Whether we are browsing for home accessories or clothing for your children, shopping can be expensive. But Kathy Luisi, a Central Florida mother of four boys, has created and tested a frugal shopping system.
Her shopping trips begin with an empty cart. Without much attention to price tags, Luisi fills her basket with anything and everything that catches her eye, including gadgets for the home or clothes.
''I go through the motions of picking it up and looking at it,'' Luisi says. "I walk around the store [with the merchandise] and I feel like I own it.''
But before she hits the checkout line, reality settles in. Luisi seriously considers the items in her cart and usually discovers that essentials account for only 25 percent.
''Then I put the rest back,'' Luisi says.
This system, she says, offers a cure for the fleeting sense of ''I-gotta-have-it'' that typically hits in stores or malls. Pushing around a cart of fanciful garments and gadgets satisfies the craving for new merchandise without the expense of a full-blown shopping trip.
Here are some holiday shopping tips from the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast:
• Establish a budget. Find and stick to your financial boundaries for holiday purchases, decorating and travel.
• Trim your gift list. Give friends, family and co-workers a reality check by agreeing to cut back on the cost of gifts. Set price limits or find other ways to celebrate, including parties or homemade presents.
• Shop at nontraditional stores. Thrift stores, consignment shops and antique stores offer a range of merchandise, including one-of-a-kind items that may be perfect for a friend or relative.
• Look for the best deals. Coupons, promotions and rebates are available if you shop online or in stores.