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9 tips to survive holiday shopping

shoppingAre you a Black Friday shopper, battling the masses to get in on super deals, or do you prefer to purchase holiday gifts from the comfort of home on Cyber Monday? Whatever your preference, this upcoming weekend is one of the busiest times of the year for shoppers.

Did you know this weekend includes Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday? Retailers and merchants focus an enormous amount of time and research to cater to shoppers’ preferences and patterns.  According to Fact Retriever, retailers use satellite images of retail parking lots to predict earnings and rely on psychological triggers such as music, visuals and key words to entice shoppers. Read 38 Fascinating Facts about Holiday Shopping for more details.

Holiday shopping can be stressful. It is time consuming and prompts financial anxiety. There may also be concerns about finding the “perfect” gift, obligatory gift giving and trying not to lose sight of the real meaning of the season. Here are nine tips to help you survive–and maybe even enjoy–holiday shopping.

  1. Make a list and check it twice. Jot ideas for gifts so you don’t wander aimlessly. Having a list can also help you determine your budget.
  2. Decide on a gift-giving theme. Have fun by deciding to purchase gifts according to a theme – books, crazy socks, food & cooking, gardening, music.
  3. Buy in bulk. No need to stress about giving each person an individualized gift. If you find an object you think people would enjoy, buy one for everyone on your list.
  4. Be realistic about your budget. Know what you can afford to spend and plan accordingly. If finances are tight, get creative and give handmade or homemade gifts such as jams/jellies, baked goods or coupons for services such as babysitting, yard work, etc.
  5. Give an “experiential” gift. Give a gift that allows people to enjoy a special experience – cooking classes, travel, skydiving. Even dinner or movie certificates are great!
  6. Give of your time, talent or treasures. You don’t have to buy something to give a meaningful gift. People may be even more appreciative of gifts such as preparing a special meal or recipe, piano lessons, creating a painting or handing down a beloved family heirloom.
  7. Don’t shop when you are tired, hungry or pressed for time. Dealing with long lines, crowds and no parking spots is bad enough, but the experience is even more unpleasant when you’re not at your best. Avoid peak shopping times (such as weekends), fuel up before you go, take your e-reader for long waits in line, leave the kids at home and focus on the spirit behind your gift.
  8. Shop online. Save time and money by shopping online. Be sure to allow sufficient delivery time, especially if you are ordering gifts that need to be shipped.
  9. Have fun! Hand out mini candy canes to children (ask parents first!) and store clerks. Wear colorful holiday clothing. Admire the decorations. Indulge in a cup of hot chocolate and cookies. Get your photo taken with Santa.

How do you survive the holiday shopping challenge? Share your tips and strategies. Happy shopping!

 

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