How to survive holiday shopping

giftI love giving gifts! Nothing makes me happier than the smile on a loved one’s face when they open the present I’ve put so much thought into.

But you know what I hate? Crowded malls to get said present. There’s nothing worse that stressfully weaving through crowds of crazy sale goers while you try to think of something to get your friends and family. To help relieve some of the anxiety around shopping, here are some helpful tips I have for surviving the big shopping season.

1. Make a shopping list before you leave.

The goal is to get in and out of there as fast as you can, therefore knowing what you want to get is key! Before you leave the house, curl up on your couch, put on some Christmas music and start making a list (checking it twice is optional but recommended).

Pinterest has thousands of gift ideas for everyone from boyfriend to your boss’s dog and is a great place to start if you can’t think of anything yourself. If you’re really stuck, at least put something generic down like chocolates (probably not for your boss’s dog, though), and then when you get to the mall, you’ll have a fallback if you can’t find something better along the way.

2. Shop online!

present-tree-featureThis tip is crucial, especially if you want to avoid malls altogether during the month of December. It’s a little late in the season now, but if you have those premium online accounts, you should be able to order your presents just in time for the big day.

Most of the time, you can find better deals online and you never have to get out of your Christmas pajamas to buy the best gifts ever. And, if your gifts don’t arrive on time, you can always say that you observe Ukrainian Christmas, which occurs on the 7th of January.

3. Pack snacks.

You know what’s scarier than those Black Friday videos of people getting trampled by people launching into the cheap TV bin? Being hangry while Christmas shopping. While most malls and shopping centres come fit with food courts, do you really want to prolong this experience and get into another line? Simply tuck away some crackers or veggies, and take a 5-minute breather between stores. Trust me, you’ll make much better buying decisions that way.

4. Ask the store rep.

mallSo, you’ve made it through the parking lot mania and are standing in a packed store with shoppers swerving around you and 100 haphazardly folded sweaters. A sales rep from the store finds you, looking distraught and overwhelmed, and asks, “Do you need help with anything?” You reply instantly, “No thank you, just looking,” because you hate socializing in this state of stress. DON’T DO THAT.

Seriously, the people that work in the store know where everything is (most of the time) and their only job is to help you! While talking with a stranger about what size turtleneck your aunt would wear seems awkward, it will save you from the long quest to find the turtleneck and then mull over the sizing internally. This tip also works if you want to find something better for someone than what’s on your list because the sales reps are trained to recommend items.

5. Have a budget!

It’s the reoccurring student nightmare: “Card Declined.” The holidays can put a huge dent into a student’s wallet, but if you plan your budget ahead of time, you might not have to eat Mr. Noodles every day in January.

With the handy list you’ve made, you can also include how much you’re hoping to spend on each person (which will help the sales rep), so you stay on track. Bringing cash instead of using a card will also help you watch how much you spend and makes you look kind of old-school in the age of Apple Pay.

Need some more tips? My fellow blogger Avery has some great advice about ways to save money this holiday season. Check it out here!

I hope these tips help you out this shopping season and don’t forget: elbows up when there’s a sale! Happy Holidays!

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