The holidays can be a wonderful time of year, but the shopping portion of the season can often be frustrating and stressful. With a few helpful tips, you can shop smarter, reduce stress and even save some money.
1. Don’t go shopping without a plan.
Make a list of who you are going to buy gifts for and what the gifts are. If you aren’t sure, at least come up with a dollar amount you are willing to spend so that you can plan your holiday shopping budget accordingly.
Stores begin advertising holiday sales well in advance. Compare sale prices on products in several stores. Also, determine which items you need to get right away and which ones can wait so you don’t have to rush. Finally, remember to have any coupons printed and ready. You can also check Simple. Thrifty. Living’s Deal Page to find the best deals.
2. Look online before heading out.
Sometimes you can find a better deal online than at the brick-and-mortar stores. Shopping online can also save you a lot of time and stress. You can view products in the stores in person to check their features, then purchase the product online if you can find it cheaper. Many online stores also offer free shipping.
3. Shop within your budget.
It’s easy to spend more than you mean to during the holidays, especially with the allure of sales on items you wouldn’t normally purchase. Put aside all the money you need for your monthly expenses first, and use only what is left over to shop for gifts. It’s a good idea to start putting a little bit aside each week a few months before the holidays so you have extra spending cash when the holidays roll around.
Keep track of credit charges. You may be fine with one or two charges you can pay off in a month or two, but it can be easy to fall behind and wind up with a large amount of debt. Also, beware of signing up for store cards to receive an extra discount. If you aren’t going to be able to pay off the debt within a month or two, the interest charges will cancel out any savings you acquired.
4. Get your shopping done as early as possible.
Waiting until the last minute to go shopping not only raises the stress factor, but it also typically has you spending more as well, since you are more concerned about getting those gifts than keeping track of your funds.
By sticking to your plan and taking the time to do a little research on prices and sales, you’ll find that holiday shopping is much easier this year.