Each holiday season, top on our to-do list is getting gifts for our friends and loved ones. While most of us will be happy to skip mile-long lines and crammed stores, we still want to give gifts and spread holiday cheer. But let’s face it, holiday shopping isn’t for everyone. Some of us would much rather do chores than tackle our “holiday to-do lists.” Plus, choosing a thoughtful gift for each person can also be time-consuming and frustrating, even without the added pressures of a budget.
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!
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.” When you know what you’re shopping for, you can avoid costly purchases. 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 your 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 prove to be more affordable than the convenience cost that is sometimes attached to shopping online.
4. CREATE A GIFT-BUYING SCHEDULE
Creating a gift-buying schedule is a sure-fire 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 so 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 on its own, 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.
- 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. Don’t forget to “shop small” on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Not only does it give your local economy a boost, 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 you want to treat your shelf — you’ll find some options here!
What are your holiday shopping tips?
Let me know what tips and tricks have worked for you over the years or what new information you’ve discovered.