Lifestyle

8 Holiday shopping tips to save you time, money, and stress

Image Credit: http://www.stockfreeimages.com/20386203/Christmas-tree-on-Computer-Key.html

This sponsored post is produced by Ben’s Bargains.

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and even Green Monday have come and gone, and let’s face it, you’re more than likely still shopping. The holiday shopping season got off to an early start this year, and with only eight days left until Christmas, we at Ben’s Bargains have a few smart tips to fight your shopper’s fatigue and to help you spend less time shopping and more time greeting the season.

1. Create a list of everyone you need to purchase a gift for. Start by indicating your budget for each person on your list. This will help you brainstorm and browse for gift ideas within a price range that makes sense for your wallet. Holiday shopping can be overwhelming, but when you approach it with an organized game plan, you’re more likely to avoid distractions and stick with your budget.

2. You don’t have to do it alone; holiday buyer’s guides are there to help. Don’t get bogged down by your fear of not picking the right thing. Holiday buyer’s guides are a helpful resource when you’re completely stumped, pulling together lists of hand-selected potential gifts along with images, links to sites where you can purchase the items, and product descriptions and reviews.

3. Shop and compare. Although it might be cutting it close, you still have a small window of time to shop around and compare prices on specific items. If you set up customized deal alerts, you’ll automatically receive notifications about products at the price you’re looking for; you can tend to the other demands of life and let us do the shopping for you. This is a useful tool, especially if your gifts aren’t tied to a hard December 25th deadline. Many products will be marked down to clearance prices right before Christmas, too, so take advantage of those closeout deals if you see them. Word to the wise: hot ticket items are usually limited in quantity, so you may want to have a backup option.

4. Take advantage of free shipping and in-store pickup. Today is Free Shipping Day. More than a thousand retailers will be participating this year, and it‘ll be your last best chance to ship your gifts in time for Christmas for free. Our holiday hub features a list of shipping schedules from popular retailers so you can plan accordingly.

Whether you’re a shopping pro or a shopping procrastinator, the “buy online, pick up in-store” option is for you. Why wait in a crowded checkout line when you can browse and buy online at your convenience, and then quickly pick up those items in person? Many major retailers (like Best Buy, JCPenney, and Walmart) offer in-store pickup service, so it’s worth checking to see if your favorite store does as well.

5. Take a closer look at retailers’ return and exchange policies. If you have to make a return or an exchange, it helps to know in advance whether additional shipping fees will be tacked on, or if you can take care of everything at an actual retail store nearby.

6. Let someone else take care of shipping your gifts. The majority of online retailers will ship your purchases to a location other than your billing address. Some merchants will even allow you to ship items in a single order to separate addresses. It only gets busier from here on out, and if you’re traveling to be with loved ones for the holidays, sending their gifts directly to them will allow you to travel with a huge weight off your shoulders, literally.

7. Truth be told, people love gift cards. “I hate getting free money.” Said no one, ever. Gift cards have long been considered less personal, but the fact of the matter is that people like having the ability to choose what they really want. Gift cards are especially perfect for incidental presents (and Secret Santa or White Elephant exchanges, of course) and they’re a surefire way to stick to your budget.

8. Have the checkout essentials on standby. When you’re shopping online, be sure to have your credit cards and address book out and ready. Retailer websites often require customers to complete the ordering process within a set window of time, so having shipping information readily available will ensure an easy shopping experience. Patience is often at a premium during the holidays, but remember: pay attention when you’re checking out. Don’t hit “submit” more than once, or you could end up doubling your purchase.

For over ten years, Ben’s Bargains has been a go-to resource to ease the stress of holiday shopping. From holiday buyer’s guides and deal alerts to shipping schedules, we have the tools and bargain- hunting expertise to help you shop smart. With hundreds of trusted retailers and deals available at the click of your mouse, you’ll be able to find the must-have gifts of the season within budget and all in one place. (Find us on Facebook and Twitter and enjoy year-round savings, too.) Happy holidays!

Photo © Vladstar | Stock Free Images &Dreamstime Stock Photos

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