Now that Christmas is over, we can finally recover from the holiday shopping blitz. It seems that no matter how much I tell myself that I will not overspend, I never stick to the program. So, I find myself scrimping for the next three months following Christmas.
For a single parent living on one income however, financial recovery after Christmas can extend much longer than 3 months if budget planning wasn’t successful during the holidays and living comfortably during this after math period becomes a real challenge.
To ease the post holiday financial blues, here are some smart shopping suggestions to help stretch your dollars in your period of recovery:
- Lay-away: if you find a great deal on something you like but can’t afford it at the moment, ask the store about their lay away policy and place a deposit on the item for a later purchase. Big Department stores such as Wal-Mart and Winners have layaways available. Just be careful not to over spend because of the “credit card mentality” of buying everything now and paying later. Layaways have a strict time limit of when the items need to be picked up and paid for in full. If you can’t really afford all the items you’d like to buy then don’t promise to pay for it later because you’ll just find yourself short of money at the time of purchase.
- Off season sale prices: Take note of the stores sale period. Most stores have a consistent cycle of inventory turn over at the end of a season like January or August. They will reduce prices to make room for new arrivals. This is the best time to shop for sales for the following season.
- E-newsletter Promotions: Sign up for e-newsletters with your favourite stores to find out about upcoming promotions and exclusive sales. Some stores are keen on acquiring names to increase their database of customers and they provide incentives, gifts and even better, discount coupons that you can print out and bring to the store to receive your discount offer.
- Packaged deals and offers: Buy 1 get one free or buy one and get the second at half price always seems to work for me. These types of offers can save you money if you plan on buying the same style in different colors. This works well for clothing such as turtlenecks or sweaters from the Gap or Old Navy
- Factory Outlets and liquidation stores: Often times you can buy designer wear at low prices at the factory outlet stores and you can find expensive clothing deeply discounted at liquidation centers from recently bankrupt stores.
- Coupons: Use your coupons for everything you do. If you have an entertainment book, use it for your leisure and entertainment activities as much as possible with friends and family. It’s well worth it.
- Loyalty programs: Use your loyalty membership to receive discounts and rewards. For example, Esso rewards extra points for gas savings, airmiles for free travel and entertainment, President’s choice card for financial rewards and free groceries. Developing the habit of shopping where you will receive loyalty rewards, will save you money. Just be careful that you are not paying extra to earn your reward miles or points.
Hopefully you won’t have to go cold turkey in order to live comfortably during the post Christmas season, but you do need to be a better shopper and more conscious of your spending in order to shorten our financial recovery period.