Holiday shopping can become quite stressful if you’re battling crowds on top of trying to find gifts for your loved ones. With everything else that you need to do to prepare for the holidays, fighting huge crowds can really waste your time and ruin your spirits. Here are some tips on how to avoid holiday shopping crowds:
Shop online. By shopping online, you not only avoid the holiday crowds, but you are better able to compare products and prices. Instead of wondering about an item’s quality or performance, you can quickly find an online review. By comparing several product retailers, you can make sure that you get the best prices and deals.
One concern with online shopping is shipping costs. However, many stores offer discounted or free shipping with orders over a certain dollar amount. You can also choose parcel post or media mail, which are cheaper than priority or first class mail. Just remember to allow sufficient time for shipping.
Shop prepared. Many people end up spending excessive amounts of time in stores because they have no idea about what to buy and how much to spend. Rather than meander from store to store, battling holiday shopping crowds everywhere you go, have a defined plan of attack for what you will buy, in what price range, and for whom. This will limit your exposure to the holiday shopping crowds and help keep you sane.
Shop early. Obviously, if you start your holiday shopping in October, you’ll be dealing with a very small or no holiday rush. Likewise, shopping early allows you time to wait for sales and deals. You can leisurely make your gift selections, and if a better-priced item is found elsewhere, there is time to return or exchange your already purchased merchandise.
Shop during business hours. If you can go shopping during weekday business hours, you will avoid a significant amount of the holiday shopping crowds. Even if you cannot get away during work hours, try doing your holiday shopping on your lunch break. If you put in only one hour of shopping each day, you will have accumulated 5 hours of total shopping time by the end the week. Those 5 hours will make a significant impact on your holiday shopping list.
Shop during TV prime time. Saturday afternoons and Sunday nights are often when various football games and other major TV programs are shown, leading many people to stay home instead of go out shopping. These times may be a great opportunity for you to avoid holiday shopping crowds and find some end or start-of-week product sales and deals.
Shop all year. Seasoned holiday shoppers know that the best way to avoid the holiday rush is to be holiday shopping all year. This way, you have the entire year to look for bargains and deals. It also spreads out your holiday gift-buying budget, so that you do not have excessive credit card debt when your January credit card statement arrives.