It’s Christmas—we get it. You can’t exactly be blamed for your impulsive actions. With roughly a week to go before the 25th (and nowhere near the end of your list), you’re in serious panic mode. Calm down. First of all, malls close a lot later during holiday season, so you still have enough time to complete your Christmas shopping. Second, if you lose your head now, you might end up making these five common money mistakes:

1. Going to battle without a plan
As in a battlefield, there are so many things that could go wrong when you do your Christmas shopping without a strategy: You could run out of money. You could buy all the wrong sizes. You could overpay for your purchases or you could get suckered into buying something you have no use for. You could even forget to get a gift for one of your siblings. The list goes on and on…

2. Foregoing inspection
You might be in a hurry to move on to the next store, but that is no excuse for skipping quality control. Remember, once you buy something, you may not be able to return it again, so do a quick check for holes, tears, and other signs of damage.

3. Letting the salesperson take control
People working in sales are at best persuasive and at worst pushy. Either way, they usually end up making a successful close. Don’t give them the chance to persuade/shame/force you into buying anything you don’t really want. Tell them you’re just looking around. Tell them that you’ve completed your Christmas list. Tell them thanks, but no thanks. Give up control, look just a bit hesitant, and you’ll end up paying for a crappy shirt that’s worth at least P300.

4. Sparing no expense
Shopping with your credit card, especially with today’s buy now pay later schemes, can be exhilarating, and unfortunately, addictive. Before you know it, you’ve racked up a mountain of debt. How are you going to pay for it next year? Are you going to pay it out of your salary or your savings? What if there’s an emergency? What if you get laid off from work? We’re not saying don’t use your credit card; we’re just saying don’t spend like there’s no tomorrow.

5. Falling for love at first sight
How many times have you bought something on impulse only to realize that it just isn’t a practical purchase? Case in point: Those gorgeous stilettos might look great on your sister, but how often can she really use them? Our advice: don’t give your money up too quickly. Consider the idea, but look at your other options. Sometimes, it pays to play hard to get.

(Screencap from Confessions of a Shopaholic courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

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