Finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones can be very rewarding, but when you’re scheduling your holiday shopping, you have to take a lot of things into account and plan carefully.
Avoid the biggest holiday shopping mistakes with a few simple tips. Staying organized and sticking to your budget are a must, but there are a few other errors that could derail you when you’re shopping for gifts. Here’s how to avoid them this year.
1. Shopping Too Late
Leaving your holiday shopping to the last minute will actually get you to spend more money, since you’ll be pressed for time and you’ll miss out on any early deals. The more you wait, the more you’re likely to overspend. You won’t avoid crowds, you’ll have a smaller selection to choose from, and you’ll be paying more! Don’t procrastinate.
2. Not Making a List
If you have to buy presents for more than 5 people, it’s always better to make a list. Going in unprepared is one of the major holiday shopping mistakes. Whether you write it down on a piece of paper or keep it on your smartphone, the list will keep you on track and help you organize your time in the store better.
3. Going Over Budget
Spending too much is something we all want to avoid, but there are more costs to consider than just buying the presents. You also have to take into account the gas you’ll spend while you get to your destinations, the gift wrapping materials (not all stores offer free wrapping), and even the postage for some of your presents. Think about everything in advance to stay on budget.
4. Ignoring Coupons
Paying attention to special deals can save you a lot of money, and there are plenty of retailers that use coupons to draw customers in. You can also look for coupons when you’re shopping online. Simply google the name of the retailer and the word “coupon”. Not taking the time to search for special deals and coupons that you can use is definitely one of the biggest holiday shopping mistakes.
5. Shopping in the Evening
It can be difficult to find time to shop during the day, but evenings and weekends are the most crowded times. Even if you don’t realize it, shopping in a very crowded store can stress you out and make you make mistakes, when it comes to both your gift selection and the price you’re willing to pay.
6. Getting a Store Credit Card
Even if you think you’re saving money by getting a store credit card, the discounts are often offset by long term costs. One of the worst holiday shopping mistakes is making a rash decision when you’re in a hurry. If you think you’d be willing to give store credit cards a try, do your research online before you go shopping to you’ll know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
7. Buying All the Presents Online
Shopping online may save you time, but it also has some disadvantages. If you don’t qualify for free shipping, you might end up spending more than in a store, especially if you choose to have the online seller gift wrap everything for you. Returning clothes bought from online stores can also become a hassle, so you should also hit a few stores.
8. Extreme Bargain Hunting
Even with a great plan and a lot of time to go bargain hunting, you could end up spending more. When you have multiple shopping trips, the risk of getting more presents increases, especially since you think that getting everything for a discount means big savings. Focusing too much on bargain hunting can actually become one of the holiday shopping mistakes to avoid.
9. Forgetting about Hosts
Bringing something to a holiday party is a must, so you should also include a few generic gifts in your shopping budget. If you’re not sure about your plans yet, but a few standard gifts, that aren’t necessarily tied to winter holidays and can also be used later on.
10. Wasting Time Parking
Spending too much time looking for the perfect parking space can also turn into one of the holiday shopping mistakes. If you park further away as soon as you reach the store, you’ll have to walk a little more, but you won’t arrive already stressed out and ready to settle for anything just to get it over with.