The holiday season is right around the corner! We’re just a little under two months away from Christmas. Be prepared and start your holiday shopping early this year so you aren’t left scrambling at the end. Basically - don’t be that sad person picking through the leftovers on Christmas Eve, because we all know how that goes.
Don’t forget anyone
The most important part of holiday shopping is knowing who you’re shopping for. Before you even start shopping, make a list of everyone you want to buy gifts for. That way you’ll be organized, none of your loved ones will be left out, and you’ll have a much better sense of direction when you’re actually shopping.
Kill two birds with one stone and use your list as a brainstorming guide. Jot down gift ideas beside each person so you’ll know exactly what stores to hit up for what person. This will make your whole shopping experience much easier and more pleasant, because we all know how crazy the stores get during the holidays.
Make a budget
The holidays can get expensive. Creating a budget before getting out your credit card will make it a lot easier to open your online banking app come January. If possible, talk about it with friends/family so everyone is on the same page about gift costs. This will also make narrowing down gift ideas easier as you’ll have an exact price range.
You can get very specific with your budget and go gift by gift so there are really no surprises when it comes to spending. If needed, create a savings plan so you can treat every person on your list. You can also spread your shopping apart so you don’t have to blow an entire paycheck on gifts.
Strategize with sales
Shop smart this season by scoring deals during sales. The biggest one is Black Friday, of course, but it’s also the most chaotic. More and more retailers are having other sales and promos besides Black Friday so you do have other options.
The best way to find out about sales is signing up to mailing lists and/or following stores on social media, as they will post there first. But before committing to one store, make sure you’re checking out their competitors to know if you’re really getting the best deal. When you know when the sales are, you know you’ll be getting the best deal so plan out your purchases accordingly.
Online vs. in store shopping
Nowadays you have the option of shopping online or in store. Both have pros and cons, and definitely aren’t equal. Sometimes there are specific promotions either online or in store, which goes back to point 3 - sign up for mailing lists/follow on social media to find out about specific sales and promos.
Online shopping is great for items you’re 100% sure about, or if you have coupon codes for freebies/free shipping. However, you can’t beat the in store experience if you’re unsure about the item and need to see it in person or if you need help from a human to pick out a gift. Your cousin’s favorite earphones that you have a coupon code for? Online all the way. The dress you caught your girlfriend drooling over in a window display last date night? Go back to the store and ask an associate for advice. Since the holidays are the busiest time for retail, try to plan your trips for less busy times if you can (weekday mornings are ideal).
After all your hard work and generosity, you deserve a little treat too. Make some room in the budget for you, whether that means something physical or a post-shopping pampering sesh. If you want to get yourself a physical gift, remember that the holiday season is a popular time for buy one get one free/two for one promos. That way you can take advantage of all the extra deals and promos guilt-free.
But most importantly … have fun! The holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Don’t stress, enjoy every holiday treat/song/movie, and if you have any doubts about your gifts just remember it’s the thought that counts. Besides, the holidays are all about spending time with your loved ones. The gifts are just a perk.
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