Christmas Shopping Tips

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Christmas is fast approaching, and sometimes it can seem impossible to buy presents for everyone, host and attend parties, stay in a budget, and keep your sanity. We hope the following tips will help you navigate through the holiday shopping season so you can enjoy this time of year.

Make a list

Making a list is one of the easiest ways to organize yourself this holiday season. Write down everyone you are planning to buy a gift for–no matter how small the gift is, and ideas for what to get and an amount you would like to spend. By planning everything out, you will be better equipped to handle this crazy and sometimes stressful season.

Start early

We’re already into December now, but in the future try not to wait until after Thanksgiving to start shopping. So often while shopping we find the perfect gift for our boss or best friend when we aren’t looking for it. If you do keep your eyes open earlier in the year, once December hits you’ll be so glad you already have people crossed off your list. Just make sure to keep all your gifts purchased in advance in a designated spot so that you  don’t forget what you have already purchased.

Do your research – Shop Smart

Purchasing a present you do not know much about can be a daunting task. For example, if your husband wants a new camera and you are unsure  which brand or model to buy, search online for reputable reviews that can help in the decision making process. There are hundreds of websites where you can look up expert reviews on every kind of product available. Shopping smart is also a good idea, so use a price comparison website to find the best deal possible on whatever you need this holiday.

Pay with cash or debit card if possible

It may sound completely old-fashioned, but paying with cash is something that can help keep you on budget this year. If you want to take it a step further, getting larger bills like hundreds and fifties may make you think twice before putting up the big bucks. No one likes breaking a one-hundred dollar bill.

If carrying cash seems a little too old-fashioned, You can also try shopping with a debit card that only has a certain balance completely designated for holiday shopping. That way when the money’s gone, it’s gone.

Keep a running tally of your credit-card spending

When you come home from a day of shopping, immediately subtract what you’ve spent on your credit card from your checking-account balance. This helps give you a visual record of how much you’ve spent and also it ensures that you’ll have enough money in the account to pay the bill when it arrives.

Take advantage of Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is known for being the biggest online shopping day of the holiday season. As a spin-off of Black Friday it takes the camping outside for days and long lines out of the picture. Cyber Monday allows you to find amazing deals, all from the comfort of your home. To help you stay even more in the know during this season, you can sign up to receive emails from your favorite stores to help you get advanced notice and member only deals.

Buy gifts online if traveling

If you are going out of town this season a great way to up convenience is to shop online. There is so much less hassle if you can ship the presents directly to where you are going to spend your holiday. Especially with flying, suitcases are prime real estate that should be designated for essentials, not Christmas Presents.

One great way to cut back on cost with online shipping is to find free shipping for the presents you buy. A great website that offers information about getting free shipping this holiday season is freeshippingday.com. On their website you will find a list of hundreds of retailers that will be participating in “Free Shipping Day”. All Free Shipping Day offers will be revealed on their website at 12:01am EST on Thursday, December 18, 2014.

Do it yourself

If you’re creatively inclined, try and find a way to harness your creativity into a thoughtful, handmade gift. Bake a batch of cookies, sew personalized tote bags or make beautiful earrings for friends and family. If you need to learn a new skill, look into taking some classes locally or invest in a how-to book. With so many online, and print resources you can make Christmas presents an easier, more thoughtful experience.

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