Christmastime is a joyous occasion for many people. But overspending and last-minute purchases can turn a joyous holiday into a nightmare. Would you like to make your holiday shopping less stressful? Here are five tips to put the joy back into your Christmas shopping.
1. Start with a List and a Budget
Make a list of everyone for which you plan to buy a gift. You probably already have ideas about what to get each person, so write gift ideas next to each name.
Once the list is complete, decide how much you can afford to spend on each person. Also add a little extra for unexpected purchases, just in case you forgot to add someone to the list.
If you’re lucky, you’ve already got the cash to cover everything on your list. Paying with cash is a great way to prevent overspending. But if you’re like most people, you don’t have a bunch of cash sitting around. And the sight of your Christmas shopping list might cause anxiety.
It’s time to rework the list if you’re feeling anxious about the cost. Take a closer look at your list. Have you been realistic with your Christmas budget? It feels good to give gifts, but it feels better to stay within your budget.
2. Think Twice Before Grabbing a Gift Card
Gift cards are great gifts for people who will use them. But as it turns out, many people never use gift cards. The main reason is they get gift cards for stores they never use.
Instead of a gift card, you might want to give cash instead. Decorative cards that double as money-holders make nice gifts.
3. Search for Holiday Deals
Many stores offer Christmas deals soon after Thanksgiving. Stores want all the holiday sales they can get, and that means more deals and more sales. When you get sales flyers in the mail, keep them instead of throwing them out.
Online merchants offer deals as well. You can comparison shop several websites at once by using Google. You can search for the best toys to give your child for Christmas and get dozens of results.
4. Shop During Off-Hours
Holiday shopping is exhausting. And the closer it gets to December 25th, the worse the crowds get.
Monday to Thursday are usually the best days to shop. Most people work mornings, so shopping during that time is often more peaceful. If you must shop on weekends, go as early as possible. Try to get there when stores first open, and before the stores are packed with customers.
5. Shop Online
If dealing with holiday crowds is the last thing you want to do, consider doing all your shopping online.
Most stores have websites that let you shop online, check item availability, and place your order. Some will even let you pay online and pick up the item in the store. You walk in, show your ID, get the item, and go home.