by Mira Reverente
Black Friday has come and gone and so has Cyber Monday. Do you still feel overwhelmed with your shopping and holiday lists? Perhaps a bit over-stimulated with all the ads, fliers and catalogs all vying for your attention?
It is inescapable. We all do need to get those holiday presents at some point, but we need not go crazy and stressed.
I’m sharing my shopping game plan (a.k.a. Maintaining One’s Sanity 101) here:
- Shop online. I’m an Amazon fan so I did watch out for their Black Friday deals, put a few items in my cart and they were at my doorstep as of today. I didn’t have to drive or stress over parking. Easy peasy.
- Start a gift list. So I may be a bit OCD on this, but I do maintain a gift spreadsheet from a few years back. It makes keeping track of gifts I’ve given easier. I can’t keep giving my grandma a shawl every year, can I? And my chocolate croissant pudding has probably lost its novelty with some friends. So I rotate the recipes and remember that my grandma probably has one too many shawls and could probably use a sweater or a purse this year.
- Maintain razor-sharp focus when shopping. If you do intend to step out and shop, stay focused. So what if the gingerbread man figurine is on sale at $9.99. Is it on your list? Do you honestly know anyone who would like one? In other words, don’t get distracted by the “deals” and the hype.
- Time your shopping. If you do step out and shop, go when the crowds are thinner–in the mornings as soon as the stores open. You’ll be more relaxed, not tired, hungry and cranky after work or rushed if you shop during your lunch hour.
- Unsubscribe from email lists and catalogs. This is more like a year-round thing that requires discipline and constant pruning. We do get added to lists every time we shop with a merchant. For online merchants, I unsubscribe from email lists as soon as I’m done ordering from them. Catalogs are a bit trickier as you have to find the 1-800 number to opt out but do it. Catalog Choice is an online service that I haven’t tried, to stop junk mail.
Do you have any holiday shopping tips you would like to share?
Mira Reverente is associate editor of CVH and a longtime journalist whose work has appeared in many local publications. Her first book on money came out last fall. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, for more money savviness tips or check out her new blog.