Tis season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la.
The same cannot always be said for those of us out shopping! We understand that as much as you love spending on your loved ones, searching for the “perfect” gift for everyone can be a little overwhelming. For most working adults who can only shop on the weekends, those two days are precious and you also want to use them to recharge.
In light of that, here are some Christmas shopping strategies that you can deploy to breeze through the shopping process.
Before Hitting The Stores
1. Start Early
Let’s keep this straight: this is war. Okay, maybe it’s not that serious, but it’s definitely not a random weekend for window shopping.
Moreover, Santa Claus plans early as well, so make a list and check it twice. Include the names, gift ideas, budget and the possible places to shop for these items on the list. Not only does it reduce the time wasted wandering around aimlessly when shopping, it will also give you an idea of which shopping belts to head to first.
By planning early you can also get a sense of the total amount you are going to spend this Christmas. You can adjust the budget for individual gifts accordingly if you are uncomfortable with the initially calculated amount.
Alternatively, you can set a total budget for this Christmas and assign a certain percentage of the budget to individuals. For instance, the total budget set is $400 this year and 20% of the amount is for your parents while 5% is for your kids.
2. Ask For A Wishlist
This is the best way to reduce deadweight loss (for the economics geeks out there).
Asking for a wishlist from your recipients will save you the trouble of cracking your brain to brainstorm for gift ideas. It would also save the recipients from a situation where they have to act like they love the presents when they actually don’t. Tell your recipients to list down a few options instead of one so that there’s still an element of surprise.
3. Purchasing Online
Not only can you compare items while lounging in your pyjamas, the items are also delivered to your doorstep. Websites like Amazon and Lazada offer a large variety of products, great deals, and extremely efficient delivery times. Besides the regular promotions offered by the websites, do also hunt for online discount codes to supplement your purchases. Remember to check the delivery times to avoid any last minute panic!
4. Use Credit Cards With Perks, Otherwise Use Cash
Many people have misconceptions about credit cards. They deem them the root of all evil as they tempt you to spend money that you might not have, leaving you in debt with sky high interest rates.
This is just like saying that you are lazy because you have a bed at home. Nowadays, credit cards come with various perks such as cash rebates, discounts, and air miles. Since you are spending the same amount (we trust that you are disciplined enough), why not use credit cards and get the benefits?
If your credit card does not offer such perks, use cash. With limited cash in your wallet, you would tend to focus on the items you need to buy and not the unnecessary impulse items.
5. Buy The Least Expensive Item First
Remember the last time you paid for your $2,000 laptop, you thought to yourself, what’s another $300 for an extended warranty since you have already spent so much? Once you fork out for something costly, your brain loses perspective on what’s a good price. Thus, start with the least expensive item first.
6. Keep Your Energy Levels High
The more fatigued you are, the poorer your buying decisions will be. You will tend to have the “get it over and done with” mentality when you are tired. Choose a protein-rich meal rather than a carbohydrate-laden one to avoid a “food coma” and make it through your marathon shopping sessions.
7. Consider DIY For Big Group
If you have more than 10 colleagues on your gift list and you don’t want to look cheap (even though you really feel like buying Daiso items for them), consider making your own gifts. Everyone will appreciate these little handmade gifts which you took the time to create.
With all the tips above it sounds more like war than a leisurely shopping session. With Chinese New Year around the corner, it would be best to stick to a reasonable budget for this Christmas so as to better manage your other financial commitments.