Holiday shopping season is upon us, but there is no reason to get stressed out about finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list. The more you think about what you want to get everyone before you hit the stores, the less likely you will overspend and waste time walking around in circles at the mall.
1) Reduce the number of gifts you give. With your immediate family give one present per person, and say one Santa gift per child. If you visit with relatives have a Secret Santa exchange between the adults, and the kids can have one between themselves. This way you are only purchasing one gift for a relative, which can then be something nicer... and probably something more of what they really want, instead of giving a lot of smaller, not so special gifts.
2) Through out the year keep a gift folder of catalog clippings or a wish list on a site like Amazon, so when you see gift ideas you can store them and not forget them by the time December comes.
3) Get a credit card with the department store or the on line site that you purchase most of your presents from. Usually you will get free shipping if you use their credit card, so shop on line and save the gas, the bad fast food, and the increased chance of impulsive purchasing that happens when you physically go into a store.
4) Map out your trip to the mall or your downtown. Go shopping with a gift list that includes the stores you think you most likely will find your gifts, include a walking plan for hitting each one of these stores in the least amount of time. (Hint: Malls usually have maps on line that you can download.)
5) If you are bring kids shopping make sure it not close to their nap time (unless being wheeled around knocks them out.) or meal time. Bring healthy snacks for them to munch on, so you don't have to stop at the unhealthy and expensive food court.
6) Keep your purchases organized. If you are purchasing more than one gift per person, i.e. stocking stuffers etc., keep all the gifts for that one person together in a shopping bag or a box, so you will not loss track of what you bought and thus end up over shopping for that person.
7) Keep all receipts in one place for all of your purchases. This way you will know were to look for a receipt if you need to make an exchange. Plus by having all of your receipts together you can tally them up and know how much you spent on your holiday purchases.
8) Never assume your gift will not be returned. Get a gift receipt for every purchase and include it in the box. Without a gift receipt a person will only get the markdown price back for your gift which can be less than half of the original price you paid for the item.
9) Don't purchase items you like, purchase items your recipient will like. You may not love gold shoes, but if that is what your mother is into: buy them for her!
10) Make your own gifts and or buy from local merchants. Save money and touch someone's heart with the time and effort that is needed to create home made gifts: bake cookies, make vinegars or jams...etc. If you don't have a knack for making your own presents buy something that has been crafted with care from a local merchant and/or artesian food purveyor.
Happy Holiday Shopping,
Happy Holiday Shopping,
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