Friday, 15 October 2010

Shopping for Yourself While Christmas Shopping

Shopping for Yourself While Christmas Shopping

Everyone knows that Christmas is all about giving but most of us are also tempted to shop for ourselves when we are out Christmas shopping for our beloved friends and family members. While some people may be tempted to pass up on purchases for themselves during the holiday season because they feel guilty making these purchases, there are others who feel there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking advantage of the huge sales which take place during the Christmas season to purchase a few items for themselves. Still others argue that Christmas time is the best time to shop for yourself in terms of finances because you are shopping at a time when most items are on sale. This article will take a look at the concept of shopping for yourself while Christmas shopping and will offer some advice for doing this without distracting from your regular Christmas shopping.
If you do opt to shop for yourself while you are Christmas shopping it is important to remember to keep your budget in mind while you do your shopping. If you do plan on shopping for yourself during the Christmas shopping it is important to budget for these expenditures. Whether you opt to include yourself in the Christmas shopping budget or create a separate budget for your personal shopping, you should make some plan for how you will deal with these additional financial concerns. One way to do this is to include yourself on your Christmas shopping list and set aside some money for your personal purchases when you are working on your Christmas budget. Another way to deal with the financial concerns is to plan on paying for gifts for everyone else on your Christmas list in cash and to make your purchases for yourself on a credit card. This is helpful because it does not reduce the amount of money you would otherwise spend on your friends and family members.
Another problem which often arises when you opt to shop for yourself when you are doing your regular Christmas shopping is that you may become distracted and not complete your Christmas shopping on time. Consider purchasing a sweater for your sister. You may look through the racks of sweaters and quickly choose one in a color, style and size you think will be appropriate for your sister. You might spend some time looking at the different colors and styles and trying to decide which size will fit best but in general it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to select a sweater and make your purchase. Now consider purchasing a sweater for yourself during the Christmas season. You may select several different styles you like in one or two sizes and a few different colors. You can take the items to the dressing room and try on each one to determine which style, color and size you like best. You might even try the sweaters on with a few different styles of pants or skirts which you think will match well. It is easy to see from this comparison how a shopper can easily spend a half hour to an hour buying a sweater for themselves and less than ten minutes purchasing the same sweater for someone else. It is also easy to see from this example how shopping for yourself while doing your Christmas shopping can prevent you from completing your shopping in a timely manner. For this reason it is wise to leave your personal shopping until after you have completed all of your Christmas shopping.

Setting a Budget for Christmas Shopping

Setting a Budget for Christmas Shopping

It is never too early to start thinking about setting a budget for Christmas shopping. As much as we would like to be able to purchase anything we want for our friends and relatives, it is an unfortunate reality, that many of us have to budget carefully to be able to purchase Christmas gifts for all of our friends and relatives during the holiday season. With this in mind it is very important to set a budget for Christmas shopping and to try to really stick to that budget.
Some people take an interesting approach to setting a budget for Christmas shopping by waiting until they are ready to start shopping to set the actual budget. These individuals usually do this because they are saving specifically for the purpose of Christmas shopping. Whether they open up a bank account specifically for Christmas shopping, set aside money for this purpose in an envelop each week or plan on using a percentage of their income from the month of November for Christmas shopping it is important to set a budget and determine a plan for purchasing all of your Christmas gifts without exceeding this budget.
Other people take a different approach to setting a budget for Christmas shopping by shopping throughout the year and incorporating their spending for Christmas presents into their monthly budgets. These individuals may allot a portion of their monthly income to gift giving and either purchase the gifts on a monthly basis or simply set aside the money for a Christmas shopping spree at a later date. Those who spread out the Christmas shopping by doing a little bit of shopping each month not only keep their budget in control but also eliminate a great deal of the stress which often accompanies last minute Christmas shopping.
Still others take a more interesting approach to setting a budget for Christmas shopping. Those who typically receive a financial bonus at work around Christmas time may base their budget on the amount of money they are awarded in this bonus. This strategy may work out well for some as it does not allow them to alter their normal monthly spending strategy because these bonuses are typically not considered in the regular monthly budgeting. However, unless these bonuses are guaranteed annually, there is some risk involved in this strategy. Often annual bonuses are awarded based on criteria such as the company’s earnings and the individual employee’s contributions to the success of the company. The company may not enjoy financial success or the contributions of the employee may not be highly valued and therefore there may be either no bonus or a bonus much lower than expected. When this happens, those who count on bonuses for Christmas shopping may find themselves in a difficult situation.
Budgeting for Christmas shopping is particularly important for those who plan to use credit cards to make their purchases. In the case of credit card purchases it might be worthwhile to spread the Christmas shopping out over the entire year and repay the debts associated with the shopping monthly. This will help to prevent carrying a balance and being charged interest on the balance each month. However, if it is necessary to do all of the Christmas shopping at one time, it is wise to save up during the year for these purchases. Before you begin shopping, evaluate the amount of money you have saved and set a budget for your Christmas shopping. This way even though you are using a credit card and will receive a large bill the following month, you should have enough money to repay the bill in its entirety and avoid paying interest on the debt.
Even those with the best of intentions may find themselves going over their budget when Christmas shopping. When this happens it is important to keep things in perspective and avoid going too far over budget. You may spend too much on one or two people on your Christmas list but you can recover from this by purchasing less expensive gifts than planned for a few other people to compensate.

Making a List for Christmas Shopping

Making a List for Christmas Shopping

“He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice.” This may be a line from one of the most recognized Christmas carol. Almost everyone who celebrates Christmas knows all about Santa’s good list as well as his naughty list and most people do their best to avoid being placed on Santa’s naughty list. While the concept of Santa’s good list and naughty list is a fun way to convince children to be on their best behavior during the Christmas season, the concept of a list should one that all Christmas shoppers adhere to while they are doing their Christmas shopping. In fact Christmas shopping should be filled with all sorts of lists. You can create lists of everyone you plan to give gifts to this year, lists of potential gift ideas and even lists of the actual gifts you select. All of this list making may sound tedious but this article will explain how all of these lists can be very helpful.
Making a list of everyone you plan to give a Christmas gift to should be the first step in any Christmas shopping expedition. This list is so important because it gives you a handy reference to all the people you should keep in mind while you are shopping and also gives you an indication of the total number of people on your Christmas list. Knowing how many people are on your list is important for setting a budget. Consider how much money you have to spend and divide this amount by the number of people on your list and this will give you an idea of how much you can spend on each person on your Christmas list.
After you make this list and set your budget, it is a good idea to make another list of potential gift ideas for each person on your Christmas gift list. It is a good idea to brainstorm and try to come up with a few good gift ideas for each person on your list. This is helpful because when you are out Christmas shopping you know where to start your search and will have a few choices if you are having difficulty finding one of the items on your list of suggestions. You may find items which are not on your list but are perfect for the person you are shopping for and it is acceptable to buy these items. It is important to remember your list of suggestions is just a starting point and if you find a more appropriate gift that is not on your list it is a good idea to purchase this gift instead.
When Christmas shopping you should also keep a list of the items you actually purchase as Christmas gifts for those on your list. This is a good idea because if you have a particularly long list, you may have difficulty remembering all the items you already bought. Keeping an updated list of whom you have already purchased Christmas gifts for and what you bought them will minimize this problem. This list also comes in handy when it is time to start wrapping all the Christmas gifts you purchased. You may have a closet full of gifts but you may have trouble remembers which gift goes to which recipient. However, if you kept an accurate list as you made your purchases this should not be a problem.

Last Minute Christmas Shopping

Last Minute Christmas Shopping

If you are like most people you do the majority of your Christmas shopping at the last minute. Visit any mall or shopping center in the final days before Christmas and you are likely to find parking lots that are filled to capacity and stores that are literally filled with shoppers who are still searching for the perfect Christmas gift for their friends or family members. As it gets closer and closer to Christmas the crowds tend to get more and more restless and the search for the perfect gift becomes a search for an acceptable gift. Although Christmas falls at the end of the year and people have a whole year to prepare for this joyous occasion, most people leave their shopping until the last minute every year despite New Year’s resolutions to get the Christmas shopping done early. This article will discuss a few different types of last minute Christmas shoppers. There are those who do their Christmas shopping at the last minute out of necessity, those who do it because they have procrastinated and those who do it because they find it to be exciting.
People become last minute Christmas shoppers for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most innocent last minute shoppers are those who shop at the last minute out of necessity. Consider college students who typically end the semester around mid to late December. Many of these students are living on campus without access to a car. This can make Christmas shopping quite difficult but when you combine this living situation with the fact that they have finals to take at the end of semester, Christmas shopping becomes downright impossible. Finals often account for as much as 50% of a college student’s grade and it is understandable that they would have to spend the early part of December studying, the middle of the month taking their finals and then wind up last minute Christmas shopping almost immediately after their last final.
Other last minute Christmas shoppers include those who are just born procrastinators. They may go to stores every weekend in October or November. This could be an excellent opportunity for them to get their Christmas shopping done early but instead they wind up window shopping or purchasing items for themselves. While they are aware the Christmas season is approaching, they don’t feel compelled to start shopping until the absolute last minute. When this happens they find themselves in the unfortunate position of fighting the crowds in a last minute Christmas shopping frenzy.
Finally, there are others who are last minute Christmas shoppers simply because this is when they prefer to do their Christmas shopping. Some of these shoppers see shopping at the last minute as a challenge. They know they are short on time but are confident they will be able to find great gifts for everyone on their Christmas list this year. Other shoppers who intentionally wait until the last minute to do their Christmas shopping may do so because they enjoy the excitement of the crowds. Although last minute Christmas shopping can be stressful it is often exciting. Those who enjoy this excitement love shopping at the last minute because it gives them a sense of energy they wouldn’t feel if they were shopping for Christmas presents in October.

Impulsive Christmas Shopping

Impulsive Christmas Shopping

Impulsive Christmas shopping is a problem which plagues many during the holiday season and it can have a variety of complications. Some of the problems which often stem from impulsive Christmas shopping are going over budget, buying frivolous items and even forgetting about items that were already purchased. All of these problems can pose their own set of dilemmas and this article will discuss the ramifications of impulsive Christmas shopping. However, it is important to remember that although there are many problems associated with impulsive Christmas shopping there is also some merit to this shopping tactic.
Going over budget is one of the major concerns of impulsive Christmas shopping. A common scenario is to pick up a few small items each time you go out Christmas shopping. These gifts may seem small and seemingly harmless to your budget but they can add up over time. For example you may only be purchasing items which cost less than $10 but if you buy enough of these items, you could find yourself hundreds of dollars over budget without even realizing it. One way to combat this problem is to write down each item and the price of every gift you buy. This will help you to be aware of how these small gifts can add up and may prevent you from shopping on impulse in the future.
Purchasing frivolous gifts is another problem associated with impulsive Christmas shopping. You may see a few small items which you think will make cute gifts at the time but after you purchase these items you might realize they are actually quite silly. When this occurs you have two choices you can either return the item or replace it for a more meaningful gift or you could keep the item and give it to your friend or relative anyway. If you opt to return the item you may find yourself pressed for time to find a replacement gift depending on when you started shopping. If it is close to Christmas already, you may have difficulty finding some thing at the last minute and may have no choice but to give your friend or relative the gift you purchased on an impulse.
Another problem often associated with impulsive Christmas shopping is forgetting about items you have already purchased. If you purchase a number of small items on impulse you may put these gifts in a safe location and then completely forget about them. When this happens you may end up buying additional gifts for those on your guest list who were supposed to receive the impulse gifts you already purchased. This can cause you to go over budget and also create unnecessary stress.
While there are many problems which are often associated with impulsive Christmas shopping, it is important to remember that sometimes impulsive Christmas shopping is a good idea. When you see an item that you just know will make the perfect Christmas gift for a friend or relative and purchase the item without giving it any thought that is the exact definition of impulsive shopping. However, it is also not necessarily a bad thing. Buying a gift on impulse is not a problem when the gift you purchase is a great gift for the intended recipient but impulse Christmas shopping becomes problematic when it causes the shopper to go over budget or purchase silly items they wouldn’t normally buy.

Getting Your Christmas Shopping Done Early

Getting Your Christmas Shopping Done Early

Waiting until the last minute to do your Christmas shopping can be just downright stressful. Additionally, it can make it incredibly hard to find the perfect gift for each person on your shopping list. Furthermore those who wait until the last minute to finish their Christmas shopping are often faced with the potential for a looming credit card debt for the start of the following year because they did the bulk of their Christmas shopping in December of the previous year. For all of the reasons above it makes a great deal of sense to get your Christmas shopping done early.
Those who complete their Christmas shopping early gain a great deal of benefits. First of all they do not have to deal with crowded shopping areas as hordes of other shoppers are also trying to complete their last minute Christmas shopping. Shoppers who complete their Christmas shopping early also have more time to relax and focus on other activities such as decorating, wrapping presents, baking cookies or just spending some quite time with family. Finally, those who complete their Christmas shopping early also gain financial benefits. They can take advantage of sales which occur year round if they spread out their shopping plus they do not have to worry about paying for all of their purchases at one time.
Now that you understand all the benefits of getting your Christmas Shopping done early, you may still wonder how you can achieve this goal. One way to do this is to think of Christmas shopping as a year long event. Sit down shortly after the Christmas season to make a list of each person you plan to purchase gifts for in the following Christmas season. You can also jot down a few gift ideas for each of these people as well. Creating a list at this time gives you a whole year to spend time searching for gifts for each member on your list. For example you may wish to purchase a particular CD for your sister. If it is a difficult CD to find, you have plenty of time to begin tracking down this time. If it is a CD that is easy to find, you can plan on waiting until it goes on sale and may find you are able to save quite a bit of money by doing this.
If you plan on getting your Christmas shopping done early by shopping year round for friends or relatives, you should always keep your shopping list handy. Your wallet is a good place to keep it so it is always available when you are out shopping. Not only should you always carry your list with you but you should keep it up to date. As you purchase a gift for each person on your list, cross off their name and write down the actual gift you selected if it was different from the gift idea you had written down originally. This important because it will help to prevent you from purchasing multiple gifts for those on your list because you forgot you had already purchased their gift.
While getting your Christmas shopping done early does have some distinct advantages, there are also pitfalls to this type of shopping. Those who do their shopping throughout the year are often not as budget conscious as those who shop at the last minute. This is because those who shop at the last minute understand the bills for all of their Christmas gifts will be arriving at approximately the same time. However, those who shop early often lose track of how much they are spending on Christmas gifts because the bills blend in with regular monthly expenses. To avoid this problem, those who plan to shop throughout the year should set a budget for Christmas presents. They should determine ahead of time how much they wish to spend on each person on their list and should try not to exceed this amount.

Finding Bargains While Christmas Shopping

Finding Bargains While Christmas Shopping

Everyone knows that the Christmas season is all about giving and that no one should be concerned about how much a particular gift costs but most of us also have to worry about our budgets while we are doing our Christmas shopping. While there are truly some people to which money is no object the reality is that most of us simply cannot afford to purchase everything we want during the Christmas season. We all have to make some concessions while we do our Christmas shopping and keep our eyes open for great deals. Fortunately there is a great deal of bargains to be found during the Christmas season.
Finding bargains while Christmas shopping is actually quite easy. In fact it is so easy that finding items which are not a bargain is considered more of a challenge. Although most stores hold sales throughout the year, just about every retailer offers significant bargains in the weeks just before Christmas. These retailers know shoppers will be out in full force during this time and they offer their best deals hoping to attract a great share of the shoppers. The best way to ensure you are receiving the best possible deals while you are Christmas shopping is to spend some time window shopping before the Christmas season. This will give you a good idea of what types of items are currently being sold and will also give you a good indication of the prices of these items. This information can be used when Christmas shopping to determine just how much you are saving by purchasing sale items just before Christmas.
When shopping for bargain items at Christmas it is very important to be aware of the return policy on the item. While you might think the gift is a great idea at the time, you may realize it is not such a good idea later or you may find a defect in the product and want to return it. However, if there was a no return policy on the product you will not be able to get your money back for the item. Even if you decide to keep the item, the recipient of the gift may not like the item and may wish to return it. However, if you bought it in a sale where no returns were allowed, she may not be able to return the gift.
There is, however, one aspect to shopping for Christmas bargains which all shoppers should understand. It is the simple concept that just because an item is on sale does not mean you should purchase the item. Some Christmas shoppers get caught up in the idea of purchasing a bargain item which has been greatly reduced in price but it may be an item they do not really need. When this is the case it is a better idea to not purchase the item. You will be saving money by doing this. Think of it this way, you may find a warm wool coat which is reduced in price by 75%. This may seem like a bargain that is too good to pass up but if you live in a warm climate and will never wear the coat it is actually a waste of money. You may be only paying 25% of the original price but if you do not buy the coat at all you will not be paying anything.