De-stress. It’s a word that seems to be everywhere right now, but what does it really mean? The dictionary defines de-stress as “to remove stress or anxiety from,” which is exactly the idea behind these simple tips for de-stressing your shopping experience. Whether you’re looking for gifts for kids, coworkers, friends and family, or yourself, there are many ways to make the whole process much easier on you. Here are eight tips to help you get through the holidays without any undue stress.
1) Set a budget before buying anything. This sounds obvious, but many people don’t do this, so they end up overspending. Before you go shopping, set a realistic budget based on how much money you have in your bank account. Then stick to the budget. If you’re out of town, take some time off work to spend more with the ones you love at their place. You can even give them small gifts as an alternative to spending a lot of money.
2) Shop online. There are plenty of websites that have all kinds of products for sale. Some people prefer shopping in stores because they like to touch things (like clothes), but most shops these days have online options too. Plus, if you shop online, you won’t have to worry about trying things on in front of other people. And since you can buy gifts online as well, there’s no need to rush around town looking for something specific.
3) Get gift cards. They might not always be practical, but sometimes gift cards are the perfect thing to buy someone. For example, if you’re going to buy a big ticket item like a plasma TV, it may just be easier to give them a gift card. Or if you want to give them a gift basket, a gift card is better than nothing. Gift cards come in handy when you don’t know exactly what to get someone yet. Just think about what kind of person they are and then choose something appropriate. You could also use gift cards to pay for their groceries or gas.
4) Donate. Sometimes, you can donate things instead of giving them away. For instance, if you have extra winter gear lying around, you could either sell it on eBay or donate it to charity. If you still have stuff hanging around that you aren’t using, check Craigslist for free items. You can often find clothing, furniture, toys, books, electronics, and household goods that are being given away. If you’re feeling generous, you could even offer to drive someone to the store to pick up some supplies.
5) Avoid crowds. No matter where you live, there will probably be lots of people shopping during the holidays. If you’d rather avoid this, try shopping early in the day. Try to plan ahead and get to the mall early to beat the crowd. In addition, if you don’t mind walking, try taking public transportation. Most cities allow commuters one hour of free parking per day, so you could easily walk a few blocks and save money on gas.
6) Buy gifts in bulk. Buying gifts in bulk is more economical than buying individual pieces. You can often find coupons for discounts if you shop online. And remember that when you buy gifts in bulk, you get to skip the wrapping and mailing costs.
7) Take breaks. During the holiday season, it’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of shopping. But in order to avoid getting overwhelmed, you should give yourself breaks every once in awhile. Set aside 15 minutes throughout the day to visit a local coffee shop or restaurant. If you’re in the mood, you could even go shopping later in the day. When you have a break to yourself, you’ll feel less stressed out and ready to head back out to shop again.
8) Be flexible. As I mentioned above, you don’t have to buy everything on your list. If you realize that you’ve made a mistake, just move on to another item on your list. If you haven’t gotten started yet, that’s okay. Just plan to get a little something for each person on your list.
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Hopefully these tips will help you stay calm while you’re shopping for presents. Remember, the best way to enjoy Christmas is to relax and have fun!