Holiday Shopping Tips To Save Money, Time And Your Sanity
Holiday shopping can be tough. Scratch that, holiday shopping is what nightmares are made of.
If that’s your general sentiment, whether it’s because of budgeting or logistics, we have some tips to help alleviate the pain and make holiday shopping a little less harrowing.
Create a budget
Budgets may be an annoying little administrative task, but they’re also the reason your credit card bill will stay relatively manageable come January. And while your first instinct might be to rush out and hastily get your holiday shopping out of the way, that’s precisely how overspending occurs. A detailed budget is the very first thing you should create.
A great smartphone app to keep track of spending is Manilla, and not-so-coincidentally, it’s free.
Make a list (and check it twice)
Instead of wandering around aimlessly, you’ll know exactly where you’re going and what you’re after. That means more time for holiday hot toddies! If that’s not motivation to get organized, I don’t know what is.
Use gift guides
Yes, gift guides created by retailers may be clever, esthetically pleasing ploys to get you to buy their merchandise. They’re also quite handy. Typically, retailers and brands pick out the best of what they have to offer for the holidays in their gift guides, so you can trust that they’re a pretty safe bet.
Use online coupons
No one needs to know you used a Groupon to purchase their gift. Plus, the gift in question will be shipped to your house. No trip to the mall = happy camper.
Your smartphone is your BFF
If you’re anything like us, you probably don’t have the time to comparison shop during the most frenzied time of year. If your budget and time is tight, try an app like the Amazon Price Checker, which lets you scan items in store and does the online comparison-shopping for you.
Be mindful of duties and shipping cost, but if done smartly, shopping online will save you a ton of frustration. Knock as many people off your list as possible by shopping online first, and you’ll thank me when you don’t have to find a parking spot at the mall on Christmas Eve.
Avoid shopping on weekends — and with friends
If you must visit a bricks and mortar store, do it early in the morning or later at night — and on a weekday. The last thing you want is to try and zip around the mall through a stampede of panicked holiday shoppers.
Also, unless you view holiday shopping as a leisurely and enjoyable activity, shopping buddies are a hindrance — not a help.