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5 Holiday Shopping Tips to Save Time, Money and Headaches

by recycler on December 17, 2012

Photo: Michael Holden/Foter/CC BY-NC-ND.

When the turkey has been put away at the family Thanksgiving dinner, attention typically turns to two things: football and holiday shopping. While there is little you can do to change your football experience unless you are a super-talented 6-foot-4, 240-pound athlete or a super-rich multi-millionaire that owns part of the team, you can help determine how your holiday shopping experience goes.

Instead of being thrown into the frantic, rough-and-tumbleJingle All the Way situation where you’re wrestling with Sinbad and Arnold Schwarzenegger, here are some tips to make your holiday shopping less painful and possibly even enjoyable:

1. Start Early – The earlier you start the holiday shopping season…the better. If you shop throughout the year, you’re more likely to find the gifts you want to give when they are on sale. Even if you don’t start until the Thanksgiving holidays, you still will have opportunities to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Prices don’t go down as you get closer to the holidays. You aren’t going to find a huge sale on Christmas Eve, so don’t procrastinate. Get out there and get your shopping done early.

2. Make a List – It seems so simple, but making a list and checking it twice isn’t just for Santa Claus. Make a list of those people for which you want/need to buy gifts. No matter how small the gift, write it down. If you can’t remember a person when making your list, I would suggest they aren’t important enough for you to buy a gift for, but that’s up to you, I guess.

When making your list, include gift ideas of what to give each person and definitely include a maximum you’re willing to spend on each individual.  By making a list, you can get an idea of what your budget is going to be.

Photo: Sister72/Foter/CC BY

3. Have a Budget- It’s great to have some flexibility in case you see something that you really think fits someone perfectly. But that’s not something you should do with every person. Instead, have a set dollar amount to be at or around for each person on your list. It may not seem like a lot when you go $5 or $10 above your budget for individuals, but those numbers add up really quickly. You’ll leave with lots of bags, as well as an empty wallet and/or a hefty credit card bill.

4. Do Your Research – Use the technology at hand. Look online and narrow down your search to an exact product or idea and then research where you can get the best deal. Check sites, such as Amazon, that have user reviews, so that you don’t end up buying a dud gift. If possible, do your shopping online. December 17 is even “Free Shipping Day,” where you can get free shipping to more than 1700 merchants and get your gifts delivered by Christmas Eve. Do your research, take advantage and get your well researched, long distance gifts delivered before the big holiday.

5. DIY Projects – With the economy still recovering, you may not be able to afford buying everyone Apple products and high definition TVs. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to try to create something yourself for some people that are on your list. Sites such as Pinterest and Etsy have a number of DIY ideas that you could customize for your gift recipients this year.

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