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This Week in Your Wallet: January 3, 2012

Three days before the crowds swarmed around Times Square on Saturday night to see the ball drop, a smaller gathering occurred for a different type of countdown to the new year. The square, equipped with a giant shredder, dumpster and sledgehammer, hosted the fifth annual Good Riddance Day. For the hundreds of people who participated, it was a chance to say goodbye to all that plagued them in 2011. Deployment papers, pictures of exes, medical bills — you name it and it was probably shredded, trashed or hammered to bits.

I’m sharing this with you because I find that it’s one of New York’s quirkier events (not to mention a fairly well-kept secret), and also to ask: what will you be saying “good riddance” to from 2011? What are you most looking forward to in 2012?

Personally, I’d love to say “good riddance” to high gas prices, but based on an article I recently read, I might have to wait until 2013 for that to happen. Dealnews.com took a look at some items that will be increasing in price this year, and gasoline definitely made the list. Among the other items facing less-than-ideal price hikes:

However, since I hate to be the bearer of all bad news, there are some areas that will see better sales in 2012:

For more deals to look forward to in 2012, click through to this SmartMoney article. And now here are the other headlines for the week:


Another reason to hate beer goggles

I’m sure I’ve told you not to shop while you’re hungry or angry, as both can lead to buying things you really don’t want or even need. Well, based on this New York Times article, it looks like I’m going to have to add one more caution to the list: don’t shop when you’ve been drinking.

Retailers are noticing that after happy hour (or even a night on the town), online traffic is up. To respond to this demand, sites like Gilt Group are adding a round of sales that will start at 9 p.m. From the retailer’s point of view, it makes sense: after a few drinks, you’re less inhibited (in all sorts of ways) and therefore more likely to splurge on those decorative pillows or designer jeans than when you are sober.

And just as beer goggles probably led you to make one or two questionable decisions in college, the same thing can happen when alcohol is involved in the shopping process. When you drink, your working memory is reduced, so you don’t have the ability to think, “Is this the right size? Will the color match what I already have?” And so on, and so on.

The power of a touch

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of crowds when I shop. When I walk through Macy’s during the holidays, I don’t particularly like that I’m constantly bumping into people or being reached across at the sale rack. It turns out that a new report from the Journal of Consumer Research has found that I’m not the only one who feels this way — and, in fact, there’s a correlation between being accidentally touched by a stranger (a brush, a bump, etc) and the desire to leave the store.

The study found that when a man or woman was looking at a product and then accidentally touched, he or she quickly left the store. Not only that, the shopper left with a negative view of the product.  Now, if only the department stores would take note and start making wider aisles…

Shameless self-promotion

I’m excited to announce that I have some new products coming out this year! The first is my new book called Money Rules.  We’re living in a confusing financial time, and many people have expressed the desire for a set of essential rules they can follow. This book is those rules, and I’m very excited for you all to see it. Money Rules hits stores in March, but you can already pre-order on Amazon.

Additionally, some of you have asked me about the planners and calendars I created that help you track your spending. I do have a new line, produced by Mead, and they are in your area Office Depots now. You will find everything from a Shop-a-long notebook (to organize your grocery lists with your coupons) to budget planners and expense calendars.  And, I’m so pleased with how these products turned out that I will be giving away one budget kit and one shop-a-long notebook to the 10th and 25th people whowrite on my Facebook wall.  Simply write something like, “Pick me for a Mead product!” and you could be a winner.  I’ll be doing other giveaways throughout the month, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t win this time around!

And finally, according to this Forbes article, 47% of Americans are resolving to clean up their finances in 2012. If you know someone who falls into this category and would like to give them the gift of moral support, why not start by also giving them this newsletter? It’s easy — simply forward me their name and email address, and they’ll receive an email explaining what the newsletter is about and how it will help them achieve financial success in 2012.

Have a great week,


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