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‘Tis the season to start thinking about holiday shopping. But the way you’ll go about crossing everyone off your gift list this year, like most things in 2020, is bound to be a little different. Major retailers such as Target and Walmart have already confirmed that on Thanksgiving Day they will be closed, doing away with the usual jumpstart to Black Friday shopping, and for some brands, the coronavirus has contributed to shortages and backlogs.
Even so, there’s plenty to be happy about. Thanks to more online sales, Cyber Monday offers, and special holiday rates in the months leading up to Christmas – starting with the delayed Amazon Prime Day on October 13th and 14th – you can expect to save quite a lot of money. Retailers have also come up with smart ways of streamlining the shopping experience, such as extended curbside pickup and same day delivery. But to get the biggest bang for your buck – and get all the gifts on time – you will need to be organized and shop with a plan. Here are some tips for doing just that.
Start with a Budget
Overspending is one of the greatest stressors of holiday shopping, so be sure to create a budget before you hit the stores. Work out the amount you can afford to spend on gifts first. Then, make a list of the people you would like to buy for and allocate portions of your budget.
Apps such as the Christmas Gift List Tracker and Santa’s Bag do the math and organize purchases for you (although a pen and paper also work just fine!). If you are planning to make DIY gifts, don’t forget to ensure that the cost of materials is factored into your budget.
Sign Up for Specials
Sure, your inbox can get a bit stuffed with promotional emails, but they are worth signing up for if you are a devotee of a particular store, as they often include discount codes and sale previews. Look into customer reward programs too. Most are free to join and offer benefits such as exclusive membership sales, purchase discounts, and dollar-spent rewards.
Do Your Research and Find Those Discounts
Before you pull out your wallet, spend some time researching opportunities to save money on your gift purchases. With a list of gift ideas in hand, scour the newspapers or conduct some online research to see where you can score those gift purchases for the best price.
If you will be shopping online – and research is suggesting that more people than ever plan to do that this year – then you should also consider signing up for Honey. Honey is a free to use service – now owned by PayPal – that when installed in your Internet browser will automatically alert you to discount codes, better pricing etc, at thousands of stores across the web including biggies like Amazon, Walmart and Target.
I’ve found it saves tons of time and it offers plenty of savings. Better still you can earn ‘gold’ points as you shop and trade them in for gift cards later.
Shop Smarter Online
Shopping on the couch in their PJs is a lot of people’s definition of the ideal shopping excursion. This is doubly true when shopping in person can be so hard due to COVID-19 restrictions. Some of the other benefits of shopping online, in addition to reducing crowds, include:
- Less impulse spending (when you are laser-focused on buying a particular item online, you are less likely to buy more than you intended)
- The ability to ship goods directly to the receiver of an out-of-town gift (often at no cost)
- A simple way to handle gift receipts (you can consolidate all of them into a single email folder)
- Efficiency! (no driving or waiting and no masks!)
The only tricky aspect of online shopping is to keep track of where in the order / shipment / delivery process the gift is. To keep track of when a gift purchase has been delivered to your house (or to the gift recipient if sent directly to them), you can use a simple Excel type spreadsheet.
Take Advantage of Curbside Pickup
With coronavirus making social distance very important, many retailers provide curbside pickup for goods purchased via their website or app. Many shoppers have already taken advantage (purchases made online and picked up at a store have risen 62 percent from last year, according to Adobe Analytics), and it’s one super simple way to streamline your holiday shopping and avoid long lines.
Small Business Saturday, which encourages shoppers to spend within their communities the Saturday after Thanksgiving, hit a record high last year according to a survey from American Express and the National Federation of Small Business—a hopeful sign for independently owned stores who need holiday dollars more than ever this season.
Spending at your local shops not only helps your neighborhood, but you’re also bound to find unique, curated gifts for friends and family, too. Check out the Shop Small map to find stores and restaurants in your area.
Shop in Person With a Plan
If you’re old school and prefer to visit stores to complete your holiday shopping, do so with a plan. Take some time up front to map out the most efficient route so that you’re not driving all over the place and wasting precious time (and gas) or heading to stores that may have changed their hours, shopping processes and more in the face of COVID-19.
Create a Gift Storage Station
For gifts that will be delivered by Santa, and not the USPS, designate a single area to store them in until it’s time to wrap. Clear containers stashed in a closet can be an excellent solution. Unbox each gift as it arrives in the mail so that you can have a visual, as well as written, reminder of just what you have already got and what you still need to find.
Need help with holiday organization? The Just by Taya team has you covered. Contact us today to discuss just how we can help you.