Holiday Shopping Tips for Your Spending Personality

Although 41% of consumers report starting their holiday shopping in October or even earlier (Wow! Good for you!), an estimated 69% of Americans will shop over the Thanksgiving weekend. Early research from the National Retail Federation shows that the 2017 season will be a big deal, with holiday spending forecasted to be near $680 billion, up almost 4% from the previous year.

When it comes to shopping for the holidays, we all have our own spending personality and it affects how we approach this major shopping season. Do you create a meticulous spending plan? Do you pride yourself in finding the biggest savings for each gift you buy? Do you wait until the very last minute? Do you focus on donating rather than spending?

In this blog, we’re offering insights and advice for different spending personalities: Savers, Spenders, Risk Takers, and Givers.

red SALE sign with white lights

Are You a Saver?

If you’re a Saver, these qualities may describe you perfectly:

  • Prefers to save rather than spend
  • Actually enjoys saving and is more satisfied having money left over
  • Would rather not buy something than risk paying too much for it
  • Frequently chooses less over more

Being a bargain shopper is no longer a secret shame, and those with a saver personality are happy to tell you about the amazing savings they find. Here how you can get your holiday shopping done this year, with a little extra cash left over.

Start a Holiday Savings Club

One way to ensure that you don’t blow your budget is to save for holiday shopping expenses all year long. With an automatic savings account, you can dictate how much money is deposited into your holiday account each week. With as little as $10 a week, you could save over $500 to put towards holiday shopping, without thinking twice.

Shopping Cart Abandonment

Online retailers have the unique opportunity to deliver specialized savings to their shoppers, and you can use this your benefit. Once you’ve loaded up an online shopping cart, click away from the site. To encourage you to complete your purchase, many retailers will send out an email, in the following hours or days, reminding you to return to their site, often times with a promotional discount code as an extra incentive.

Be Sure You’re Really Getting the Big Savings

The holiday shopping season is overloaded with sales, coupons, and promotions. But how can you tell if you’re really saving or if a retailer is making you think you are.

  • Pay close attention the wording used on price tags. Many off-price retailers use phrases like “Compare At” or “Retail Value,” which seem pretty standard. However, with this wording, there is no guarantee the item ever sold for that price. Instead look for “Original Price.”
  • A lot of times retailers will display products in groups of three: highest price, mid-price, and lowest price. They do this knowing that most consumers will avoid the cheapest option and most expensive option. It’s the middle option that often makes the retailer the most money. If the features are comparable, don’t shy away from the cheaper option.

stylish lady with lots of shopping bags

Are you a Spender?

These qualities might sound familiar to you if you’re a Spender:

  • Has no problem spending money and spends as soon as money is available
  • Likes to give gifts
  • Has a “seize the day” attitude
  • Puts extra money towards enjoyment, pleasure, and self-indulgence

People with an overspending personality don’t care how much they spend or who they spend it on. As a result, they find it difficult to save money and prioritize expenses. Here’s advice on how you can survive with the temptations of “unbeatable prices” and sales that “only happen once a year.”

Have a Game Plan

If this is your spending personality, it’s important to determine a holiday budget and stick to it. Write down each person you intend to buy and next to each person’s name, write down a dollar amount that you want to spend on them. The next step may take more time and forethought, but jot down the specific gift you plan to purchase for each person. Total up the dollar amount and compare it to your pre-determined holiday budget.

If you are under budget, great! Don’t feel the need to increase dollar amounts for the people on your list. Having extra will be beneficial when you realize you accidentally left a person or two off your list. If you went over your budget when making your list, make adjustments by reducing dollar amounts where you see fit.

Leave Your Cards at Home

Bring cash when shopping and leave all your credit and debit cards at home. That way, when the cash is gone, it’s gone! Not only will this strategy keep you on budget and help you avoid impulse purchases, it can also limit the amount of debt you face post-holidays

Are You a Risk Taker?

Do the qualities below pertain to you? Then you may be a Risk Taker:

  • Has an all-or-nothing mentality
  • Likes to negotiate and sees a deal in every transaction
  • Thinks risks are worthwhile since there is a potential for big payoff

When it comes to holiday shopping, a typical financial Risk Taker likes to wait until the last minute. They are not deterred by a smaller selection of colors, styles, or options. They are not even scared of potentially facing empty store shelves. They love a big deal and will take a chance on a lesser-known brand if the price is right.

Last Minute Shopping

Early reports show that 15% of consumers won’t start their holiday shopping until the first two weeks of December, with another 3% only starting the week prior to the holidays. Depending on how close Risk Takers are willing to play it, they may find themselves shopping in-store rather than online. Most major retailers and shipping services have shipping deadlines with cut-off dates if you still want your package to arrive by Christmas Eve.

There is still a last-minute, online option for Risk Takers who have missed their shipping deadline. Many online retailers allow you the option to order and pay for your item online and pick-up at a nearby store. This option is only available, however, if stores are still carrying an inventory of your desired items.

Do Your Research

One of the hallmarks of holiday shopping is “Doorbuster Deals!” that can be only be found at this time of year. Most holiday shoppers will see a $99 HDTV or $39 tablet as too-good-to-be-true, especially when they realize that these incredibly low prices are tied to off-brand products.  But, these deals speak directly to a Risk Taker who will scoop up a great deal on the chance that these products will work just as well as their name brand counterparts.

It’s important for all holiday shoppers, no matter what your spending personality, to do research before making big-ticket purchases. If a doorbuster deal has caught your eye, find the product online and look into its features, and, even more important, customer reviews. The risk and savings just aren’t worth it if your item causes you headache after headache or no longer functions after a few weeks.

Christmas gifts wrapped with Just for You tag

Are You A Giver?

If frenzied shopping is not you’re style, these qualities may best describe you as a Giver:

  • Enjoys helping others
  • Tends to be generous with both time and money
  • Feels responsible for the well-being of others

Red kettles, angle trees, food drives, and donation boxes are all front and center during the holiday season. Givers often have big hearts and small budgets, which can make it tough to determine how charitable giving fits into the picture.

Save All Year to Donate

What if you took a few dollars each week or each month, all year long, and dedicated them to charitable giving?  It’s a little easier to let go of $5 each week, as opposed to $260 in one day.

Most people think of holiday club savings accounts for the purpose of savings funds to purchase holiday gifts.  But if your a giving personality, a holiday account is a good way to start building your donations a bit at a time.  When the money is dispersed (usually in the early fall) you’ll be able to purchase groceries for a food bank, or toys, winter coats, or blankets to fill donation boxes.  Or you can simply pass on the funds to an organization (or two or three) that holds a special place in your heart.

Satisfy Your Giving Personality

This is a great time of year for those with a giving personality. Numerous organizations are looking for donations, whether it be of your time, money, or gifts for those in need. The following are a few ways you can give this holiday season:

  • #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving and is celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Previously, over 700,000 people raised $116,000,000 online in over 70 countries. By visiting the website, you can use the Giving Tuesday directory to help you find organizations, charities, events, and more in your own community.
  • Give your time by volunteering. Volunteer Match is a great website that allows you to find volunteer opportunities in your area. You can filter your search by cause and by the age of the people volunteering. You can even narrow your search to virtual volunteer opportunities.

What’s your spending personality? Do you have any tips and tricks for this holiday season?

Kara Vincent
Kara Vincent

Kara Vincent is the Financial Officer at Lancaster Red Rose Credit Union.