The holiday season is not far away, and the burden of holiday shopping is about to haunt your thoughts. Yes, you read it right. Holiday shopping is a burden, but only if you don't plan it properly, keeping your budget, limitations, and requirements in mind. Holidays are meant to spend money and have fun, but if you end up spending all on shopping, the holiday can, in no time, turn into an awful experience.
Whether you struggle with overspending your money or failing to get a good deal, here are a few tips on getting ready for your upcoming holiday shopping.
Planning is Important
Everyone wants to shower their friends and family with unique, expensive gifts on holidays. Although gifts can be unlimited, your money is not. If you head towards shopping without planning, you might spend all of your money and end up in a temporary financial crisis. Therefore, it is advised to always plan before starting your holiday shopping campaign.
Make a list of gifts that you need to give to your guests and set yourself a budget. If you have everything pre-planned, you will not fall trap to attractive offers and last-minute purchases.
Why waste gas to shop in crowded shopping centers? You can do bulk shopping online at the ease of staying at your home, and saving a significant amount of money as well. Moreover, when you do bulk shopping, you can avail hefty discounts on your holiday shopping as most online retailers have holiday shopping sales.
Don't forget to keep your credit card ready. When doing bulk shopping, credit cards can provide significant benefits. They not only help you spread your budget, but many online retailers offer further discounts while shopping from credit cards. However, misusing your credit card can hinder your budget, and thus, make sure you use it wisely and track all the expenses. If you don't have a credit card, apply for it before it's too late and you end up regretting spending those extra bucks that otherwise could have been saved.
That being said, some of the best credit cards for holiday shopping are:
* Chase Freedom
* Blue Cash Preferred Card
* Citi Double Cash Card
* Costco Anywhere Visa Card
Don't Overlook Cyber Monday
Surely, Black Friday can give you some crazy deals on stores and shops. However, the shopping scene has entirely changed, and people prefer doing bulk shopping from home. But when it comes to online shopping, Monday is the day when the retailers promote big sales and offers. Therefore this time, try shopping on Monday right after thanksgiving to get amazing deals and crazy discounts.
You Can Repeat the Gifts
Holiday shopping is a once-in-a-year experience, and you want to purchase unique gifts for all the guests. Although there is nothing wrong with this ideology, you should not hesitate in repeating gifts. If you come across a gift item that multiple people might like, don't be afraid of buying multiple pieces of it. Moreover, doing so cuts down your shopping time. Additionally, some stores may offer a discount on multiple purchases of items that can further ease your wallet.
Shop for Experiences
Don't buy gifts just for the sake of buying them. Before starting your holiday shopping, figure out the interests and likes & dislikes of the people that are on your gift list. Moreover, it is by no means mandatory to buy material goods. If you feel a memory or experience will excite your family, look for a vacation or a family trip. It might make more sense in investing money in building memories that last forever instead of buying items that will sit in the corner of the house.
Group Your Trips
Saving time is important in holiday shopping. If you don't want to shop online, you have to work on your time management as well. Therefore, you should always group the stores that lie on a route and involve less driving. Your aim with grouping stores should be to complete your shopping in a single swoop so that you don't have to drive back and forth again and again. A bit of planning and selecting stores can save you a significant amount of time and gas that would otherwise be wasted in driving and looking for stores.
Compare Prices Online
Even if you are not an online shopper, you can still benefit from the internet. You can use your smartphone to check prices of products online, which you can compare with the offline price. Both Androids and iPhones have applications that allow you to scan barcodes of items, which can then be compared with the price online. This information can help you negotiate if the price in the store is highly-priced. Lastly, you can simply search for items on your list to get a vague idea of their costs. This research can help you get an idea of the total cost, and help you set your budget accordingly.
Avoid Shopping on Weekends
Weekends are undoubtedly the busiest days for shopping. Although you might get a good deal or discount, it is not worth fighting for your spot with a crowd of hundreds. If offline shopping is your thing, plan your shopping days on weekday evenings as you will find the least rush. Even if you shop online, it is better to avoid weekends. When shopping online, Mondays are the best days because of better offers and discounts.
This might sound weird, but it makes a huge impact on your overall spending. Shopping alone might be a boring experience, but it not only saves you time but a considerable amount of money as well. Shopping with friends means a lot of fun, roaming, and hanging out. A shopping plan with friends is never limited to shopping but includes other plans which might consume a lot of time. Similarly, shopping with friends can influence you to make expensive purchases in the heat of the moment, which you might regret afterward. Therefore, to avoid distraction, and a waste of time and money, the best move is to shop alone.
Don't Let the Shopping Ruin your Holiday
How can holiday shopping ruin someone's holiday? Well, it certainly can if you spend more than what you are capable of, just to show off or impress your guests. Gifts are given out of love and respect, and not to show off. Therefore, before starting your holiday shopping, take some time to realize your financial capabilities. There is no point of overspending money in buying gifts for guests and then ending up being stressed because of a disturbing financial predicament. So take a deep breath and do some planning before hitting the stores.
The Bottom Line
Holiday shopping is a unique and exciting experience but can be easily ruined if you don't do the planning. Therefore, to have an effective and efficient holiday shopping experience, do the required financial planning and time management planning before starting the hunt. Get your credit cards ready and look for offers and discounts online. If you want to shop offline, group the stores, and do the shopping alone to save both time and money. Lastly, and most importantly, don't end up overspending on gifts and put yourself into financial trouble.