More holiday shopping tips ...
Consider alternative gifts, especially if you don’t know what to get someone who “has everything”. Oftentimes personal touches can be more appreciated than something storebought. My aunt compiled a book of recipes, family memories, and photos from our grandmother’s things, and that thought has meant more than any amount spent on gadgets.
If you have a large family, drawing names can be a lot more practical than rushing about, spending money on each person. There can be the added fun of wondering who has whose name, and a lot more personal thought can go into selecting a single gift (as well as a lot less money).
You might even consider a “dirty Santa” type gift exchange if your gift-giving circle can appreciate something like this. One place I worked in the past did this each year, and the only requirement was that the gift be something made by the giver. Each gift is wrapped, and each person draws a number. The person with number one gets to select and open any gift. The person with number two then has a choice of selecting another gift, or “stealing” the gift from whoever had number one, who would then select an unopened gift. The game continues with each new person having a choice of any already opened gift, or a new one. It is usually best to put a limit on how many times a gift can be “stolen” or the game can get out of hand.
Be aware of hidden expenses. If you normally eat at home, but grab a take-out lunch or dinner every time you shop, you spend more, especially if you make lots of small trips. The same can be said of gas, with the cost being so high these days. If you go out time after time and retrace your steps, you could save a lot by making fewer trips.
Sales can help you save money, but beware of what are advertised as special deals, even “doorbusters” that in fact aren’t any lower than the regular sale price. An an alternative, you might be able to save a lot online. Sites like cybermonday.com compile online sales and special offers like free shipping to help you find good deals. Don’t forget you can also do your own research online, simply by searching for the product you want to buy and sometimes adding terms like “discount” and “cheap” if you have the time to wade through not-so-cheap offers taking advantage of the keywords. But in the process, you will likely find sites that will save you money consistently in categories you tend to continue shopping in.
Above all, don’t stress, and have fun!