Making Holiday Shopping Less Stressful
There is no doubt about it, holiday shopping is stressful for most people. This can make the holidays much less enjoyable and can even lead to health problems during and after them. However, you don't have to have a stressful holiday and holiday shopping doesn't have to be a nightmare. Using these "tricks" you can enjoy your holidays, give great gifts, and avoid the stress!
The longer you wait the more stress that you will feel when it comes to holiday shopping. It is a good idea to get started early. Don't wait till Thanksgiving before you get started. Instead start in October or even before that. This will eliminate a lot of stress because you will have more time to plan and execute your plan. You will even have more time to make changes as needed.
Set a Budget
For most of us we like giving good gifts and good gifts usually means spending a fair amount of money. However, this can definitely cause a lot of stress around the holidays. Long before you buy the first gift you should make sure that you sit down and set a budget. Talk it over with your partner (if you have one) and make sure that you are in agreement before the stress takes over or you rush to get the gifts that you need. You will want to make sure that you budget for your family gifts, your friends, and even your co-workers or other gifts you need to give.
Make a List
Santa makes a list, why shouldn't you?
In fact you should make a great list. You should do this by listing out all of the people that you want to buy gifts for. Then set an amount that you want to spend on them. You can do this by percentage or by relationship. For example, you are likely to spend less on your co-workers than you children. Set an amount for each based on this relationship. Once you have an idea of how much you are going to spend on each person you should start listing ideas for gifts. Try to include as many ideas as possible in case some don't work out. Then you should order the list from the most important to the least important. This will allow you to change the bottom of the list as needed. If you run out of money you can skip the people that are least important or spend less money on them.
Consider Making It
Consider making gifts for those lower down on your list. There are tons of things that you can make and gift even if you aren't particularly crafty. This can save you loads of money in the long run and allow you to give a little something to those that you might not be able to afford a gift for otherwise.
Once you have your budget and a list of who you are going to buy for (complete with many ideas of what you are going to buy) it is time to get shopping. You want to start shopping early. There are a number of things that you can do to make this less stressful.
- Stick to your budget. Your budget is there because you only have a limited amount of money to spend. You may want to get everyone everything that they will like, but there really isn't money for that. If you only have $5 to spend on someone then make sure that you only spend $5. Don't feel bad about it and stick to it. This includes shopping for your children or grandchildren. We would all love to spend hundreds on them and many people are willing to go into debt for that, but it isn't worth it in the long run. It doesn't really help them and it doesn't help you or your stress levels.
- Shop a little at a time. You can check off one or two people off of your list a week. This will make it easier and less stressed.
- Black Friday. Black Friday can be fun or stressful. Aim to keep it fun. Save only the things you will save money on for Black Friday. Enjoy going out and don't get stressed out about it.
- Try to finish by the beginning of December. If you can finish your shopping by the first then it will be great news for you. If not aim for getting it done that first week in December.
Mark off your list
Once you have purchased a gift make sure that you mark it off of the list. This will make it fast and easy for you to get through everyone on the list!
To save energy, time, and even worry wrap the gifts when you bring them home. Make sure that you put a name tag on it and tuck it away for the holidays. You will find it easier to relax when it is all done!
Take a little time for yourself
Don't forget that you can save yourself a load of stress by taking a little time for yourself. Do something that you enjoy and do things that make yourself relax. Yes, there is lots to do. There will always be lots to do, but you are important and by taking that time you will feel better and in feeling better it will be easier to get everything on your schedule done.
This year, refuse to get stressed out and enjoy the holidays more than you ever have before. You can do it by shopping wise. Simply plan ahead with a budget and a list. Then start early and get your shopping done before the rush. You will find that the holidays can be so much more than they ever have before.