UNITED STATES—Why is it when some of us start our Christmas shopping, we get out of hand so quickly we don’t realize it until it is too late. I started a bit of Christmas shopping this past week and didn’t realize how much money I spent within a two-hour window. I tend to lose control of what I’m spending once the holiday season comes around because I tend to be in too much of a festive mood, which is fine, until you see that bank statement.

I typically start my Christmas shopping during the month of October, but for 2023, I’m a bit late, but sometimes later is better. Why? I was surprised by some of the deals that were being offered by some of the retailers this early into the season. I mean 70 to 80 percent off some items, with clearance being an additional 50 to 60 percent is an even better deal.

That is the problem though, we see a sale, and as the consumer we go a bit crazy sometimes, and we have to put a bit of restraint on ourselves otherwise we’ll get into trouble. In a sense, I was pleasantly surprised with all the deals that I was able to muster up. Why? I didn’t really break the bank, but I did purchase a few items simply because they were on ‘sale.’ That is the problem as a consumer, we see ‘sale’ and automatically think it is something we have to get because it is too good of a deal to pass up.

However, I’m coming to realize that just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean you have to actually buy it. If you don’t need it, or someone on your list doesn’t want it, then save your money. You might think those $5 to $6 don’t matter, but they add up over time and once you start to do the math you realize a significant amount of money has been tossed into the trash. That is money that could have been used to purchase a significant gift on your Christmas list or it could have been used to purchase several smaller gifts.

Think people, think about what you’re spending and don’t just spend for the sake of spending, which is something I am indeed guilty of at times, and I am attempting to change that notion and ideology that I have. The situation is only made worse by the constant rise in the costs of goods today because of inflation. If it is not the costs of gas prices, then it’s the cost of groceries and when those items go up, everything else goes up as well.

I saw candy at the grocery store the other day at $5 a bag. Granted it was Halloween candy, but $5? That is just bonkers, so imagine what the cost of electronics like a TV, mobile phone, camera, video game console, iPad or tablet or other highly warranted items will costs the everyday consumer? I’ll tell you, it is going to be more than what you want to actually spend and when the wallet starts to be crunched because of the constant spending you realize your budget not only went out the window, you may have tapped into funds that were to be used for other things.

When the limit has been hit on the Christmas spending, that is it. Put away the credit cards, put away the debit card, put away the cash, let what has been spent, be what you’ve done for the year. You can go all out if you choose, but when those credit card statements come in at the start of the New Year, you will indeed regret it and then it’s a battle to get rid of that debt that seems never-ending.