Yesterday, we examined a number of good reasons why you might want to do your Christmas shopping sooner rather than later. Today, we’ll dig a little deeper to look at some ways you can get the most out of your shopping experience in a bid to avoid getting stressed out later on. After all, Christmas should be a celebration – not an endurance test!
Save Receipts – A #10 or small manila envelop is a good place to keep all of your holiday shopping receipts. Jot “Christmas” on the cover and save everything in one convenient, easy to find location. In addition, place gift receipts in with each present just in case the recipient needs to make a return or exchange later on. My goodness…how on earth could you possibly know that your Uncle John put on 20 lbs since you last saw him? That “L” shirt is much too small now for his noticeably expanding girth!
Mark Receipts – In addition to saving receipts, are you certain that your early purchases permit you to make returns and exchanges well into January? Stores more often than not liberalize their return policies for Christmas, by allowing any gift purchased months earlier to be returned for as many as thirty days post holiday. Just to be safe, you may want to ask a manager about their return policy and have them sign your receipt accordingly. Retailers who bend over backwards to accommodate shoppers are worthy of your business. As for everyone else, not so much.
Use Credit Cards – Undisciplined use of credit cards is never wise especially during the Christmas season when sentimentality runs high and the urge to spend, spend, spend increases accordingly. However, your credit card issuer may offer to you an important benefit which you may not be aware of: purchase protection. You’ll need to review your card agreement for specifics, but many card providers will insure your purchases against theft, loss or accidental damage. This can come in handy if you’re at the mall and someone plays the role of an unrepentant Grinch and breaks into your car and steals Christmas out from underneath you.
Shop Online – You already hate shopping at the mall, so why not do some of your Christmas shopping online? Online retailers fully expect that customers will continue to search the internet in a bid for bargains, but not every deal online is worth it. Some things to look for: free shipping, tax free purchases, and an easy to understand return policy. Some retailers may not offer free shipping to your home, but they may offer it when your purchase ships to their store nearest your home, which means you can stop by at your convenience and pick up that item.
Consider Extras – Inasmuch as finding a good buy is important or shopping from the convenience of your laptop does wonders to help remove stress, don’t forget to look out for certain extras this season. In a bid to get the lion’s share of your business, some retailers are offering consumers gift cards for reaching certain spending levels. Of course, don’t bust your budget to attain higher thresholds but if you can spend your $200 at one retailer and receive a $25 gift card on top of it, then don’t split your purchases by going to two or more retailers. Other extras worth considering: free wrapping of your gifts, concierge shopping service, and donations to your school or favorite charity when you patronize the business at certain times.
Finally, shop with a list and stick to it. Each of the mentioned tips can be quickly undermined if you go over board by spending beyond what you planned.
Adv. — With Christmas just six weeks away, you know that time will suddenly seem to vanish. Why not take some of the pressure off of yourself by shopping online this Christmas season? The nBuy Shopping Plaza offers gift bargains galore as well as a terrific way for you to plan your shopping accordingly. Choose from more than 5,000 stores!
Photo Credit: Vicky Gill