Have you finished your holiday shopping yet? If you’re anything like me, Thanksgiving serves as a reminder that you should probably start that time-honored tradition of schlepping yourself to the mall, and waiting in line for items marked “SALE!” but somehow seem more expensive than ever. With the biggest shopping day of the year rapidly approaching, here are a few tips to stay ahead of the pack.
1. Make A List, Check it Twice
Before you leave the house to brave the traffic and crowds and oh, the Christmas carols that are EVERYWHERE, create a game plan. Know what you want to get, and where you want to get it. Have a checklist with all the people you’re buying gifts for, and stick to it. If you can, include their likes, dislikes, clothing sizes, and anything else that will help you make a decision.
2. Spend Within Your Means
I guarantee you that none of the people you’re shopping for want you to go broke, or into debt, buying them a present this year. Money’s tighter than ever these days, so set yourself a gift budget and DON’T go over it!
3. Beware of the “Pseudo-Sale”
Just because an item has a big red tag on it, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a lower price than normal. Stores do this sort of thing all the time—they jack up the “normal” price 20%, and then offer it to you “on sale—15% off!” Sounds good until you realize you just paid 5% MORE for the item!
4. Online, Instead of In Line
If you’ve got a computer and a Wi-Fi connection, you have access to the largest store in the world. If you really want to beat the lines, and sleuth around for sales, shop online, from the comforts of your own couch. It’s never been easier to compare two stores’ prices. As a matter of fact, “Cyber Monday” has nearly trumped “Black Friday” with popularity and deals. You can still go to the brick-and-mortar stores if you want, but even then—research what you want online, before you leave the house, and you’ll cut down on time spent in the stores!
5. Gifts From The Heart
Of course, the best way to beat the holiday shopping is to make gifts for your friends and family. It saves you time and energy, and money too! It’s also a fantastic way to personalize gifts, and really make a memorable impression. Think to yourself—what are the most memorable gifts you’ve ever received? Was it the tie? The DVD? Or was it the song someone wrote for you?
If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to stay sane this holiday season. Good luck!