Fuel up. It’s hard to shop sensibly when your blood sugar is crashing, so skip the bagels, the donuts, and the sugary breakfast cereals, says Keri Glassman, a registered dietitian in New York City and the author of The Snack Factor Diet ($14, amazon.com). Choose a meal loaded with fiber, protein, and healthy fats—like oatmeal made with skim milk and almonds. Find healthy breakfast recipes here.
Don’t dress just for comfort. When people are feeling insecure, they tend to buy more, according to Darren Dahl, a professor of applied marketing research at the Sauder School of Business, in Vancouver. So nix the sweats and the sneakers if they make you feel frowzy and opt for something stylish, like cute flats or an on-trend top, that boosts your self-confidence.
Download an upbeat playlist. “Holiday music makes us nostalgic. We linger in the store and buy more to capture that warm, fuzzy feeling,” says Martin Lindstrom, the author of Brandwashed ($25, amazon.com). Outsmart the shops blasting “Jingle Bell Rock” by donning your earbuds and listening to songs with a beat faster than your resting heart rate, which is, on average, about 70 beats a minute. Those tunes will keep you moving quickly and efficiently through the stores. One good track: Katy Perry’s “Firework” (124 beats per minute). Find additional song suggestions at jog.fm.
Get dibs on discounts. Before you leave the house, download the free apps offered by your favorite retailers or check out their websites for announcements, coupons, and the latest information on sales. Smartphone users can use the no-cost app ScanLife to scan a product’s barcode and find out which local or online establishment has the best price.
Head out solo. Unconsciously, people tend to mimic one another. That means if your girlfriend stocks up at the kitchen-supply store, you’re more likely to do so, too, says Lindstrom. So just say no to a shopping companion today. You can share deals with friends by using the free My Shopping Circle app, which notifies them about sales you see (and vice versa).