's what I've done since last week: 

I've stopped looking at any retail emails. 

Keep in mind, I average approximately 30-60 a day, maybe more. I don't even open that folder. Not a glance. I don't need J Crew or Anthropologie alerting me of another sale and free shipping. 

Just delete, delete, delete!

Self talk

This may make me sound a little loony but I literally talk myself through when I have the impulse to buy something NOT on my list- it sounds a little like this, "Shay, you have your shopping done for the girls. They will be happy with whatever is under the tree. They don't need more, all they need is YOU." Or, "You really don't need ANOTHER plaid shirt." Ok, you can't have too many plaid shirts)- so that argument doesn't work so well. =) 

Practice the pause

When I see something that I just LOVE and HAVE to have- I make myself practice the pause. I walk away from the computer (as most of my impulse shopping is done online these days) and engage in something else. If it's still on my mind and I've truly thought about what it will bring to our home, I may go ahead with the purchase. But you know what? Almost every time, the item that I previously thought I had to have, loses its luster after I practice the pause. Practicing the pause has worked miracles and thankfully has resulted in far less packages making their way to me. 


Oh, I love Instagram. It's become my most favorite community of fellow mamas, bloggers and positive energy. However, I'm signed up for like to know it- an app that will email you outfit details if you like a post. It's been an awesome way to find out where people are buying things but it has been a source of impulse buying for me. Bloggers have been putting up gift guides and I get every single email telling me exactly where I can find these gifts. Again, I found myself mindlessly scrolling through items, seeing something that I SWEAR Sophia or Saidey NEEDS and clicking "purchase," without a second thought. And then the boxes come. So, I either have stopped clicking "like" to refrain from even getting the emails or I don't even give them a second glance when I see the email message pop up on the screen. 

It's totally ok to add a few "extras" when it's not on your list but in my case, it was getting excessive and I had to just say no to it all. For me, sticking to my list is hard but it's a must to prevent excessive buying of just more "stuff" that will accumulate in our home. 

Do you find yourself impulsively buying items? How do you manage finances and gift lists during the holidays?