Christmas Shopping Tips To Save Time, Money and Hassle—Do you tend to stress out about getting the right gifts for everyone? Do you tend to overspend around the holiday? Are you buying lots of stuff for yourself as you shop for others? Christmas time is full of festivity and joy as we exchange gifts and partake marathon eating with our family and friends. But to avoid stress, post-holiday credit card debt and possible identity theft, here are some tips you can follow to save time, money and hassle, as well as ensuring a debt-free joyful New Year.

1. Set budget—

I know, it’s no fun to think about limitation when you are shopping; however, I guarantee that it will be even less fun when you face the credit card bill in January. Therefore, the wise thing to do is to create a plan that includes the people you are buying for, and the gift budget for each person. Don’t forget to set one for yourself as well. As you are browsing online or in the mall, it’s inevitable that you want to get some for yourself. You don’t have to deny yourself as everyone enjoys the fruit of your labor. Just set a budget for gifts for you. You deserve it!

2. Plan ahead—

Christmas Shopping Tips To Save Time, Money and HassleYou might think it’s crazy to think about Christmas gifts in November, but there are many reasons that you should plan ahead.

  • You can search for gifts, read reviews and compare prices.
  • You can get personalized gifts, which are more meaningful and memorable. Personalized gifts take longer lead-time. If you are ordering something made to order, then it’s going to take even longer time.
  • You can take advantage of the various sales in November that many retailers offer (e.g. Black Friday and Cyber Monday). However, make sure that it’s truly a sale; there are retailers that raise the price so they can give you a bogus discount. But if you stalk the item a little prior to the sale, then you would know whether it’s a real sale.
  • You can use slower, but free shipping option.
  • It’s less crowded in shopping center the earlier you shop.
  • You don’t have to stress out in December since you are already done! You can enjoy the festivity without pressure.

3. Buy from as few places as possible—

If you are buying online this season (so many reason why you really should buy online), buy from as fewer sites as possible. The main reason is to save on shipping. Nowadays, online retailers offer free shipping if your purchase reaches certain amount. That threshold could be as low as $25 at Amazon, but some could be $79 or $99. If you group your purchases, then you are more likely to reach that minimum.

4. Get gifts that require no shipping—

Christmas Shopping Tips To Save Time, Money and HassleIf I fail to convince you to shop early, not all hope is gone for you. Instead of paying extra to expedite shipping, consider getting something that does not require shipping. For example, you can gift vouchers to experience-based gifts such as spa certificate, tandem skydiving, or fighter plane flying. No, I am not kidding! You can really get those gifts at Cloud 9 Living. Alternatively, you can also get a gift card that they can use at many places (Amazon gift card, Visa or MasterCard gift card). However, some people think such universal gift cards are not thoughtful enough. But either way, those gifts do not require last minute, expedited shipping. At that time of year there are also a lot of packages lost in transit, so without having to ship, you would not have that extra stress.

5. Ship to Destination—

If you are planning to spend Christmas at your family or friend’s place, ship your gifts there. It’s especially true if you are flying to your destination. Now the airlines are charging every piece of checked luggage, so travel light is key. And there’s really no reason you should be hand carrying your gifts. But be sure to coordinate with the host so they don’t open the packages prior to your arrival.

6. Use PayPal or Google Checkout—

When you are buying from less known online retailer, it’s wise to use more reliable payment method like PayPal and Google Checkout (if it’s offered). The way, the retailer will not have your credit card number. You are minimizing the risk of getting your credit card stolen. With that said, if the site you are visiting looks really fishy, just avoid buying from them at all. Even if their price is the lowest, it’s not worthwhile to take the risk.

7. Check your credit card activities and statement often—

Christmas Shopping TipsBy checking your online statement and activities often, you can make sure that no one else is using your credit card. Credit card companies nowadays use such sophisticated system to catch potential fraudulent activities. But still, it’s good to check it often yourself. The activities are available online a day or two after the purchase. Moreover, you can also look at how much you have already spent. Sometimes you might not be aware that you exceed your budget as you are in the bliss of shopping heaven. By checking on yourself, you are less unlikely to overspend.

Comments? Any suggestions about these Christmas Shopping Tips To Save Time, Money and Hassle? Tell us your experience? Do share!