Editorial Policy

Do You Treat Yourself While Holiday Shopping?

Kristin McGrath

November 16, 2012

Because I live so far away from my family, I try to do the bulk of my holiday shopping online and send the gifts straight to my parents’ house. Yet, because I often procrastinate on my hard-to-buy-for family members, you can almost always find me at the mall the day before Christmas swearing that, next year, I won’t put my shopping off ever again. And, as long as I’m there, I might as well take advantage of holiday discounts, right?

Sure, it’s Christmas Eve and the clock is ticking — but, when my favorite clothing store has a buy-one-get-one-half-off special on sweaters, I will absolutely try one on and, if it fits, get one for my sister, too. And who am I to say “no” to a huge sale on candles when I’m going to buy one for my mom anyway?

Admittedly, it’s these extra treats that make being at the mall on Christmas Eve tolerable. Plus, because I’m a bit of a cheapskate by nature, my stress-addled brain, amped up on Christmas cookies and Christmas music, cannot resist red-and-green signs screaming “60% OFF”.

I’m not the only one who uses the “one for me, one for you” philosophy when presumably shopping for others. According to projections from the National Retail Federation, 59 percent of shoppers plan to use holiday sales as an excuse to pick up something for themselves this season.  Of those planning to self-gift, the average person will spend $140. Men are predicted spend an average of $165 on these purchases, while women are predicted to spend $116.

Despite the deep discounts offered during the holiday shopping season, self-gifting can torpedo your budget. Need some inspiration for rejecting impulse buys? These personal finance blog posts should help keep you in a frugal state of mind:

Frugal Rules wonders if Black Friday is all it’s cracked up to be.

The Centsible Life suggests earning some extra holiday shopping cash by selling unneeded items on eBay.

Fat Guy Skinny Wallet enumerates the time-saving and stress-reducing perks of online bill pay.

Give Me Back My Five Bucks warns readers about the many ways outlet malls get you to spend more money.

Financial Samurai sings the praises of being financially independent.

Prairie Eco Thrifter shares some tips for saving money on home heating this winter.