photo by Anna Dziubinska on Unsplash

Confession time: Do you get all of your holiday shopping done with plenty of time to spare or are you scrambling on Christmas Eve to get the “last-minute” gifts? Shopping is synonymous with the holidays. Whether you’re in charge of shopping for the whole family or just need to get gifts for your partner, you will find yourself looking for that perfect present starting on Black Friday and going right up to the last minute.

These smart holiday shopping tips might help you get your gifts the right way:

Make a List

You should always go grocery shopping with a list so you won’t forget what you need. The same is true for your holiday shopping. You need the list of people who you’re shopping for and what you’re thinking of getting them. In some cases, you might not have an idea yet. That means your list should include sizes for everything from slippers to shirts. Your list can also include some budget numbers. This will help you stay on track and within your budget.

Shop Online

There isn’t anything you can find in a store that you couldn’t find online. Shopping from the convenience of your laptop is going to save you on gas and on your stress levels. There are no crowds, no searching for parking spaces, no piles of items that have been picked over. The only caveat is to watch out for the shipping costs. This is where something like an Amazon Prime membership can come in handy. You don’t want to end up paying more in shipping than what the item costs. You also want to make sure you order with plenty of time for delivery.

Track Prices

Wherever you end up shopping, you need to compare prices right on the spot. There are a lot of price tracker apps you can use including one for Amazon. If you find a lower price, then ask the store to match it. Chances are they will happily knock off a few bucks to get the sale. If they don’t, then buy it online at the same time.

Pay in Cash

If you can do your holiday shopping in cash, then you’ll be ahead of the game in January when the credit card bills come in. That will actually be a nice present to give to yourself.

Buy Two

There is nothing wrong with buying the same gift for multiple people on your list. You might even be able to find a “buy one and get one free” item. That is a deal that is always worthy of consideration.

Don’t Shop on Weekends or With Friends

Weekends during the holiday shopping season will be the busiest. That is why you should try to shop during the week and during the day. As for a shopping buddy, those might work on Black Friday but for the rest of the time, you should go alone. That will allow you to stay focused on the task before you.

Bottom line: The more planning and thought you give to your holiday shopping, the smoother it will go.