Your Guide To Shopping For The Holidays Without Going Into Debt

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You know the best time of the year is approaching when all of the retail holiday gift guides are out, basically threatening you to choose from their curated lists of odds and ends or be forced to spend the coldest months alone. It’s going to be hard not to dive head first into a sea of plaid and gilded barware (that you really have no use for because of the disturbing amount of time you spend drinking out of the bottle) but please, I implore you, hold back. You can outsmart the retail cycle by holding out until your favorites go on deep clearance right before Christmas. Plus, you’ll actually have the dough saved up to buy nicer options than the flammable mound of acrylic you would have otherwise picked up at F21.

1. Make that holiday list and check it twice.
What do you need? Like, actually need? No, this isn’t an existential question. Actively go through your closet and decide what you need more of or can picture yourself wearing in front of a roaring fire in your Aspen lodge dream sequence. On that same note, donate anything that you haven’t worn in a year. It’s just taking up valuable real estate in your closet.

2. Stick to that list.
I know it’s hard and you’re going to get a billion emails about how the sale is going to another 60 percent off from every damn store, but stick to your list. You’re not being a martyr, you’re just practicing self-restraint. Think of it as a conditioning tool so you can fool yourself into thinking you’re more grown up.

3. Work out a budget beforehand.
It’s obviously better to buy a few excellent things than a ton of crappy things, and your credit card statement at the end of the month will agree with you. Stick to that budget–going into debt isn’t cute. Or fun.

4. Realistically know how much you want to pay for the items on your list.
There are always going to be two prices. There’s the one that the store tries to sell the item for, and then there’s the price of the item that you’re actually willing to open up your wallet for. Look at the fabric content of the item. Is it silk? Wool? A poly blend? How many seasons will you be able to realistically be able to wear it? Are you going to hate it in three months? If you absolutely love it and it’s actually good quality, be more willing to snap it up in the first few tiers of sales before someone else does. If you can live without it, keep checking on it until it hits deep clearance. If it’s still around come Christmas and you still feel the desire, pull the ripcord and go for it.

By keeping your holiday list in mind, you can safely navigate the treacherous waters that is the season of sales and impromptu purchases. Good luck and go get yourself something nice.

Image via Shutterstock

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To quote Dr. Seuss, "Being crazy isn't enough." Writer living in NYC.

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