7 Tips For Shopping Smarter During The Holiday Season
Almost every regular shopper has a horrible holiday shopping experience, whether it’s pitching camp in the parking lot for Black Friday or grappling with other shoppers for a limited shopping item. Even though holiday shopping is supposed to be exciting, it can get awfully stressful. You also have to deal with overpriced items, overcrowded malls, and unyieldingly cold weather. One survey even showed that 46% of Americans find holiday shopping stressful. But it doesn’t have to be that way, at least not this year. Let these tips help you shop smarter and enjoy a happier holiday shopping experience.
- Set your budget before you start holiday shopping
Even if you don’t intend to purchase much this holiday, it’s still advisable to set a budget. Several eye-catching items tend to pop up on shelves during the festive season, and before you know it, you’ve bought items you never intended to acquire. Even worse, you might end up not using most of the things you buy. As if that’s not bad enough, sellers create various enticing offers to lure shoppers to spend. You’ll easily catch yourself thinking, “Why not buy now, since the prices are great, instead of later?’ So, before you buy any gift or holiday-related item, set your spending budget and stick to it. You can make extra space for unplanned shopping if you can afford it. Otherwise, do your best not to purchase anything you haven’t budgeted for.
- Shop online to avoid stress
One of the most convenient ways to shop is going online, especially during the holiday season. In fact, most shoppers are already adopting this strategy, as almost 93% of shoppers will buy at least some gifts online. Online shopping will save you the stress (and gas money) of driving to a brick-and-mortar shopping mall and probably struggling with other shoppers or standing in line. Plus, you can get almost everything you need from various ecommerce platforms and sites.
However, be sure to order your gifts or shopping items far ahead of time, as shipping and delivery procedures can cause delays. Also, spare some of your shopping money for the shipping and delivery costs.
- Focus more on Cyber Monday and less on Black Friday
Granted, you might find some really crazy deals on Black Friday, but when you factor in some inconveniences like waiting long hours in a queue, driving in through the cold weather, and probably fighting other Black Friday shoppers for limited products, you have to ask yourself if it’s all worth the hustle. This year, focus more on Cyber Monday than Black Friday, as more online sellers promote the former than the latter when promoting major deals. One deciding factor may be whether you want to buy online or in-store. While you can find many great Black Friday deals on both online and physical stores, the majority of Cyber Monday deals are only online. So, if you have no issues with online shopping, it’s best to focus more on Cyber Monday deals.
- Be certain about store return policies
Gift exchanges and returns are pretty common during the holiday season, and it helps to be aware of the return policy of any store you choose to buy from before purchasing. Different sellers have different policies on items, including the condition of the returned item, the timing of the return, and whether you’ll be refunded. For example, some online stores will not give you a refund after the shipping is made for an item purchased. Being aware of such policies can help you make informed shopping decisions. Be clear about things like color preferences and size discrepancies and how you can return an unsatisfactory item without stress. That is especially true when buying a gift for someone. For example, if you’re purchasing a pair of shoes, say US size 4 heels, for a woman with small feet, be sure that your preferred store has the right sizes in stock, based on where you live and that you can be refunded if they’re the wrong size. This way, you’ll avoid dealing with stressful issues.
- Do your research on major purchases
If you’ve got a major item on your shopping list, don’t just throw caution to the wind. Take the time to do a little research about the brand, especially items that come with attractive deals. Spend time checking all the various options and brands available, reading reviews about the offers, comparing them with others, and figuring out some of the base prices. Once done, narrow down your options to what you’ll consider your top three picks. That helps you determine what you need to buy from what you just want to purchase.
- Don’t get carried away by attractive deals
That’s the whole purpose behind most mega holiday deals – to get you to dip into your wallet. So, while you should be on the lookout for great money-saving deals, don’t allow yourself to get carried away. You can find several websites and internet resources to help you spend your hard-earned money during the holidays. You’ll even find great deal blogs worth checking out. But choose only a few favorites to check daily and follow, and leave it at that. The last thing you want is getting caught up in the excitement of one great deal after another. Stay focused on the deals for items you want. Once you’ve found them, stop looking for more items.
- Don’t be afraid to buy several of the same gift
If you find a holiday gift that you know many people will love, don’t be afraid to purchase it multiple times. Doing this will make your shopping experience less stressful, compared to buying different gifts for different people. You’ll also be able to cut down on your shopping time and purchasing expenses. For example, some stores give great discounts for several purchases of the same item. A typical example is the famous “buy one, get one at a discount” or even free. You might even cut down your shipping and delivery costs compared to buying different gifts from different online stores.