As my lovely wife is likely to point out I have not done any Christmas shopping as of yet. However, from experience, I can put out a quick primer on some of the big mistakes that I have made over the year Christmas shopping. No, not what to buy, but the Art of Christmas shopping is the topic.
- If you are attempting to pay for everything with cash, that is a good idea, but it puts a HARD limit on how much you can buy on a single trip. If, however, you need cash, don’t use the WHITE or unbranded cash machines to get your money because of the incredible user fees on them. Because you are under pressure, don’t forget the basic principles of not throwing your money away!
- I like to think I go Christmas BUYING, not Christmas SHOPPING. Shopping has connotations of comparing and browsing and such, and there is no time for such fun and frivolity (unless I am buying something for my wife, in which case it isn’t BUYING, it is PANIC’ing, because I rarely, if ever, know what that special gift should be).
- Don’t Christmas PANIC (see the previous bullet). As with any financial attempt, PANIC is the worst motivator because you will forget your planning, ideas and common sense. If you feel out of control, leave the store and return when your brain is less frazzled.
- If you have a Christmas Budget, stick to it. Going into Christmas Debt for the sake of buying your Aunt Hilda that coffee maker you think she needs, is really not the answer either.
- What is wrong with Gift Cards? Yes, they are cold; yes, they show you have no imagination. And yes, they show you hate shopping. However, it does allow the recipient to BUY what THEY want (especially good for folks you can’t figure out what to buy for, but nasty form if you are buying your spouse one (unless it is a $10,000.00 Best Buy gift card, then I think you are ok)). Remember also NOT to buy ones with expiration dates.
- Do you have to buy things as gifts? If you have a friend who hates shovelling snow, maybe you can give them some shovelling services from you. You could make something (yes a little late for that, but then again). Sometimes, the best gift is not necessarily the most expensive gift.
I, on the other hand have painted myself so far into a corner I am standing on tip toe, when it comes to Christmas Shopping. There is a pair of bunny rabbits that have been wandering around our house, maybe I could catch them and get some mittens made out of them? Now that says Christmas in a special way (that would assure me a special place in Spouse Hell).