Holiday shopping - we all have to do it, but how can you fit holiday shopping into a busy work schedule? Here are some tips.
Make a List
It's helpful to sit down before you go shopping and create a list of everyone you need to buy for. Don't just list the obvious: spouse, kids, etc. Also list your daughter's dance teacher, the newspaper delivery boy, etc.--anyone you plan to get a gift for.
Alongside each person's name, write an approximate budget for their gift. This can eliminate time standing in a store wondering whether $15 was more or less than you planned to spend on Great Aunt Gertie.
Now that you have your organized list, take it with you on shopping
excursions. When you buy a gift, write it down. This will eliminate
inadvertently buying 2 gifts for your son's Sunday School teacher, and
it will also give you a nice visual of how much progress you've made.
Plan Your Shopping Trip
During the holiday season, it's usually more efficient to plan a shopping trip than simply to pop in to a store. In fact, you may want to avoid malls and busy stores altogether in December, if you can be organized enough to finish shopping before then. Bad weather combined with large crowds can create a less-than-ideal shopping climate!
Nights and weekends are the easiest time for working moms to shop,
yet they're also the busiest times for stores. If at all possible, plan
to take a day or even a half day off from work to devote to shopping.
The stores will be less busy during the day, and you will be able to
accomplish more in a less stressful environment.
If you work schedule is chaotic during the holiday months and you just can't take time off, all is not lost. Online shops are a great alternative for holiday shopping. You can shop online from the comfort of your own home or office, and the gift can be delivered to you or to the recipient. You won't need to worry about parking, crowds or bad weather - why wouldn't you shop online, really?
Comparison shopping is easy online - you can either do a search for the particular item you are interested in, or you can go to a site like PriceGrabber.com or BizRate.com for quick price comparisons of various shopping sites.
Once you've decided on a site to purchase from, do a search of the site's name and "free shipping" or "coupon," or check out the site's homepage. Often, you will be able to get some type of discount, especially during the Christmas season.
You could also access shopping sites through a shopping portal like Ebates.com, which pays you back a percentage of your purchase price to reward you for using their site.
So: plan ahead and shop ahead if possible, schedule time off from work for a marathon shopping trip, and try doing some shopping online. You'll be ready for the holidays in no time!
Susan Braun is a freelance writer living with her husband, three daughters, 2 rabbits, 2 gerbils and hedgehog in Indiana. She writes at girlsinwhitedresses.wordpress.com and Associated Content.