Tuesday, November 16, 2010

10 Tips for Smarter Holiday Shopping & Gifting

Ever since I was a small child, I have loved Christmas shopping. My mom always swears I was born an adult, because even at five and six years old, I would look at the prices and tell her how much things cost and would look for a cheaper price. Well, I have not changed much in those thirty some years! I still love to Christmas shop, and now more than ever, I look for the best price. Twittermoms has teamed up with Office Depot and challenged bloggers to come up with 10 tips for Smarted Holiday Shopping and gifting. Here are my ideas. I hope they are useful to some of my readers!

1. Set a limit and stick to it. If you maintain your limit for everyone, you will feel better about how much you spent overall and no one will look like they are your favorite!

2. Shop the clearance areas first. Just because an item is on clearance does not necessarily mean something is wrong with it. Examine clearance clothes for holes, tears or stains! Make sure boxed items are sealed. If they are not, ask the customer service person to go through the box to make sure everything is included.

3. Shop year round! You can get wonderful deals during the "off" season. I buy hats and gloves when winter is over, because retailers are usually trying to reduce their inventory and the prices are lower. The perfect time to buy seasonal items is AFTER the season. This includes things like sleds and decorations!

4. Give a gift certificate to a restaurant or movie theater to a couple or family instead of individual gifts. This gives them something to do together without having to pull the money out of pocket to do themselves. Lots of restaurants offer bonus gift certificates when you buy a certain amount. You can get an extra $10 for every $50 gift certificate you buy to some restaurants.

5. Buy Online! You can save quite a lot of money when you buy items online, especially when you get free shipping. With gas prices closing in on $3 a gallon, free shipping can provide a major savings. You don't have to go out in the cold and crowds, and you don't have to drive from place to place searching for a gift, when you order it online.

6. Make a list and check it twice. Sounds funny, but it works for Santa! If you have that list and go back over it, you are less likely to forget someone, like a teacher, paperboy, or neighbor, and have to run out at the last minute to make a purchase

7. Always get a gift receipt. I know we always hope to make the right decision and have a happy recipient, but that does not always happen. Children grow a size. Someone else buys the same gift for them that you bought. They just have different taste than you do. It is the thought that counts, but with a gift receipt, they can take it back and make themselves happier!

8. Have a handmade Christmas. Bake cookies or a cake as a gift. If you sew, why not make a pillow, quilt or apron. If you scrapbook, you could make them some pages where all they have to do is to adhere their photos and journal. You could also give the gift of yourself. Babysit for your neighbors as a gift. Tutor a friend's child as a gift. If it saves someone money and they can use it, it's a gift!

9. Shop sales! Get out there and look. Sales are not going to just fall in your lap. Study sites online where you can view Black Friday ads, so you will know where the deals are. Some stores will match pricing, so if your store will, go for it!!

10. Take a deep breath and realize that no one is perfect, and remember the real reason for the holiday. The best gift you can give anyone is love. So long as you give love, nothing else matters! Sit back and relax...and know that all is right with the world!

Hope these help someone!!

Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas everyone!
I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Office Depot blogging program, making me eligible to get a $40 Office Depot gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here

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