Holiday shopping is a real source of stress for many reasons. Finances, pressure to impress friends and family, and the stress of crowds at the shopping mall. Try some of these simple holiday shopping tips to minimize your stress level and stay on budget.
1. Shop Early
It’s much easier to procrastinate for the time being, but the last minute stress is never ever worth it. Bite the bullet and get done early. It will feel extremely rewarding to accomplish your holiday shopping tasks early. You might miss out on some holiday deals by shopping early, but there are sales all throughout the year that are just as good or better.
2. Make a list, check it twice
If you plan your shopping, you’ll stay organized and on budget. List every person that will be receiving a gift from you or your family. List other items you need to shop for, such as decorations or a large holiday dinner. Write a preliminary budget for each item. There will be drastically different budgets for a colleague at the office versus your children.
∙ Children often place value in the “number” of presents they receive, not the amount spent. You’ll want to teach them that it’s togetherness and gratitude that matter, but you don’t want to have drastic differences in the amount of presents each child gets. Spending $50 on one gift won’t impress them as much as spending $5 on 10 gifts.
3. Purchase, don’t shop
If you must buy during peak times, know the items you’re looking for and where they are located. If you’re shopping with a group, have a friend wait in line while you grab what you need. This will help you to get in and out quickly.
∙ If you shop alone, try getting to the store when it opens. As long as they’re not advertising doorbuster deals, you shouldn’t have the problem with long lines.
4. Shop Online
Shopping online is a wonderful alternative. Many people these days don’t even enter a single brick and mortar store. Most big box retailers offer online ordering with in store pick up if you feel the need to see the items before wrapping and sending them. Online shopping is great for comparison shopping to stay on budget.
5. Shop Safe
Whether shopping online or in-store, you need to remember to stay safe. When you’re shopping in-store remember to keep your credit cards and PIN numbers safe. If you’re paying cash, don’t be flashy and don’t bring it all out of your wallet at once. Someone could target you once you’re outside of the store. Shopping online gets safer every day, but it’s still important to be diligent and smart. Stick with major retailers. Their reputation is key, so they have plenty of safety measures in place to take care of you. If you’re unsure about a website you’re shopping on, do a quick Google search with “reviews” as a second keyword. If they’re using secure shopping carts, they will go to the trouble of telling you over and over. Good retailers want customers to know they are safe using them.