Smart and Efficient Christmas Shopping

How many times have you gone into a packed shopping mall during the holidays and wished you had done your Christmas shopping just a little bit earlier and avoided the mad yuletide rush? Some people actually enjoy shopping in crowded malls but for most of us, this can turn an otherwise enjoyable chore into a source of stress and fatigue.

So why do people always wait until the last minute to go Christmas shopping? Why not buy presents in November when there are no lines at the counter and you can walk around the store aisles without fear of getting trampled on? The answer is simple -- Christmas sales.

Most, if not all, stores hold grand sales during the last couple of weekends before Christmas. These sales are announced a few weeks in advance, giving shoppers time to save up more money for spending. Huge discounts are offered, enticing potential customers to buy more items.

Needless to say, sales can definitely help you save a huge amount on your holiday expenses. However, if you don't have enough self-control and give in to all your impulses, these sales may actually cause you to go over your budget instead of help you save a few extra bucks.

Shoppers usually walk into a Christmas sale all giddy and eager to start buying items. Shop owners know this, which is why they entice customers even further by offering huge discounts. This makes customers buy more than they actually planned. For instance, if you see something that has been marked down to 60% its original price, there is a very good chance you will buy it just because it's a good find even if you don't really need it.

In order to avoid falling victim to the practice of impulsive shopping, it will help if you head to the mall with a shopping list in your hand and just focus on finding the items in your list. However, this does not mean you should not allow yourself to buy anything outside of your list. It is a sale after all, and you might actually see something you really need. It's all a matter of good judgment.

A good practice to do in order to avoid unnecessary impulse purchases is to ask yourself this question before buying an item: 'Will I buy this item if it was not on sale?' If the answer is no, you don't need the item. It's as simple as that.

Another skill you need to have when going to a Christmas sale is the ability to make decisions on your toes. Many items offered during holiday sales are very limited. If you mull over an item too long, other customers might just grab the item right from under your nose leaving you with nothing.

Finally, you have to realize that these big sales do not happen only around Christmas. Many stores offer holiday sales during Easter, Labor Day, Fourth of July, and other major holidays. You can take advantage of these sales and buy a few items here and there, which you can store at home and give away at Christmas. This will greatly reduce the amount of shopping you need to do in December, giving you more time for your other yuletide preparations.

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