The holiday season is about to come with two challenging phases, both of which require a well-thought-out strategy if you don’t want to start the year with a hole in your budget. The first is buying gifts for friends and family. Here are some tips for shopping for Christmas gifts.
If you want to avoid additional stress and unnecessary expenses, get started now. An important point in preparing any significant event is to stick to a pre-drawn plan. Below are five basic rules for thoughtful and frugal New Year’s shopping.
Calculate your budget and make a list
Determine in advance the amount that you can spend to see the year in the way you want and not remain with a zero balance after the holiday. Subtract the part for Christmas gifts from the total amount for New Year’s expenses, split the expenses and make two detailed lists: gifts and purchases for the celebration.
If you’re in a relationship, be sure to discuss the costs together. When shopping, stick to lists and avoid impulse purchases. It is better to correct an item or two, but not to make unaccounted for purchases – this approach disciplines and really helps to save money.
The gift list can be structured by importance and estimated cost. Start with the biggest ones and take the smallest things into account, including chocolates for the cute neighbor’s kids and mini-surprises for secret Santa at work.
Find out what’s in the wish-lists of your friends and loved ones
Buying at random is risky. What you choose to your taste may not be needed by the person you want to bestow. You will have to act directly: ask what your boyfriend or girlfriend would like to find under the Christmas tree and choose an item from the list that you can afford.
Gift certificates are a great idea
When choosing a certificate, focus on the relevance and usefulness of the service. In addition, do not forget to buy a beautiful postcard in an envelope, which will serve as the perfect packaging for a small but very practical gift. You can add chocolate to the envelope.
Buy online – in advance and without haste
To avoid the fuss, not to confuse orders and get them on time rather than in January, start shopping as soon as the list is ready and there is free time. Last-minute purchases tend to be more expensive (including shipping) and can be frustrating.
When you are going to pay for the selected goods, do not be lazy to carefully review their parameters and characteristics and read the reviews once again. You probably won’t have time to re-order a gift for your beloved sister if you miss the size or quality, so be careful.
A quick tip for an online shopper looking to save a little more:
- Don’t forget to use promotional codes if you have them. If not, google it. Sometimes you can find a voucher online for free.
- Check if your bank has partner companies that offer discounts on different categories of goods or return increased cashback for purchases and paid services.
- Don’t forget that you can get bonuses for signing up for the newsletter, installing the app, and joining the loyalty program. Sometimes you need to wait for a little for the link to be emailed to you after registration. So sign up in advance.
- Research and compare offers on marketplaces.
Take time to go to the mall
One way or another, a visit to a large store cannot be avoided – at least for the sake of buying New Year’s champagne. However, shopping in a real format on New Year’s Eve can even be pleasant: shops are beautifully decorated, lanterns are on, shop windows are decorated with tinsel, Christmas music is playing…
It’s great if you have time on weekdays, so you can avoid the hustle and bustle and queues. If you only have time on weekends, go shopping a week before the holidays. Do not forget to take with you or download the discount/bonus cards of the store where you are going.
Don’t ignore the discount shelves where you can find good quality sweets, tea or coffee, as well as nice little things for home decor that will perfectly cope with the role of gifts. A bottle of wine and chocolate is a present from the series of “eternal values”.
Remember to read the information on food labels, paying particular attention to expiration dates. The golden rule for New Year is: focus on visiting the hypermarket, rather than going around the entire mall. Visiting all the stores, you will definitely buy something extra that is not on the list.
Be creative: handmade is great
When making your shopping list, do not forget to add the item “Packaging”. The tradition of beautifully wrapped gifts always works in your favor – any little thing looks special in a shiny wrapper with a fancy bow.
Remember that you can make a gift with your own hands: a frame with your watercolor painted ceramics of your own production, or embroidery with the initials on linen napkins. An item that you have created with talent and love is an invaluable gift for those to whom you are dear.
No one has canceled the old truth: precious is the attention you pay rather than the present you give. Let the present be insignificant – a pair of funny socks or cute Christmas tree decorations – your attention will always be in place and create a New Year’s mood.