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The holiday season is a great opportunity to spend time with family. Sharing gifts can be very fulfilling not to mention a fun exercise trying to come up with the best ideas for loved ones. Unfortunately this can also be a very stressful time due to the pressure of large groups of people and the competitive atmosphere of shops. Follow the four tips below to have a great shopping experience while minimizing stress.
Research Gifts Beforehand
One of the best things any consumer can do is to research those gifts that you’re interested in. The best place to do this of course is online. This will make sure you’re getting the best prices and highest quality. There are plenty of places to compare to competing items too. This makes sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck while getting a high quality product. Another benefit of research is that you know how much certain items should reasonably cost. This gives you an edge when negotiating with retail spaces since many will price-match.
Even if you don’t know exactly what you’d like to give, having an idea will generate plenty of suggestions due to the magic of online shopping. Some great websites to start with reasonable prices are:
- Amazon.com – the largest online retailer offering a wide range of products
- Ebay.com – the largest online auction site, plenty of hard-to-find and oddball items
- PerpetualKid.com – offers products for kids of all ages, young and young-at-heart
- MoMaStore.org – stylish products at affordable prices
Shopping online is a great alternative to facing the ravenous hoards of holiday shoppers. Besides avoiding the stressful situations that crowds pose you could even get better deals than those available at retail. You can find great deals and not be inconvenienced at all by ordering online. Shopping online also allows you to kill two birds with one stone by serving as a research.
Some retail locations are willing to offer discounts for prospective buyers beyond the sticker price, but online prices are already very competitive. If this is the case, after doing research online you may still get discounts by calling shops and negotiating to pick up the item directly from them. Companies are being much more flexible with their policies to encourage buyers during these economic times. One more thing to keep in mind is wait times to allow items to ship. Most shops offer tracking services that quote fairly accurate times.
Shop During Non-Peak Hours
As it gets closer to Christmas stores get more crowded, have lower selection, and are generally more stressful. Reduce the stress by visiting stores during non-peak hours. The busiest days are typically Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Visiting during the week also gives you more time to talk to in-store associates to ask about products and learn about all the promotions being offered. Extended warranties, discounts for second items, and knowledge of return policies are all benefits of speaking with employees. Unfortunately this isn’t possible when lines are long and stores are understaffed.
Talk to employees about:
- return policies
- warranty information
- discounts for buying second items
- promotional online items, such as gift cards for websites
Talk To Your Credit Card Company
A final tip is to check with your credit card companies to see what kind of extra bonus points or offers they have for using the cards for holiday purchases. Many credit card companies will offer extended warranties beyond that what stores offer. Card-issuers have special agreements with retailers that allow them to offer special deals. Many of these are very much worth looking into.
The challenges that the disabled face this holiday season can be eased by some clever crowd-avoidance. Not only is stress reduced but better deals can be found by following the four tips above. Indeed these are good tips for anyone to follow! Remember to have fun and stay stress free to focus on the things that really matter this holiday season.