Between your regular daily activities and all the parties and family obligations, the days leading up to Christmas seem to fly by at a frenetic pace. And somehow in all that, you still have to find time to get your holiday shopping done. These tips and techniques can help relieve stress and keep you on track through the holiday rush.
It started with Black Friday—the sales and promotions (and shoppers) seem to get crazier and crazier as Dec. 25 approaches. One of the best ways to keep your sanity through it all is to plan ahead. Do your research before you head off to the stores and malls. Most of the gifts and accessories you are looking for can be purchased online, saving you the stress and hassle of shopping in-store. Bonus: Often, these items are cheaper online, too. Consumer Reports features comprehensive ratings and reviews of the top shopping websites.
If you are planning on venturing out, plan your trip ahead of time. Malls are madness this time of year, especially with all the additional things going on like photos with Santa and promotional events. Many stores that are in the mall have corner or outlet locations as well, and a slightly longer drive can often get you the same deal with less crowding and stress.
Organize the Chaos
Before you even start shopping, make a list of what you need to get and who it’s for. An app like Wunderlist can help keep you organized, and it enables you to share lists with other people so you don’t have to do it all yourself.
Managing your finances during the holidays can be tricky, especially if you are dealing with multiple people to buy for. Always know ahead of time what your budget is and exactly how much you can spend on specific people or for specific events. Software like HomeBudget can keep you on track and aware of your exact budget, as well as allow you to sync your budget with multiple people—so there is no confusion at the end of the month when balancing your accounts.
Protect Your Stuff
With so many people out and about, things can happen to your valuables—sometimes by accident, and sometimes on purpose. Whatever the cause, make sure you and your stuff is protected. Cell phones tend to be a big target both for accidents and theft. Take advantage of the protection plans from companies like Protect Your Bubble for your smartphones and personal electronics. With low deductibles, next-day replacements on most items and a variety of coverage options, you can ensure you will always have your phone by your side during the entire holiday season.
Finally, whatever your plans are and whoever you choose to spend your holidays with, make sure to enjoy this time. Planning ahead and protecting yourself will not only help ease the stress often associated with holiday shopping, but can also free up valuable time to be spent with those you love.
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