How to Shop for the Holidays

Two Methods:General Holiday Shopping TipsBudget-Friendly Shopping

Shopping for presents during the holiday season can be both emotionally and financially stressful. High credit card interest rates and overspending often mean that people end paying off their December purchases in the spring. Developing a budget-friendly routine that works for you year after year, will help you to enjoy the holidays. It is important to plan, budget, and make lists. Then, you can split your shopping and saving over the summer and fall months. Adjust your shopping schedule according to your preferences, and tweak it until you find the perfect mix of online and in-store shopping. Learn how to shop for the holidays.

Method 1
General Holiday Shopping Tips

  1. Image titled Shop for the Holidays Step 1
    Create a budget for your holiday shopping. Whether the holidays create a stressful financial situation, quantifying the amount you plan to spend on presents will give you a structure to your shopping. The following are some ways you can create a budget:
    • Think back to holiday shopping seasons over the past 5 years. Choose a year where you spent a reasonable amount and still bought presents for everyone on your least. Peruse your year-end spending reports for your debit and credit cards. Add together the approximate charges for presents and divide the amount by 10. The result should be the amount you set aside from January through October.
    • If you cannot track down your year-end spending reports, then make a list of all the people you plan to give gifts to. Allot a dollar amount next to each name. Add up all the presents and divide it by 10. Save accordingly each month.
    • Set up a Very Important Purchase (VIP) spending account at your bank. Set up an automatic monthly transfer of the monthly amount that you have determined you need to save. Set a date in November to receive your money in your checking account.
  2. Image titled Shop for the Holidays Step 2
    Keep a list of all the people you want to give presents to with you for 6 months before Christmas. Save an email version, so you can access it from home, work or your phone. Jot down ideas for presents as you think of them, and you may find your shopping will be finished weeks or months earlier than usual.
  3. Image titled Shop for the Holidays Step 3
    Use a reward points, credit card, or a mileage plan to buy presents. Many mileage plans have shopping sites where you can use miles to pay for purchases. You can also redeem rewards points for gift cards, which you can give to people who are difficult to shop for.
  4. Image titled Shop for the Holidays Step 4
    Buy expensive gifts on layaway, starting a few months in advance. Large stores like Walmart and K-Mart offer layaway programs both in the store and online. Pay over the course of a few months and pick it up in time for the present exchange.
  5. Image titled Shop for the Holidays Step 5
    Spread your remaining holiday shopping evenly among the holiday weeks. Pick 2 or 3 items to shop for every week. This will help you to avoid feeling overwhelmed and to easily cross things off your to do list every week.
  6. Image titled Shop for the Holidays Step 6
    Shop online as well as in stores. Shopping on Amazon can help you to avoid shipping charges, by choosing "Super Shipper Savings" offers. Shop on to find one-of-a kind items.
  7. Image titled Shop for the Holidays Step 7
    Go to to research Black Friday before it happens. Choose which deals are worth spending the time on. Call ahead to make sure there will be a large number of products, so you know you are likely to get the deal when you get to the store.
  8. Image titled Shop for the Holidays Step 8
    Shop Cyber Monday for your electronics deals. Look out for online store emails ahead of time, and shop on the computer. Although this is now believed to be the biggest shopping day of the year, it may save you time and money over Black Friday deals.
  9. Image titled Shop for the Holidays Step 9
    Make something, if you cannot find something. Pick one craft per holiday season and shop sales at your local craft store. People appreciate homemade jams, bath salts, decorations, clothing and more.

Method 2
Budget-Friendly Shopping

  1. Image titled Shop for the Holidays Step 10
    Avoid credit cards if you have a problem overspending during the holidays. If you get rewards points or another reward by using your credit card, ensure that you make a plan to pay off the balance every month.
    • If you cannot pay off the balance, pay for everything with cash or a checking account. The best way to avoid debt is to spend only what you have. Keep your budget in mind as you balance your checkbook each month.
  2. Image titled Shop for the Holidays Step 11
    Shop annual or semi-annual sales throughout the year. Refer to your list and pick up electronics, clothing, jewelry and other items when they are on offer, rather than waiting to see what the price is in November or December.
    • January is the best time to shop for furniture. June is the best time to buy bedding and linens. November is the best time to buy cookware and low-end laptops and TVs. Sports equipment goes on sale at the end of winter and summer.
  3. Image titled Shop for the Holidays Step 12
    Compare purchase prices in stores and online. If you want to do your shopping in stores, spend an hour researching online ahead of time, so you can recognize price gouging and go somewhere else.
  4. Image titled Shop for the Holidays Step 13
    Search deal and bargain aggregate sites. Search on Twitter and on search engines for your product and the word "deal."
  5. Image titled Shop for the Holidays Step 14
    Shop Free Shipping Day for last-minute deals. On December 16, several online retailers will offer free shipping and delivery in time for Christmas.

Things You'll Need

  • Budget
  • VIP account
  • List
  • Reward points
  • Online research
  • Bargain aggregate websites
  • Craft store

Article Info

Categories: Shopping