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7 Smart Shopping Tips to Survive the Holiday Season

Money Girl shares 7 smart tips to save time, money, and enjoy giving to others this holiday season with much less stress.

By
Laura Adams, MBA
3-minute read

Smart Shopping Tips to Survive the Holiday SeasonWhen the frenzy of holiday shopping begins each season, many of us get stressed out about the time and money it takes to get everything done.

No matter if you prefer to shop online or locally, use these tips to save time, money, and enjoy giving to others this holiday season:

Tip #1: Create a Spending Plan

If struggling to pay for the holidays has become an annual tradition, it’s time to create a spending plan and allocate a set amount each month or paycheck to a holiday savings account.

If you’re not sure how much you should spend this year, start by making a list of every person you want to buy a gift for and assign a dollar amount to each one. Add it up and see if you can afford the total. If not, you need to shrink your gift list, cut your generosity per person, or both.

Tip #2: Create a Shopping Plan

Some of the stress of holiday shopping comes from not having any idea what to buy. I keep notes on my smartphone of gift ideas for specific people and update it throughout the year.

Good ideas can be fleeting so you should always jot them down right away. You’ll be amazed by how many great gift ideas you think of during the year!

Tip #3: Research Prices

Armed with a spending and shopping plan, go online to research prices at different stores so you don't overpay. Start your shopping at a discount or coupon site like Ebates, for rock-bottom prices online,

Many online retailers will offer free shipping, but may require a minimum purchase to qualify. So be strategic and buy multiple gifts from the same retailer to save on shipping, when possible.

Tip #4: Get Free Gift Wrapping

The cost of wrapping paper, tissue, boxes, tape, and ribbons can really add up. Plus, some of us are gift-wrap challenged. So take advantage of free or discounted wrapping at local or online stores. It saves time and money, and your packages will look fantastic.

Tip #5: Ship Gifts to Your Destination

If you’ll be traveling for the holidays, taking gifts with you can be a hassle and cost extra if you have to check an additional bag on a flight. Consider shipping gifts on your own or having a retailer ship them directly to your travel destination.

Tip #6: Resist Self-Gifting

We’ve all done some self-gifting during the holidays (or at least that’s what I tell myself so I don’t feel guilty). When you get tempted to buy for yourself, remember that your family or spouse might be struggling to figure out what to give you. How you drop that hint is up to you!

Tip #7: Stay Positive

The traffic, crowds, and weather can make holiday shopping super stressful. So prepare yourself mentally, practice patience, and stay positive.

Giving should come from the heart. With a little planning and foresight you can enjoy the holidays without too much expense or stress.

Other Links You Might Like

When Is a Holiday Gift Taxable?

How to Save Money During the Holiday Season

A Checklist to Measure Your Personal Finance Success

Unique Money-Saving Holiday Gifts

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About the Author

Laura Adams, MBA

Laura Adams received an MBA from the University of Florida. She's an award-winning personal finance author, speaker, and consumer advocate who is a trusted and frequent source for the national media. Her book, Debt-Free Blueprint: How to Get Out of Debt and Build a Financial Life You Love was an Amazon #1 New Release. Do you have a money question? Call the Money Girl listener line at 302-364-0308. Your question could be featured on the show. 

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