Have you caught the shopping bug this holiday? If so, just make sure it doesn't infect your wallet. Holiday shoppers spend $712 dollars on average and such large overspending is one of the contributing factors to long-term debt problems. We asked for cost-cutting shopping tricks from Alexa von Tobel, founder ofLearnVest.com, a personal finance site to empower women to take control of and manage their personal finances. Avoid overspending this yuletide season with these finance-savvy tips:
1. Old Fashioned Shopping List
"Make a list: who are you buying gifts for, who do you need to buy gifts for, what's the range you want to buy them in," Alexa advised. "Put it in your pocket, purse or wallet and carry it with you. That will actually be ever-present to help make sure you don't overspend." How to Write Effective Lists
According to Alexa, retail stores and companies pull out all the stops to loosen our purse strings during the holidays. Simple things like large shopping carts and festive music often go unnoticed but are a major cause of overspending. "If you run around with an oversized shopping cart, you are thirty seven percent more likely to spend than you would be if you were carrying a small basket," Alexa said. "People are seventeen percent more likely to spend when they are listening to holiday music. You will realize stores are blasting it. That's not on accident. It's because you get really excited and caught up in the season and tend to over purchase." How to Deal With Money, Security Fears
3. Use Cash Instead of Credit Cards
"People tend to be much smarter about spending if they are carrying things like a hundred dollar bill or fifty dollar bill in cash rather than their credit cards," Alexa said. As it turns out, she said, studies show that people don't like to break large bills. "Think about it: you are much more likely to break a five dollar bill than you are a fifty dollar bill," she said. "Therefore it is really smart to walk around with cash when you're doing your holiday shopping because you won't have those impulse urges and you'll be forty eight percent less likely to spend."
Alexa von Tobel with interviewer Baruch ShemtovWatch Alexa von Tobel Offer More Cost-Cutting Shopping Tips
Alexa von Tobel is the creator of LearnVest, a personal finance site to empower women to take control of and manage their personal finances. LearnVest offers online budgeting calculators, video chats with certified financial planners on the company's staff, and free e-mail tutorials on topics such as opening an IRA.