As the holidays approach, we are all looking for ways to shop smarter, and this year is no exception for me.
Although I’m quite organized about my Christmas shopping, each year I try to be even more efficient. Admittedly, I shop for the holidays all year round. It just makes sense to buy that perfect gift for someone on your list, anytime you see it. Most of us have gift closets for that very reason!
But, have you ever sat down and planned out how you’re going to shop better and differently? Well, I did that recently, and wanted to share my smart holiday shopping tips with you!
Tip #1: Make a list of people, including the gift you want to get them
I know this is the most obvious tip, but let’s be more detailed about it. Of course, you’re going to write down your family and friends as well as your doctor or kids’ teachers, and then you’re going to write the gift you want to buy for each of them.
Make sure you include a bunch of ‘extra’ gifts to have as backup. These include generic gifts like boxes of chocolate, a pretty diary, Starbucks gift cards, and bottles of wine. These are for when you’re invited last minute or when you’ve forgotten to add someone to your list.
Consult online guides for ideas and consider asking the recipient what they want. Although it’s fun to get a few surprises, I find it more practical to ask people what they would like as a gift. It makes life a lot easier and less wasteful for everyone.
Tip #2: Consult that gift closet or stash before you head out the door
Once you have your lists of people and items, go to your gift closet and see if you can use any of the items in there. Over the year, not only do I pick up gifts for people on my list, but I also pick up cute gifts I know are unique and handy. Have a look at your items and see whom you can cross off your list as ‘done’.
Tip #3: Make a list of places to shop
After your list and gift closet have been checked, look at your list and write down where you intend to buy the gift. The idea here is to consolidate the trips to the mall or to a general part of town. This way, you can organize your calendar and errands around the stores you need to hit. For example, if you need to get your winter tires put on your car and you know you’re going to have some idle time, plan on doing some holiday shopping.
Tip #4: Check online shops and availability
Before you move from your house, ask yourself if you can complete your list from your laptop. Why go out if you don’t have to? You can probably buy over 50% of your gifts online. I tend to do both on and offline shopping because I like to be out and about during the holiday season, enjoying the holiday decorations everywhere. I try to do that in November and early December, when it’s far less crowded.
Tip #5: Gather your gift cards
I have many gift cards that I keep forgetting to use. Christmas-time is the best time to use them. Collect all the gift cards you have and put them in an envelope in your purse, or in your wallet, so that you have them with you when you go shopping. Check your list again and see if you can adjust some of your gifts to use up the gift cards.
I also ‘buy’ gift cards from my kids. Sometimes they receive gift cards and don’t end up using them. If I know I can use these cards, I’d rather buy them off of my kids. They’re happy using the cash for putting towards their own lists and purchases.
Tip #6: Try to do your shopping early or late in the day
I’m a big fan of shopping when no one else is around (as I’ve mentioned in a previous post). My favorite time of day is actually the evening, during dinnertime or beyond, when no one seems to be in the stores. I recently went to the liquor store and drugstore after an evening event and got parking 10 feet from the door. It was such a pleasant and quick experience.
Tip #7: Give the gift of your time, shared experiences, or a donation to a charity
Giving the gift of time is priceless, especially these days. We’re all busy with work, home, taking care of others, and just plain life. Writing up a card and telling someone you’d like to treat them to an afternoon of being together, getting a coffee, going for a walk, or watching a movie together at home is one of the nicest gifts you can give. So is sharing an experience such as a museum visit or a hiking trip. And, making a donation in someone’s name to a cause they support is another option.
Tip #8: If you run out of time, go to ‘one-stop shop’ stores
There are many stores that offer a wide range of products that lend themselves to gift-giving. If life gets too busy and you find yourself with very little time to shop, no worries! Hit up a drugstore, a bookstore, the grocery store, Winners/TJ Maxx, Costco, electronic stores, candy/chocolate store, or housewares stores. All of these places will have something for everyone on your list. It may not be the perfect gift, but you will be able to find something, even if it’s a chocolate bar and a gift card!
I hope you’ve gotten some new ideas about how you’re going to approach your gift-giving this holiday season!
I’d really love to hear your tips for smart holiday shopping.Email This Post