Holiday Shopping Tips to Keep You Stress Free and on Budget

Posted on: December 6, 2011

I know the holidays can be a very stressful time. With the buying of all the gifts, organizing travel arrangements, planning the holiday menu, and let’s not forget about the Christmas parties! With all this going on, plus working, adds quite a bit of pressure. This is not good. You can end up causing yourself to get stress wrinkles, lose your hair, or even break-out. Here are my holiday gifting tricks I use every year to keep me hassle free so I may enjoy myself. It only comes around once a year you know!

• Set a budget per person

So many people think that how much money you spend shows someone how much they mean to you. This is false. You show your love through actions, not by material things. If you know you can’t afford that 40’ flat screen for your parents because your hours got cut at work, don’t go and get into credit card debt trying to buy something you can’t afford.

Set a budget for your Christmas gifts. Let’s say its $200. Then narrow your list to a key number of members of your family that you want to buy gifts for, like your mother, father, partner or spouse, and your best friend. Then divide the $200 among these people depending on who is most important to you. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, make it an even split, $50 each. After you establish your budget, YOU MUST STICK TO IT.

• Get creative with gift ideas

Sometimes the best gifts are the ones you really put some thought into. You want to give that special someone a gift that matches their interests and hobbies. What is out in mass market will not give you this option. Let’s say you know your mother loves to write in journals, and your best friend is really into African art. Sure you could find them something mass produced at Target or Burlington, but who wants that? Plus you might end up paying more.

A great hidden gem is Etsy. This is a great site where artists and jewelers from all over the world sell their handmade wares online. You can find anything from handmade leather journals, works of art, wall decals, clothing, and even vintage pieces. What’s really great is since you are buying directly from the artist, they are super open to do customizations on your purchase, or a complete made to order item. You can’t get that kind of customer service at the department store. Plus the site is completely reliable and safe.

• Use online outlet stores for designer deals.

Ok, let’s say you really want to give your friend something from Dolce and Gabbana because you know that is her favorite designer. A $1500 pair of sunglasses is not in the cards right now. What can you do? Check out online outlet stores like Nordstrom’s Off the Rack and Beyond the Rack.

With Nordstrom’s Off the Rack, you get the same designer clothes and accessories as the full priced store, but at discount prices because they are off season styles! You can get up to 60% sticker price.

Another great online store is Beyond the Rack. This company has become very popular. This site is for members only, so you may need to request an invitation from the homepage. The great thing is, they never turn someone down. You may not even have to request an invitation anymore. The beauty of this site, is they carry hundreds of designer names from Miu Miu to Marc by Marc Jacobs and smaller names as well. They offer site deals that only last about a couple of days or less on a particular brand, so you must act quickly. That is how they are able to give you deals like 75% off.

• Give gifts via Facebook

One of the easiest ways to give gifts this year is to shop on Facebook. No not the ads on the right hand side, but real stores like Starbucks and Levi. If you go onto eGiftSocial or Payvment, they will give you a list of all the stores that sell their merchandise or gift cards on Facebook. You then log into your Facebook account, and begin shopping. Use your friends “Favorites” list on their page to get an idea on what to buy them.

You can select items and purchase right through the company Facebook page and pay with Paypal. They will prompt you to say which friend on Facebook you are giving the gift to. When you put in your friend’s name and click send, the will get a message in their inbox stated that you bought them a gift. They will get a link in the message to the company website where they can redeem their gift and have it shipped to them.

Utilize Amazon

I know everyone under the sun uses Amazon, but have you really utilized it? Do you notice the two smaller prices in highlighted text underneath the Amazon price? These items are sold either brand new or used by other sellers on Amazon. A lot of the products are sold brand new through these other Amazon sellers and are loads cheaper. Read each user’s customer feedback to gauge who has the best positive results and order from them. The order is still fulfilled by Amazon so if there is any discrepancies, Amazon will take care of it. The shipment might take two more days than it would if purchased from Amazon the seller, but who cares! Just make sure you start your holiday shopping in plenty of time before December 24th.

Consider making your own gift baskets

Gift baskets in the most common gift I can think of. They are given year round for every occasion. Why not shake things up a bit and make your own gift basket. Grab a bottle of low priced wine, like the $2 bottles from Trader Joes, print a unique label and past it over so people never know how much you spent. Add some homemade Christmas cookies, you don’t need to eat all those anyway, or, small $1 and $3 items from Bath and Body Works. Sephora sometimes has great small treasures you can find by the register for about $5. By making your own gift baskets gives a great personal touch without breaking the bank.

Well I hope all these suggestions were helpful. Don’t let the holidays get you down. Stay sexy, flirty, and financial fit. Happy Shopping!


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