Top Ten Tips for Efficient Holiday Shopping

As we approach the hI Smith photo newoliday season, some individuals have a hard time with shopping for gifts. Whether it’s finding the perfect gift for someone who has everything, or going into an unmanageable amount of debt, the season can cause an unnecessary amount of stress. To avoid the stress and hassles associated with buying gifts, consider having a plan with some of these ten tips.

1.Do your research
Before buying a specific gift, consider doing some research; it will help you learn about the gift in question, its price and where it’s available. Using the internet will allow you to search out online or offline outlets for the gift without leaving your home.

2.Make a list and check it twice
Just like Santa Claus, you should consider making a list of the individuals that you wish to buy gifts for. Given the fact that you probably cannot afford to purchase for everyone, you may have to cross off some individuals’ names on your list. Although price might be one criterion that you can use to eliminate names, you may have other methods that you are comfortable with.

3.Have a budget
One of the cardinal rules when holiday shopping is to have a budget. One of the reasons individuals find it difficult to deal with post-holiday bills is that they do not adhere to a budget; by having one you place financial limits on yourself to avoid money management issues in future. Setting a budget can be done by either taking a percentage of the money entering your chequing account every month, or assigning a dollar amount to each individual on your list.

4.Look for deals
Depending on the items that you wish to buy, you should go out of your way to look for deals in terms of price, quantity and quality. By either window shopping or searching on the web, getting the most for your money should be your main objective. In addition, do not hesitate to ask friends and family, or turn to social media sites to find the best possible deals.

5.Leave your credit cards at home
Unless you have money in the bank to pay off your credit card bills in full, you should not be shopping with a credit card at holiday time. By using cards you will dig yourself into further debt, and in the long term the purchased items will cost more, thanks to interest payments.

6.Avoid points programs
Many stores at holiday time will promote their respective points programs to pull individuals away from their competitors. Even though they may seem attractive, these programs try to get consumers to buy more in order to qualify for points. If you do not have the money to obtain the points, say “No” to any offers to the programs.

7.Consider alternatives to purchased gifts
The holiday season is the time to give gifts; however, it does not really entail spending a lot, nor purchasing gifts. If you are very creative, consider making your gifts for family and friends. In addition, consider giving baked goods to those who have a sweet tooth.

8.Do not procrastinate
Procrastinating when it comes to holiday shopping is not advised. Not only do you miss out on the good deals available in late November or early December, you will not have enough time to make smart and informed choices when you are in a rush.

9.Consider gift cards
For those who are stuck in a situation where you do not know what to buy a family member or friend, consider gift cards. A gift card will allow you to stay within a budget by buying specific denominations and reduce the amount of time spent visiting various stores.

10.Remember the spirit of the season
It is important to remember that the holiday season is meant to celebrate being together with family and friends, not spending money that you do not have. Going into debt to show your love for others is not worth the associated difficulties of managing credit card bills in the months to come.