5 Holiday Shopping Tips to Reduce Stress & Save Time Comments27 Comments

holiday-shopping

The following is a guest post from David Bakke, a contributor for Money Crashers Personal Finance. He is based in Atlanta and frequently writes about money management and smart shopping online. If interested in submitting a guest post, please read my guest posting policy and then contact me.

While the holidays are a time to enjoy the company of friends and family, it can quickly become stressful and agitating if you don’t have a solid plan for holiday shopping. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but many of us still have lots of gifts yet to buy. To make this season enjoyable and affordable, apply buying strategies that work any time of the year to your holiday shopping routine.

1. Purchase Gifts Online

Shopping online is often the best way to score great deals – but even if you have to pay a little more, the convenience can be worth it. You can make purchases whenever you want, and you can also compare and contrast different models, sizes and features for your gifts. This also saves a great deal of time (and gas) compared to roaming the aisles of multiple local retailers.

2. Shop When It’s Convenient

Instead of trying to squeeze in a little shopping during a lunch break or after a hard day’s work, consider going in the evening after you’ve had time to unwind or hit the gym. You’ll be more relaxed and have a clearer head. Never shop on an empty stomach either – this just exacerbates the stress issue.

3. Use the Right Credit Card

To reduce stress yet further, get additional savings by using the right credit card for your purchases. For instance, there are various cash back credit cards, some of which offer up to 5% back in rewards for certain spending categories. You could also go through shopping portals before navigating to retailer websites to save even more.

4. Buy Gifts During Non-Peak Hours

Even though Black Friday has passed, extended holiday hours are ongoing. Many stores are open all day and night during the weeks leading up the holidays. In order to do your final shopping with a little peace and quiet, consider going out after the kids are in bed so you can concentrate on the task at hand.

5. Consider Buying Gift Cards

If time is running out and you’re stressing about finding the perfect gift for the remaining people on your list, simply purchase gift cards from retailers you know they like. This saves time and reduces stress, and ensures that the recipients will get something they truly want.

When you’re out and about buying gifts during the final weeks leading up to the holidays, remember that store personnel are likely overworked and worn out. If you encounter a rude salesperson, simply keep the spirit of the holidays in mind and stay positive. You’ll be much less stressed at the end of the day, and will likely make their day much better as well.

What ways can you think of to reduce stress and save time during holiday shopping?

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This entry was posted in Financial Advice, and tagged , , Comments27 Comments
By : Adam | 21 Dec 2012
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27 thoughts on “5 Holiday Shopping Tips to Reduce Stress & Save Time

  1. Jacko

    Definitely shop online avoid the crowds the potential mass shooters and the rest.

    Let the mailman bring you your gifts.

    That is unless you are a notorious procrastinator like myself then your almost ready to start shopping, tomorrow.

    Reply
  2. Jason @ WorkSaveLive

    While I prefer not to do it, we primarily stick to gift cards for family members. Most people have everything they “need” and it’s difficult to buy a truly special gift for everybody. We did buy some actual gifts this year and we made sure to shop during non-peak times. I think we had most of our shopping done prior to Black Friday.

    Reply
  3. KIm@Eyesonthedollar

    I hate going to stores anytime near Christmas, so online, early shopping, and gift cards are wonderful. However, my daughter changed her mind and asked Santa for a toy pony out of the blue this week. I’m not sure what to do on that one as Santa shopped long ago!

    Reply
  4. John

    I did 90% of my shopping online. It’s convenient, good prices and comes right to your door on time. I do have to get one last gift at the mall though….not looking forward to it.

    Reply
  5. Felix Lee

    I shop for gifts online when I’m pressed for time, which happens often because I’m a last-minute shopper. It’s so much easier than braving the holiday crowds. And gift cards are such a godsend! I think everyone appreciates receiving gift cards.

    Reply
  6. Kyle @ Rather-Be-Shopping.com

    For me, the one thing that reduces the stress of gift buying is to do it throughout the year and stockpile. That way I can find really cool gifts and great bargains, typically when I least expect it, and have most of shopping done come December 1st.

    Reply
  7. Deacon

    I totally agree with your statement about not shopping on “an empty stomach.” Every time I have done that, I seem to leave the store with more than I had on my list.

    Reply
  8. Jon @ Grown Up and Stuff

    I need to have a list sitting in front of me. That way I get the immense satisfaction of ‘ticking’ things off my list as I go, and it reminds me to look out for things on my list when I enter other stores! :)

    Reply
  9. Lou Rodriguez

    Good tips David. However, I think one of the best tips anyone can have during the holiday concerns your tip #2 – Use the right credit card. If that credit card is being paid in full when the bill comes due, then I agree. But if it isn’t, then you should avoid using credit at all.

    If you can’t afford to pay cash for a gift, don’t make the purchase. Think of alternative ways to make someone happy. Maybe make the gift, buy second hand, shop at Goodwill or other thrift stores.

    I haven’t used credit in over 2 years now and after my credit and financial meltdown, I’ve never been happier or less stressed – especially during…and after the holidays! :)

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      I hate dealing with those crowds too. I still inevitably seem to get lured in eventually though. This past year I was at least organized enough to do some shopping online.

      Reply
  10. Veronica @ Pelican on Money

    This year gift cards were big for my family. I gave cards and received cards haha. Also ordered food online – it’s just so simple I couldn’t pass it by.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      For some people gift cards work well, but you have to consider their circumstances. If they’re tight on money, the last thing you want to do is tempt them to spend more such as when a gift card doesn’t quite cover what they really want.

      Reply

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