Finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list can be the most stressful part of the holidays.
Crazy crowds, dueling sales and a lack of time management can quickly turn gift-giving from a fun and enjoyable task into one you dread. Tweaking your holiday shopping battle plan can keep your holiday shopping stress-free and easy. Check out ten tips for keeping your holiday shopping stress-free:
1. Start early.
Don’t procrastinate! Make sure that you start planning and shopping early. Waiting until the last minute will only result in overspending and stress.
2. Seek inspiration.
Check out your favorite blogs for holiday gift ideas and suggestions. Visit your favorite retailer’s websites and peek at their holiday gift guide sections. Follow your favorite industry professionals on Pinterest and Instagram to get some ideas before you sit down to make a plan of what you’re buying.
3. Set a budget.
Before you start shopping, take a realistic look at your finances and figure out exactly how much you can allot to gift buying. If you’re not worrying about your spending while you are out shopping, you can make clear and swift decisions on purchases.
4. Make a list.
Make a spreadsheet of everyone you need to buy gifts for, where you’re planning on buying from and your budget. That way, you can easily keep track of what you’ve gotten, how much you’ve spent and keep yourself as organized as possible. (Plus, with a spreadsheet, you can plug in quick and easy formulas to automatically play with the amounts you’re allocating to each family member!)
5. Do your research.
Once you have an idea of what you’re buying, it’s important to know how much it’s going for, where it’s on sale and when the best time to buy is. Sign up to receive email alerts from your favorite retailers and check out coupon code sites like Retailmenot and Coupon Sherpa.
6. Know holiday price match policies.
Keep in mind retailers’ holiday price match and return policies and make sure you get the necessary adjustments. Best Buy matches all local retail competitors (including their online prices) and price matches online e-tailers NewEgg, Amazon, Target, B&H Photo and Video, Crutchfield, Dell, HP and Tigerdirect within their return and exchange period. (15 days.) Target is my personal favorite for holiday shopping, because they have the best holiday price match policy. Over the holidays, Target will price match any purchase made between November 1st-December 24th if you find a lower price at any point in the season. (Typically, their price match policy is two weeks!) Make sure to keep an eye on competitors for a lower price. Buy from wherever you can find the most competitive price match policy! It’ll save you money, which will keep your stress level down.
7. Buy Online
To keep your stress level really low during the holidays, skip the mall altogether and get all of your shopping done online. It’s easier than ever before to track down everything you’re looking for at a great price online.
8. Wrap as you go.
Don’t leave all of your wrapping for Christmas Eve! Get it done little by little so that you don’t feel overwhelmed the night before Christmas. Plus, if you’re shopping and keeping the unwrapped gifts hidden away in a closet, you often forget what you already purchased and end up buying way more!
9. Stay organized.
Staying super organized is the easiest way to keep your cool during the holidays. Start a file containing all of your lists, receipts, order confirmations and paperwork together to minimize clutter. Plus, if you need to do a price match or return, you can easily access all the relevant records.
10. Be flexible.
Don’t stress if you can’t find a certain gift you’ve been hunting down. Keep an open mind when you’re shopping, you may find something even better than you had originally planned!
Stephanie Pernas is a personal stylist, fashion writer and style expert. She is the owner of A Sparkle Factor LLC, a personal styling and lifestyle consulting business. She also writes and edits A Sparkle Factor, a go-to destination on the web featuring the latest trends, style tips, and fashion news focused on highlighting attainable style for the every-girl. She has almost 10 years of experience in the fashion industry, having worked in the fashion departments of magazines like Glamour, Women’s Health and Teen Vogue. After spending five years in New York, she is currently bringing a little bit of sparkle to the South Florida area where she resides with her family.