Exchanging presents is a Christmas highlight, but finding the perfect gifts can be stressful. Buy the perfect presents and find the best deals when you organize your holiday shopping. Start by planning for Black Friday sales, and score the best deals with less stress.
Make a List
Vague gift ideas are okay when you’re casually shopping in October, but you need to get serious if you expect success in November. Blind shopping without a list leads to distractions. You’ll also end up spending more money on stuff you don’t really need.
Be successful when you make a list of everyone for whom you need to buy a present. On your list, include gift ideas, clothing sizes and price suggestions. Remember to take your list with you to the mall since you won’t be able to cross everyone off your list if you forget it at home!
You don’t have to travel from store to store looking for the best deals. Discover the best deals when you stay connected with the latest sales information online. Sign up for newsletters from your favorite retailers, and use social media to track the latest news. You can also check department store websites and FatWallet.com for leaked deals.
With the information you find, make a list of stores that offer the best prices on the gifts you want to buy. When you plan early, you’re more likely to score the biggest deals.
Map Your Attack
Cross everything off your list with an effective strategy. You’ll need to know when stores open, where they’re located and when the sales start. Certain stores stay open all night but might not offer rock bottom prices until after midnight or after noon.
Visiting each store a day or two before you shop should be part of your strategy. Map the locations in each store where the items you want to buy are stored. When the doors open, save time by heading directly to the top-priority items on your list.
Expect Limited Quantities
Stores would rather run out of inventory than have too much. Account for limited quantities when you’re planning your shopping day. If you really must have a certain toy or sweater, shop for it first.
In addition to mapping your shopping day, organize your receipts and gifts. Use a receipt organizer to store all the receipts. You’ll need the receipts to simplify returns or exchanges and to reconcile your credit card statement.
On each receipt, write the recipient’s name. That way, you can wrap and tag each gift as soon as you get home. They’ll be ready for your gift exchange, and you can reference the receipts so you won’t forget what you purchased.
Organize a Team
Increase your efficiency when you divide and conquer. Gather a group of friends, and share your lists. One of you can hold the place in line while your teammates spread out and gather up the deals. In addition to saving time, you’ll have someone to chat with when you’re waiting for the stores to open!
Unless you love a crowded shopping experience, avoid the pandemonium by shopping online Thanksgiving night. Many stores offer their sale prices online. Take advantage of these sales, and stay home instead of fighting the crowds.
Make Christmas shopping easier when you take advantage of Black Friday sales. You can’t just show up at midnight and hope for the best, however. Plan your day and get the best deals before they’re gone.
Cassie is a lover of yoga and the arts. In her free time, she enjoys blogging on behalf of Sears and other great brands she loves.