It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is almost upon us. As I type this post from my office in Houston, TX, the temperature is 80 degrees (Jack Frost, where are you?).
The holidays can be quite stressful and shopping for gifts only adds to the anxiety. You want to get the perfect gift for your loved ones, but you don’t want to break the bank or endure long lines at the store.
While much holiday shopping will be done online this year, it still requires some planning. Here are 6 tips to make your holiday shopping stress-free.
Make a List
Each year, the number of people I have to buy gifts for seems to grow. Therefore, I have to start planning my holiday gift list well in advance, and so should you.
Start by listing everyone that you plan to buy gifts for – family, friends, coworkers, etc. Next, write down any acquaintances, business associates, or services providers who you may want to surprise with a gift.
This list may go through several revisions. That’s okay. When you’re done, this list will be your gift-buying bible.
To keep yourself sane, remember one thing: You are not obligated to buy anyone a gift. It is your choice and yours alone.
Create a Budget
After making the list, you have to decide how much you will spend on gifts. Setting a budget will keep your holiday costs under control and prevent you from running up additional debt that will be a burden beyond the holiday season.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on gifts to make them meaningful. It really is the thought that counts.
Find Out What They Want
Ask the people who have made the final cut about their likes and dislikes to better understand their tastes. If you want to get straight to the point, just ask them what type of gift they would like. It’s better to get this information up front than to give someone a gift that will be regifted.
Find Great Deals
Several retailers are offering huge discounts online and in-store. In addition to the many Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, you will be able to find great deals throughout the holiday season if you’re willing to do the research.
Sites such as Honey and RetailMeNot can save you even more money by automatically locating coupons and promo codes for online retailers. Honey will even tell you if you’re’ getting the best price when shopping on Amazon.
Credit card companies also have special deals for customers such as discounts or bonus points.
Let Someone Else Do the Wrapping
Some people love the process of selecting wrapping paper and carefully wrapping each gift. I do not. I prefer to have someone else do the wrapping for me.
Most stores offer a gift-wrapping service. It may cost you a few extra dollars, but it will save you lots of time.
There are also many local charities that will wrap gifts for a small donation.
Find a Good a Hiding Place
Since you’re shopping early, you will need to find a good place to hide your gifts. Garages, closets, basements, attics, and underneath beds make good hiding places.
Just make sure to keep track of your hidden gifts. One year, I hid my gifts so well that I forgot where I hid them.
These six simple tips will help you make the most of your gift-giving and keep your holiday shopping stress-free. Afterward, you can kick back and drink some egg nog while others are still scrambling for last-minute gifts.