3 Ways To Guarantee Your Holiday Shopping Is Smart And Hassle-Free

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Buy Now. Anyone else feel overwhelmed by all the offers of must-have deals this time of year? You can’t escape them. Ads are everywhere, from email to television to social media. The bargains this time of year can certainly offer a huge financial opportunity, but they can also lead to financial mistakes. In attempt to approach this holiday season smartly and to make it stress-free, I’m doing 3 simple things. I’m sharing them today.

Turtleneck (also love this) | Jacket (similar) | Jeans | Shoes (30% off today) | Lip

Smart Holiday Shopping

Smart Holiday Shopping
1. Plan ahead

Make a list. At the beginning of the holiday season, I made a personal wish list of items. It includes merchandise that fills a specific need (or want in some cases) in my life or someone else’s. And, I’ve been sticking to it. Over the big holiday shopping weekend, I took advantage of 2 sales that made it possible for me to cross a couple items off that list at a discount. Furthermore, shopping with a strict shopping list prevented me from being lured into buying other stuff just because it was 60% off.

2. Comparison Shop In-Store And Online

The good thing about the shopping season is everyone is competing to get your dollars. So, retailers are willing to slash prices, match prices, and adjust prices more than ever. Comparison shopping ensures you’re getting the best prices. I’ve written about an app that could make this process easier by making sure you have the best available coupons/offers for your favorite retailer (read more here).

3. Strategize Shopping Trips

Aimlessly wandering through a mall or shopping district can be overwhelming and exhausting. So many stores, so many offers, so many people! Argh. These days, I try to go shopping with a strategy, for example, I’m going into Sephora to pick up a new brow pencil or I’m heading into J.Crew Factory to pick up the red City Coat. That’s it. Having a mission takes the stress out of shopping and keeps me focused.

Curious about what I shopped during the holiday weekend? I bought the Tory Burch Minnie Travel Flats in King Cobra that I’m wearing and some Tory Burch snake print flip flops. Both items are 30% off (sale ends today). I also bought my hubby a Samsonite hardside luggage set (this 20″ bag and this 24″ bag). The Thanksgiving sale prices were even better than they are right now.

How are you managing holiday shopping this season?

How to Save for the Styles You Really Want

This post is sponsored by Chase.

In 10 years of blogging, I’m so happy that I’ve maintained the Economy of Style motto, namely that net worth does not determine your net style. I continue to uphold the idea that all of our style purchases should be affordable, that is, we are able and willing to pay for them. When there are styles we want but can’t afford right away, why not save for them? Today, I’m sharing my top 5 tips for saving for those special purchases.

How to Save for the Styles You Really Want

1. Choose something to save for. Do you want a new designer bag or that high-end watch you’ve been eying? Whatever it is, write it down. Starting with a specific goal will set everything else in motion.

Finn by Chase

2. Take stock of all of your expenses. Are they wants or are they needs? I started recording my expenses as wants vs. needs, and I was blown away by how much I spent each week on frivolous things like lattes. I don’t even like lattes that much. Finn by Chase, a fully mobile bank that debuted exclusively in St. Louis, makes taking stock of expenses easy and engaging. Finn allows users to mark all expenses as needs or wants with a like, frown, and even an angry face emoji depending on how they make them feel. What I love about the feature is it allows us to visualize our expenses and the motivations behind them. Lattes didn’t make me happy, but I had to visualize my spending on them to really grasp that. A hot tea though? I can drink those all day.

3. Make a Budget. I started accounting for every single penny that passes through my account. Remember this 2011 budgeting post? I still use the same excel spreadsheet to keep track of my monthly spending. Doing so has allowed me to set realistic spending and saving goals and to hold myself accountable for meeting those goals.

4. Make Saving Automatic. Automating the process of saving helps your savings grow without thinking about it. Finn even has an interesting feature that allows you to set your own autosave rules to build savings depending on a purchase. Are you a big coffee drinker? Using Finn, you can set  a rule to save $5 every time you buy a coffee. How easy is that?

5. Pick the Right Tools. Fees can eat away at your balance and hence derail your saving goals. Thus, it’s so crucial to make sure you choose the right tools. I’m a fan of Finn because there are no monthly fees. Right now, there’s even a FREE $50 sign up bonus!

That’s it! 5 easy steps to the big smiles you’ll have when you save for the styles you really want.