The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Shopping: 7 Tricks to Try This Year
Whether you’re planning on camping in a parking lot to snag some serious Black Friday deals or stocking up on Easter baskets and eggs for family-friendly fun, holiday shopping is its own genre of shopping that takes plenty of planning and diligent execution.
Everybody has their own holiday shopping horror story—be it hours of aimless browsing for a spouse the day before Christmas or jousting it out with another shopper who wants the same discounted flat-screen TV. As unpredictable as your holiday shopping journey may be, there are several secret tips and tricks that will better prepare you for the inevitable madness.
While you’ll likely still have to brave crowded malls, overpriced novelty items, and the long wish lists that seem to never end, using this guide, you’ll be perfectly prepared to tackle your holiday shopping.
1. Create a budget (and stick to it!)
Generating a budget for yourself is one thing, sticking to the parameters you’ve set are another! As tempting as it may be to go above and beyond for the holidays and for the parties and people you’re shopping for, it’s incredibly important to make sure all of your purchases are kind to your wallet. Before heading to the mall or opening up your favorite online boutiques, set an amount of money you’re willing to spend on your holiday shopping duties. Creating these financial boundaries will ensure that once the shopping season is done, your bank account is still in good condition.
2. Avoid impulse buys
They say that the worst time to buy groceries is when you’re hungry. The same logic applies to when you’re excited to zip through your holiday shopping list. Sure, a St. Patrick’s Day outfit is a must-have for your scheduled upcoming St. Patty’s celebration, but maybe leave that bright red wig and mustache combo behind. Sometimes less is more, and while the holidays are the perfect excuse to show out, impulse buys typically get one use and end up in the trash. Save your money for something more useful!
3. Plan ahead
Before you embark on your holiday shopping, write down your gift list and try your best not to waver from it. This will help you avoid making those last-minute impulse buys.
4. Keep your receipts
We’ve all been there: buying the wrong size or missing the mark on a gift completely. Rather than leaving your recipient to fake smile at a gift they’ll never use, keep or include the receipt so they can exchange it for a better gift. Though the initial sting of failure may leave you feeling a little sour, you can easily better the situation by giving your recipient the key to a successful exchange or return.
5. Shop online
The best way to avoid crowded shopping centers is by doing the bulk of your shopping within the comfort of your own home. The online marketplace is a burgeoning hub full of gifts for everyone on your list as long as you know where to look. Though shipping costs will likely add up, they just may be worth the headache you avoid by skipping your local shopping malls.
6. Take advantage of coupons
The days of clipping coupons are over—online couponing makes everything simpler. So long as you have the right websites and money-saving browser extensions, you could be saving money on almost all of your purchases!
Check out our favorite online retail couponing sites:
Pro-tip: Focus on Cyber Monday rather than Black Friday
Black Friday is known for its crazy deals that have people flocking to malls and supercenters in search of deep discounts and dirt-cheap deals. However, for those who want to completely avoid the mess and chaos of Black Friday shenanigans, keep your focus on Cyber Monday deals. These deals are typically just as good as the ones you’d get in person but are available online and ready to ship straight to your door.
7. Expand your horizons
Instead of restricting your shopping list to material goods, expand your horizons to experience gifts. These kinds of gifts are special, thoughtful, and bound to foster many great memories down the road. Whether it’s a cooking class or a weekend getaway, thinking out of the box will surely be appreciated.
Did we miss anything? What tips and tricks do you use to tackle your holiday shopping? Let us know in the comments below!