7 Smart Tips for Avoiding Holiday Shopping Madness!

Posted by Jill Chivers in Shopping Strategies, Shopping, Clothes and Emotions

Holiday madness comes in many forms.  Close proximity to family members that we haven’t seen for months can be one precipitating factor.  Too much eggnog, mistletoe and Santa sightings can do it as well.  And shopping.  Ah – shopping.  At this time of year, shopping can be almost lethal – it certainly can become a contact sport!  There are shopping centres that I actively avoid from about December 15 onward – they are madhouses!

So, this week I’d like to share with you 7 smart tips for avoiding holiday shopping madness.  Feel free to share these with your nearest and dearest, so they, too, can stay sane as they shop this holiday season.

1. Use a list.  Do not, repeat, NOT, go shopping without a map – a list of what you need, and what you will use and wear should your purchase said item.  Shopping without a list at this time of year is like launching yourself into the Bolivian jungle without a map or a guide.  Don’t do it to yourself.  There is research that tells us that you will spend up to 40% less if you shop with a list.  The thing you need to not leave home without is NOT your MasterCard – its your list.

2. Prepare your budget.  Okay, don’t turn me off just yet.  I know this isn’t the funnest suggestion I’ll make today.  But you know I wouldn’t suggest something that, even if a little distasteful, will pay a huge benefit.  So, yes, this is the fish oil of this list.  I get it.  But the smart tip still stands: you must know how much you have to spend, and how you will pay for your purchases.  Research says that you will spend 20 – 50% less if you pay with cash.  And in this case, debit cards count as ‘plastic’.

3. Work out where.  Don’t just wander aimlessly, from store to store, mall to mall.  Create a rundown of the stores you’ll hit, and keep focused on what you’re there for.  Otherwise, the great vortex of holiday shopping madness might swallow you whole, with hours disappearing like fairy dust, leaving you wondering where Thursday went.

4. Ask yourself the Do I Really Need It? Question.  This question will likely save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.  Advertisers know that the longer you spend thinking about a purchase, the less likely it is that you’ll buy it.  Which is why so much attention is spent on compelling us to make impulse buys.  Don’t fall for it.  Insert that little gap between Now and Spend, and ask yourself:  Do I really need it?

5. Insulate yourself from sales hype.  If you manage to actually get the attention of a sales person in a store this holiday crush, remember that it is their job to get you to buy something today.  They may be on commission or be receiving other incentives for sales performance.  Don’t be a statistic on their pay sheet.  If you don’t need it or won’t wear or use it (Remember to stop and ask yourself those questions), don’t buy it.  Today or any other day.

6. Avoid shopping fatigue.  There is such a thing as shopping til you drop, where you end up exhausted and overcome by all the buying behaviour.  Don’t let that happen to you!  The more fatigued you are, the poorer your buying decisions will be.  Limit your shopping trip to 2 hours, or if you must shop for longer (not advised, girl scouts), then make sure you take frequent rest stops. It’s not just tired drivers who pay.

7. Track your spending.  Yes, another fish oil suggestion! (okay, so there’s two on this list – you’re going to be super nourished, aren’t you!?). This is one of the most outstandingly effective strategies you can employ.  And it costs nothing to do.  If you want to reign in your spending this holiday crush, then do this.  Carry a small notepad with you and jot down everything you buy.  Every.  Thing.

So there you have it, sports fans – my seven tips for avoiding holiday mayhem in the stores.

I hope it helps you stay sane, and stay on track, during holiday shopping madness season.

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    10 Responses to “7 Smart Tips for Avoiding Holiday Shopping Madness!”

    1. Kama says:

      Great tips for the Christmas shopping madness Jill. I will not be going shopping at this time of year. Time to relax, eat some yummy food and watch some fun movies. Have a great Christmas!

      • Jill says:

        thanks Kama – nice to see you here again! I’m not shopping this year either (except for essentials, like food!). Shopping at this time of year can make your precious hours and days disappear like fairy dust, and it’s really about connecting and enjoying this precious time of year. As you say!

    2. Nikki says:

      I like the tip about shopping only with cash. Debit cards and charge cards like Amex are used just like credit cards and lead to overspending,

      • Jill says:

        Thanks for your comment Nikki! Really interesting research that tells us that any time we shop with a card — no matter if the funds are in a savings/cheque account, or on credit — we are distanced from the purchase. When we shop with cash, we feel it. Which is one great way to make your consumption more conscious — shop with cash! Nice to see your comment here!

    3. Vanessa Bushell says:

      Hi Jill, all so true. I usually get my shopping done and then avoid the shops as much as I can in December… I’d rather go for beach walk or ind a quiet coffee shop and do some writing!

      Great tips!
      Lots of love

      • Jill says:

        So true Vanessa! So many other things that will lift your spirits than being in a shopping centre. Glad you found the tips helpful! And thanks for stopping by to comment here.

    4. hmmm I will be last-minute Lisa – shopping tomorrow – with a list though! so thank you for that suggestion, otherwise I would have been wandering aimlessly… and shopping is really not one of my fave activities 🙂

      • Jill says:

        Glad the post helped. And yes, shop with a list! Works just like a map. Very helpful in unfamiliar, undesirable or over-crowded territory!

    5. Julia says:

      I didn’t do any purchasing in December in any place where I hadn’t shopped on a regular basis before December, with one exception, and if that one place hadn’t had socks that would go with my one major clothing purchase of the year, I wouldn’t have actually spent money there. (I can go into a place and spend a few minutes admiring clothing or accessories that won’t work for me to wear myself, just for the sake of aesthetics.)

      I gave a number of purchased gifts at Christmas, but half of them came from stores where I regularly buy groceries.

      Limiting purchases to places I go anyway has the added advantage that I probably know where in the store the thing I want to purchase is, and can get there without being distracted by all the shiny prettiness that’s placed in places for the purpose of temptation.

      Lists are a big help. I keep lists for shopping, refer to them in the stores, and limit purchases of things not on the list.

      • Jill says:

        hi Julia – these sound like great strategies for avoiding holiday shopping madness. I especially liked the “shop only where you usually shop” one.

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