Holiday shopping can be a super stressful time. And that is in normal years. No one would argue that 2020 has been a normal year. With all the stressors we’re dealing with right now, don’t let holiday shopping add to your burden. Follow the holiday shopping tips outlined in this article. We also provide a list of the top holiday shopping mistakes to avoid.
The holidays are right around the corner. Get a good start on your holiday shopping this year by reading the rest of this article. You can also skip the shopping and get your loved ones a gift they will cherish, holiday flowers from BloomsyBox.
Holiday shopping tips
Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. You don’t have to let holiday shopping ruin your holiday mood. Here are ten holiday shopping tips to reduce your stress levels.
1) Plan, plan, plan
One of the best ways to ensure a good and efficient holiday shopping experience is to plan. Planning holiday shopping may seem like a waste of time. You may like the idea of just heading where gift-giving inspiration takes you. This is a mistake, especially for busy people.
If you are anything like us, time is a precious commodity. You likely do not have the time to drive around looking for the most perfect gift. Instead, you need to optimize your holiday shopping experience by planning.
Planning means a number of things when you are holiday shopping. It means making a list of the gifts you plan on getting during each trip. It also means doing your research ahead of time—we discuss this one in more detail below. Finally, you may also want to plan out your shopping route. This process ensures that you are optimizing your time at different stores.
2) Shop online
In today’s coronavirus world, you may feel like it is safer to do your holiday shopping online. Online shopping at least guarantees a mask-free shopping experience. So, there’s that.
There are a lot of online shopping options today. Pretty much any of your favorite stores will likely have an online presence. From jewelry delivery to flower delivery, there is an online store for you. If you are uncomfortable giving large online brands, like Amazon, your money, there are also smaller boutique stores or craft sites, like Etsy, to check out.
The one thing to keep in mind when shopping online this holiday season is delivery times. More people will likely be shopping online this year. You don’t want your gift to be delivered after the holidays because of delays. Bake in at least a week or two to your online order. This way you know for sure your gift will arrive on time.
3) Do your research
Whether online or in-person, it is important to do your research before you begin holiday shopping. Brands are very good at tricking us into thinking we are getting a good deal. They may provide a “sale” that is anything but a discount on the product.
There are also a lot of different options for most products out there. Having one or two brands specifically in mind for each gift will help keep your choices narrow. It will also cut down on any extraneous or spur of the moment spending, which will help keep you on a budget this holiday season.
4) Remember that all deals are not necessarily "deals"
Just because a brand says that a product is “on-sale” does not mean that you will be saving a lot of money. In fact, “buy one, get one” sales are notorious for this misconception.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday “deals” are similarly misunderstood. Studies have shown that there is actually not that large of a markdown on products during these one-day events. Unless you love fighting the crowds on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, wait a week or two and your preferred products will likely be even cheaper, and you will save yourself the hassle of shopping on the busiest days of the year.
The best way to ensure you are getting a good deal is to do your research ahead of your shopping trip. Know what the general price is for the gifts—especially big-ticket items—you plan on getting. We recommend even bringing a list of the base price and competitors' sales with you. The list will help you keep the prices straight and prevent you from being carried away by a decent salesperson.
5) Look for coupons
A great way to get a good deal on your holiday gifts is to use coupons. You no longer need to cut coupons and bring them in a book when you go shopping. Most physical stores have rewards programs and special offers for their members. These can usually be accessed via an app on your smartphone.
There are also a number of digital coupon sites. The most popular are Groupon, Coupons.com, Savings.com, and Hip2Save. These sites, and so many more, will provide coupons or cashback for purchases both online and in person. It may take a little time to find a coupon for the gifts you want. So make sure you leave enough time to research and find great deals when planning on using coupons. If done right, they can save you a lot of money.
6) Look for quality and not quantity
Most countries have been hit by an economic downturn in 2020. You may likely be looking for gifts on a more constrained budget. Just remember that your loved ones will be much happier with well-thought-out and personal gifts than they will with a lot of gifts.
When it comes to quality vs. quantity, quality always wins. Take this example: You want to give a loved one the gift of a flower subscription this holiday season. Giving your loved one a flower subscription with weekly or monthly, high-quality, farm-to-table flowers will be a much better gift than cheaper but more blooms. If the flowers fade after one or two days, your loved one will not be able to appreciate their gift. Giving them a high-quality BloomsyBox subscription will solve this problem and provide much more enjoyment.
7) Strategically plan shopping trips
As we already mentioned, you will likely not want to go shopping on Black Friday, unless the crowds are your thing. Weekend shopping trips around the holidays will be similarly busy. If you have a flexible schedule, strategically planning your shopping trips will be an essential part of keeping your stress level down this holiday season.
In general, try to shop in the middle of the day and week. Plan out your shopping route as well. This can help you avoid the worst crowds and traffic. The more you plan the shopping trip itself, the less likely you will be to get held up by crowds at any one store.
8) Avoid shopping on weekend.
As mentioned in the tip above, try to avoid holiday shopping on the weekend. We know that this may be impossible for many people. If you work a traditional 9-5 job, then you will have to do your holiday shopping at night and on the weekend.
If you have the flexibility, then we highly recommend skipping the weekend shopping trips. Weekends are the most common shopping days. During the holidays the number of people out will only increase. For both your physical and mental health, avoid the crowds by not shopping on the weekend.
9) Try curbside pickup
Many stores now have curbside pickup. You do your shopping online and then go to the store and pick up your items. What’s great about curbside pickup is that it reduces your need to enter the store. This is where online shopping helps, as your gifts will be delivered directly to your home.
Curbside pickup gained in popularity in the spring as the coronavirus pandemic began picking up steam. Even if you do not have health concerns, curbside pickup is a great way to beat the crowds. Just make sure you know what the requirements are for curbside pickup in each store. Some may tack on a fee or require a certain amount of product to be purchased.
10) Track your spending
One final tip for smooth holiday shopping is to track your spending. It is very easy to go over budget during the holidays. Most of us do not have infinite money to spend, though. So, you should try and stay on budget as much as possible.
Tracking your spending when shopping online is easy. You can see your bank account balance updated in real-time. When holiday shopping in a store, you can try paying with cash or sticking to your pre-researched list.
Holiday shopping mistakes to avoid
Still a little nervous about holiday shopping this year? We’ll end this article with five holiday shopping mistakes to avoid. Knowledge is power. Therefore, knowing what the most common mistakes are will help you avoid them.
1) Going over budget
This is probably the biggest mistake of all. It is very easy to go overboard during the holidays. If you have a lot of people to buy gifts for, the risk only increases. Going a little over budget is not a huge deal for most people. However, a little over budget becomes a lot over budget very quickly.
People on a fixed income will want to be very careful about exceeding their holiday budget. Giving a lot of gifts is not worth not paying your bills in January. Be realistic about how much you have to spend, do your research, and stay on budget.
2) Shopping on credit
One of the reasons most people struggle to remain on the budget is by shopping with credit. When you shop with a credit card, it can be hard to remember that you are using real money. It may seem worth it to push your holiday gifts all the way to your credit limit.
Resist this urge. Doing all your holiday shopping on credit is a great way to set yourself into a debt hole. You don’t want to be paying off these holidays’ gifts all the way to next year or beyond. If you do shop with credit, be even more diligent about staying on budget.
3) Buying expensive but impersonal gifts
Often in popular culture, we see people giving ultra-expensive gifts during the holidays. You may think that this is the way to a loved one’s heart. You’d be wrong though. Don’t make the mistake of giving impersonal but expensive gifts.
Focusing on the expense of the gift is a great way to go over your holiday budget. Plus, most people would prefer a gift that shows how much you know them. Give a thoughtful and meaningful gift, like a flower subscription from BloomsyBox. The recipient will likely be much more impressed.
4) Forgetting gifts for important people
If you only have one or two people to buy for, forgetting to get a gift for someone will be less of a problem for you. People with lots of gifts to buy can easily forget someone important. Whether a child or an adult, you don’t want to forget a gift for someone during the holidays. This oversight can cause huge problems in your family or friend group.
We recommend making a list of all of the people you plan on buying for this year. Then list the gifts you plan on purchasing next to each name. Cross off the recipient and gift as you purchase them. This will ensure everyone is accounted for by the times the holidays arrive.
5) Shopping at the last minute
A final extremely common holiday shopping mistake is putting it off. Do not wait until the last minute to purchase your holiday gifts.
Lots of problems can occur if you wait too late to shop. Online purchases may not arrive in time for the holidays. Also, you are more likely to go over budget or forget an important gift. In essence, giving yourself enough time to complete your holiday shopping will ensure that none of the mistakes listed here are made this year.
Holiday shopping should be a joyful time. Use it as a way to give back to the loved ones in your life. You just need to keep your stress low by following the tips presented in this article. And, if you need some gift ideas, visit our flower shop or subscription pages. Flowers, especially a bouquet by BloomsyBox, makes the perfect holiday gift.