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6 Best Holiday Shopping Tips

The best holiday shopping tips to help you save money and take the stress out of gift-giving.

Last Updated on November 3, 2023 by BiblioLifestyle

As the holiday season approaches, the quest for the perfect gifts to show our loved ones how much they mean to us begins anew.  This year, instead of succumbing to the last-minute holiday shopping rush, let’s approach it with a plan and a touch of strategy.  After all, the holiday season is when many people do a large portion of their shopping, so you can expect crowds when you go out and prices higher than usual.  Plus, choosing a thoughtful gift for each person can also be time-consuming and frustrating, even without the added pressures of a budget.  So, since there’s more than enough stress to go around each holiday season, we’ve rounded up the best holiday shopping tips to help you save money and take the stress out of gift-giving!  So what are you waiting for?  Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to get everything done without any drama!

Holiday Shopping Made Easy: Top 6 Tips

1.  MAKE A BUDGET

It’s always a good idea to have a budget in mind, even if you’re not planning to limit your holiday spending.  A budget will set the boundaries for your shopping, and it will also provide peace of mind.

Pro tip:  If you have a credit card that offers cashback, take advantage of that.

2.  MAKE YOUR “TO-BUY-LIST.”

Avoid the temptation to go shopping without a list and opt to look for “holiday inspiration.”  You can avoid costly purchases when you know what you’re shopping for.  So before you start buying gifts, you need to create a list of people you plan to buy gifts for.  Not only will it save you time, but it will also preserve your sanity and allow you to stick to your budget.

Also, divide your list into categories: immediate family members, close friends, work colleagues,  support staff, acquaintances, etc., and check off each name once you purchase their gifts.

Pro tip: Be practical about your budget and relationship to your giftee.  If you don’t know someone well enough, should you even buy them a gift?  Do you know them well enough to know what they’d like?  Maybe a card with a handwritten note will be just as meaningful.

3.  RESEARCH DEALS

Use online resources to your advantage.  Retailer websites and social media are great avenues to find bargains and learn more about what kind of sales they will be having.  Sometimes buying in-store and doing curbside pickup will be more affordable than the convenience cost sometimes attached to shopping online.

4.  CREATE A GIFT-BUYING SCHEDULE

Creating a gift-buying schedule is a surefire way to avoid feeling overwhelmed.  Prioritize time-sensitive gifts that require customization or longer shipping times.  You can also dedicate specific days and times to shopping, shipping, and doing pickups.

 

5.  CONSIDER HOMEMADE, DIY, AND SECONDHAND GIFTS

Homemade and DIY gifts save you money, but they’ll feel much more personal to the recipient than a similar item bought at a store.  However, if you have a giftee who’s a collector or routinely shops in thrift stores, chances are you can find unique, low-cost gifts at thrift or bargain stores or even in your own home!  

 

6.  AVOID LAST-MINUTE SHOPPING

Holiday shopping can be stressful enough, so don’t compound that stress by waiting until the last minute.  The closer you get to the actual holiday, the greater the chance that availability and selection will be limited (or nonexistent).  You may also see a difference in product prices, and shipping costs (especially overnight shipping) can sometimes cost more than the item itself.  Last-minute shopping is also another guaranteed way to blow through your budget.  

Frequently Asked Holiday Shopping Questions

How do you shop wisely for holidays?

Shopping wisely for the holidays involves several key strategies.  First, make a comprehensive list of all the people you need to buy gifts for and what you plan to get them.  This helps avoid last-minute impulse purchases.  Second, set a budget for your holiday spending and stick to it. Be sure to account not just for gifts but also for additional holiday expenses such as food, decorations, and travel.  Third, do your research. Compare prices across different stores and online platforms to ensure you’re getting the best deal.  Fourth, take advantage of discounts, deals, and coupons. Many retailers offer holiday sales and discounts, so keep an eye out for these opportunities to save.  Lastly, consider quality over quantity.  A few well-thought-out gifts can mean more than a bunch of random items and can potentially save you money as well.

How can I be good at Christmas shopping?

Being good at Christmas shopping calls for a blend of planning, patience, and a keen eye for deals.  Start by making a list of the people you wish to buy gifts for, noting down the estimated cost for each present.  This will not only provide a clear roadmap for your shopping journey but also help you establish a realistic budget.  Next, start shopping early.  This gives you ample time to compare prices across various retailers and seize the best deals.  Don’t overlook the power of technology.  Many shopping apps and websites offer price alerts and comparison features to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.  Take advantage of holiday sales, coupons, and discounts, but resist the lure of impulsive buying.  Prioritize quality over quantity when choosing gifts.  Remember, the thoughtfulness of the gift matters more than its price tag.  Lastly, keep track of your purchases to avoid duplications and ensure you stay within budget.

How much does the average person spend on holiday shopping?

According to the National Retail Federation, the average person is expected to spend approximately $998 on holiday items in 2021.  This includes expenditures on gifts for family, friends, and coworkers, as well as food, decorations, and other holiday-related expenses.  However, it’s important to remember that this is just an average, and individual holiday spending can vary widely based on factors such as income, holiday traditions, and personal budgeting decisions.  So while it’s interesting to know what the “average” person spends, it’s more essential to focus on what’s a comfortable and responsible amount for you to spend.

How do you make a holiday budget and stick to it?

Creating a holiday budget and sticking to it involves a few critical steps. First, determine your total budget for the holiday season. This should include not only gifts but also food, travel, decorations, and any other expenses you anticipate. Once you have a total number in mind, divide it up by category based on your needs and priorities. For example, you might allocate 50% for gifts, 20% for food, 20% for travel, and 10% for decorations. Second, create a detailed list of everyone you plan to buy gifts for, as well as any specific items you plan to purchase. This helps you avoid impulse buys and stay within your allocated budget for gifts. Third, track your spending as you go. There are many apps and tools that can help with this, or you can use a simple spreadsheet or notebook. Make sure to update it every time you make a purchase. Fourth, be proactive about finding deals and discounts to stretch your budget. Finally, be disciplined. Resist the temptation to spend more than you’ve planned. Remember, the goal is not to impress others with lavish gifts but to celebrate the holiday season without incurring financial stress.

How do I shop for the holidays without wasting money?

Shopping for the holidays without wasting money involves smart planning and disciplined spending. Start by creating a budget, outlining how much you intend to spend on gifts, food, decorations, and other festive expenses. Create a detailed gift list with specific ideas for each recipient, which will help curb impulse purchases. Leverage technology to compare prices, track sales, and set price alerts on various e-commerce platforms. Take advantage of sales, but avoid buying unnecessary items just because they’re discounted. Remember that quality trumps quantity – thoughtful, useful gifts are more appreciated than numerous random ones. Utilize rewards and cash-back offers from your credit card if available. Finally, track your spending regularly to ensure that you’re sticking to your budget. If you exceed your budget in one area, adjust in others to balance it out. This way, you can enjoy the holiday season without any financial regret.

How do I not spend a lot of money for Christmas?

Not spending a lot on Christmas requires a strategic approach. Begin with establishing a clear budget, considering all holiday expenses including gifts, food, decorations, and travel. Make a detailed list of individuals you plan to buy gifts for, along with a predetermined amount for each. When shopping, compare prices across different stores and online platforms to secure the best deal. Look for sales and discounts and use cash-back or rewards programs if possible. Consider homemade or personalized gifts which often carry more emotional value. Plan your holiday meals wisely to prevent food waste and save on grocery bills. Finally, remember the essence of the holiday season is not about extravagant spending but about spending quality time with loved ones. So, plan activities that are fun, festive, and free like watching Christmas movies at home, making DIY decorations, or going for a neighborhood tour of Christmas lights.

Bonus Holiday Shopping Tips

  • If you’re shopping for an especially hard-to-buy-for person, consider donating to a charity in their name instead.  
  • Supporting small businesses (especially local independent bookstores) is always a must in our eyes.  So don’t forget to “shop small” on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Not only does it boost your local economy, but you’re more likely to find unique gifts for your loved ones.  
  • Let us help you with all your bookish buying gifts – Download your free copy of The BiblioLifestyle Holiday Gift Guide.  So whether you’re looking for a gift for someone or want to treat your shelf — you’ll find some options here!  

What are your tried and true holiday shopping tips?

Let me know what tips and tricks have worked for you over the years or what new information you’ve discovered.  Or, if you have a question about holiday shopping tips, I want to hear from you too.  Let’s talk about it all in the comments!

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Holiday Shopping Made Easy - Top 6 Tips

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