Tuesday, November 20, 2012

15 Tips for Holiday Shopping

With just hours left until Black Friday, I thought I'd share a few more Holiday Shopping Tips... These are good tips for any gift giver, whether you're shopping on a budget or not.

1) Never guess on sizes.
Guessing on a clothing size can easily lead to hurt feelings, insults and gifts that never get exchanged.That's not what any giver or receiver wants... so, hire an insider-- the receiver's spouse, parent, sibling, significant other, co-worker...someone who can check a size for you.

2) Look for sales. (Not clearance!)
Shopping a sale is fine... in fact, it's perfect... but there's a difference in shopping a sale and shopping from my favorite part of any store--- clearance. Clearance items usually cannot be returned or exchanged. All sales are final. Don't make this mistake.

3) Make lists.
Making lists helps you insure that you got a gift for everyone, stayed on budget, and had ideas to help if you got stumped in that holiday rush. Start writing down ideas early..

4) Set a budget. Stick to it.
I don't think this needs an explanation, right?

5) Go in on gifts.
Save yourself some money and ask others if they would like to go in on a gift with you. It not only saves you some moo-lah, but opens up a broader range of gifts and someone to bounce ideas around with.

6) Start early.
I cannot stress this enough. Start early. Refer to number 3. Do not wait until Christmas Eve! No one's life needs that. (I saw a cartoon that said, "I could start shopping for Christmas now, but what would I do on Christmas Eve?".... DON'T DO IT!) Not only does starting early relieve stress, but it also allows you to spend a little money at a time, which is great if you're shopping on a budget.

7) Think like the receiver.
Just because you like it doesn't mean they will. The gift is for them...think like them.

8) Keep the receipt.
Designate a spot in your purse, a drawer, your budget book... somewhere to keep all your receipts!

9) Find comparisons.
Don't buy an item at the first place you see it. Look around!

10) Bring coupons.
Stores give coupons for you to use... so use them! Don't be embarrassed. Be proud to save a buck or two! If you don't get any in the mail, print them from the internet.
11) Don't charge it.
Be honest with yourself. If you cannot afford to pay for it now, you cannot afford it. Do not put yourself in debt to give elaborate gifts.

12) Know the exchange policies.
Some stores charge restock fees or only allow exchanges, not refunds.... know the policies. Don't get stuck with store credit to a store that you do not intend to shop at again.

13) Allow shipping time.
Refer back to number 6. Do not wait until the last minute to buy online or from a catalog. The holidays always lead to back orders, slower shipping dates and so on. Allow time.

14) Double check receipts and 'shopping carts.'
Before exiting a store or clicking 'place order,' make sure you've double checked what you're getting. Some sales might not have gone through, you may have forgotten to delete an item from your online cart or one of your items may have fallen back on the conveyer belt to join the mess the person behind you in line put up there without using that divider thingy. Don't get stuck with or without a gift you do or don't need.

15) Designate a 'gift spot.'
From the first gift you buy (which hopefully was purchased in September or October if you did number 6), you should select a spot in your home to house all the gifts you'll be bringing in. You don't want to start wrapping gifts only to find that Great Aunt Sally's sweater is missing. Keep your gifts together and organized.

Do you have any holiday shopping tips? Comment below to share!

Happy Shopping...

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