“Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping. “ ~Bo Derek

'Tis the season to, well do a lot of things, and one of those things is shop. The goal is to shop for others and find them the best gift, something that will be a huge hit on Christmas morning.

I, however, often buy things that are a huge hit with me. It's hard to resist the temptation -- the stores are so pretty. It's "I need this" or "I need that" for the holiday party. The whole "shopping for the holidays" can quickly get out of hand.

I caught an episode of My Shopping Addiction the other night and it made me realize a couple of things:

  1. I don’t have a shopping addiction.
  2. People really love STUFF.

The people on the show really don’t care what that stuff is, they just want it and have to have it. Quite often, with very serious consequences. This impacts their life financially, it impacts their homes, turning them into borderline hoarders. It impacts their personal lives. One girl on the show said she would rather have a new Louis Vuitton bag than have sex, and here I thought you had to have the sex to get the bag.

After my little shopping addiction eye-opener I decide to search out some tips on how to shop and spend better. So I went to the expert, none of than the fab Gail Vaz- Oxlade from Til Debt do us Part.

Here are some great tips, that are totally doable from Gail.

  • “Make a deal with yourself that every time you buy something, you must get rid of something. This avoids falling into the trap of simplifying and then going shopping to replace everything you miss. It also makes you prioritize. If you must have that new doodad, what are you prepared to give up?”

I love this tip. I especially practice this one at this time of year with my kids' toys. I tell them we need to donate some to make other kids happy and so Santa has room to bring you new ones.

  • "Leave even $1 on your credit card, and you’ll pay interest on your entire balance. Let’s say you charged $1,000 on your credit card last month and when you’re statement rolled in, you paid it all off, you wouldn’t be charged interest, right? Right. But let’s say you only paid off $900. How much would you be charged in interest then? You probably think the interest rate would kick in on the $100 you left on the card. You’d be WRONG. When a partial payment is made on your credit card the interest waiver doesn’t apply and you’re charged interest on the full $1,000 from the date of purchase up until the $900 payment is credited. The remaining balance of $100 becomes the “retail revolving balance” which continues to accrue interest until paid off. And that retail revolving balance guarantees you’ll be charged interest on everything you buy moving forward.

I had no idea! This is crazy . This is why my holiday shopping is always cash only. I don’t want to be hit with the January credit card bill.

  • The Specialty Coffee Association of America, which watches consumer spending of high-quality coffee says that Americans spent $12 billion in 2006. Twelve billion dollars! If you’re saving $20 a week by drinking less coffee (or taking it from home) and you’re 30 years old, eliminating that one bad habit will mean $84,000 in your pocket. Yup, $84,000! That some pretty expensive coffee.

Be sure to check out Gail’s website for more amazing money-saving tips.

Do you have a fabulous shopping or saving tip. Please share, we all need a little help this time of year to make our dollars go as far as they can.

Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Twitter @slice_tv.

Dee Brun is the award-winning author of Libations of Life: A Girl’s Guide to Life One Cocktail at a Time, a cocktail chef and stylist, TV personality, home entertaining guru, writer, humorist, wife, mother of 4, TV Junkie, shoe-aholic, and borderline George Clooney stalker. Read her column, Isn’t it Deelightful, every Friday on Slice.ca.