Maybe you are a pro-holiday shopper and you have it ALL figured out. If that’s the case, this post isn’t for you. But if you have ever felt like pulling out your hair because shopping is just so stressful, read on. If you have ever been completely overwhelmed by the enormous pile of gifts given at the holiday or gotten lost in a pile of crinkled wrapping paper, this post is for you. And if you have ever had buyer’s remorse as you sat staring at your credit card after the holiday season, we have some strategies you NEED to hear. In fact, I teamed up with my friend Alesha Smith from Legal.Lee, a Productivity & Accountability Coach, and together everything you need to know to take control of your holiday season and transform your normal holiday hustle and bustle into a Budget-friendly, Organized, Sustainable, and Stress-Free experience that you can actually ENJOY! I hope you are ready to learn all about the holiday shopping strategy that will help you be the BOSS this holiday!
“…transform your normal holiday hustle and bustle into a Budget-friendly, Organized, Sustainable, and Stress-Free experience…”
Make Your Holiday Shopping BUDGET-FRIENDLY
One of the best ways to reduce your holiday spending is to adopt a minimalist lifestyle. You can speak with others in your family and friend group and talk to them about this idea to see if they’re onboard with reducing holiday gift-giving. You’d be surprised how many people will actually be into this, as there is a growing number of people interested in a more eco-friendly lifestyle and who would agree that gift-giving is getting out-of-control and the spirit of the holiday season is getting lost. And if you’re not ready to go minimalist (we’re not there yet ourselves, to be honest), you can try some of these other strategies for saving money:
Make a Shopping Budget
If you want to have an economical, budget-friendly holiday experience, you have to KNOW what your budget is! Having a good handle on your finances year-round is important and can really help you narrow in on what you should spend for the holidays.
If you have a credit card, make the most of your cashback or points.
One year, I managed to get a majority of my gifts buy trading in credit card points for gift cards! And of course, some credit cards offer extra cash back at certain retailers during the holiday season. Take advantage of those opportunities if you use a credit card.
Set Aside Money in a Savings Account
It may be a bit late to do this one for this year, but in the future, you will want to set money aside regularly in a savings account. One that grows a little bit is even better!
Utilize a Savings App
My brother really enjoyed the app Acorns, but there are several others out there that can help, if you struggle with saving money. Sometimes we just aren’t principled enough to move money into the savings account each pay period. But with savings apps, they will often round up purchases to help you save money.
Organize Your Holiday Shopping Plans
Being organized is super important. It will help you reduce stress AND save money! It also means you’re planning ahead which gives you more opportunity to make eco-conscious decisions. So, how do you plan and organize?
- Know your budget AND your gift recipients.
- Ask for any input you need from others. Provide them with a deadline!
- Organize your list in a way that helps you best conquer your list. I recommend using a spreadsheet that allows you to sort your list.
- To help me narrow in on where and when I need to shop, I may choose to sort my list based on whether it’s something I plan to buy online vs. at a brick-and-mortar store to help me on the day(s) I am shopping.
- I may sort my list by “group” so that I know what gifts need to be grouped together and loaded into the car together for a particular celebration (friends holiday celebration vs. celebrating with the in-laws, etc.).
Make a Decision to Be More Sustainable
Eco-consciousness is a mindset that develops over time. The holidays provide us with another opportunity to grow and develop that mindset by centering our commitment to the environment throughout the process. Here are some things to consider when you shop:
Where you Shop Matters
- Will you be shopping at thrift stores or yard sales for pre-loved gifts? This is a great option for the environment AND the budget. This is especially great when you are shopping for children, because let me tell you… they DO NOT CARE!
If you’re buying for children and live local to Tulsa, Oklahoma, but haven’t already checked out The Toy Lady, you should definitely give it a try!
- Will you be focusing on buying local or from small businesses? Honestly, I hope you do! They will really appreciate your business and you support your local economy.
- Will you be shopping at chains and corporations? This can be your best option for a gift card for an out-of-town gift recipient and for the lowest prices. But it’s also likely to be an option that contributes the most waste and emissions.
How you Shop Makes a Difference
- Shopping at brick-and-mortar stores means you have to consider your own transportation costs and environmental impact. If you can, choose public transportation. You will also want to be prepared with your reusable bags and be attentive to the packaging of the items you are buying off the shelves.
- Shopping online has different considerations. There are transportation and packaging impacts on the environment. Do your best to order in a way that consolidates packages and deliveries. If using Amazon, go into your settings and request that they do not put plastic bubbles in your packages; they’ll use paper instead when needed. You can also look for stores that use recycled packaging and/or share that they don’t use plastic packaging.
What you Buy Is Important!
- In general, buying less material gifts is a great option for being sustainable. You can do this in a number of ways, including:
- Agree to NOT exchange gifts.
- Participate in a “No-Buy” gift exchange, where gifts must be things you already own or hand-made.
- Participate in a game like “Dirty Santa” where everyone brings one gift and goes home with one gift.
- Encourage “experience” gifts over tangible gifts.
- Offer gifts of time or service.
- Create less waste
- Buy bulk
- Choose products in less packaging
- Avoid plastic products & packaging
- We are in a plastic crisis, so committing to buying alternatives to plastic is a good way to protect the environment. Pick a wood playset over a plastic one. Select a glass water bottle over a plastic one.
- Choose natural over synthetic
- Make gifts with natural yarn over synthetic.
- Buy clothes from sustainably sourced natural fabric over synthetic ones.
- Buy sustainable products from ethical companies
- Check out our list of household products.
- Stay tuned for more gift recommendations!
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of WHEN you Shop
Sales are tempting. They’re triggering. We’re conditioned to BUY. We buy things on impulse because they say “Sale.” If you are not someone who can stick to your list and put on blinders to everything else, you probably want to avoid shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Enjoy a Stress-Free Shopping Experience
A lot of the holiday shopping stress comes from not knowing what to buy, not tackling your gift needs in an organized way, and feeling overwhelmed by all the gifts and packages that fill up your space. So if you address the first three areas of BOSS holiday shopping, you are well on your way to having a Stress-Free Holiday Shopping experience. Some additional tips for reducing stress include:
- Decide whether you prefer to shop all in one day to get it done or if shopping in small bursts is a better option for you.
- Double check your list against your purchases to make sure you have what you wanted to buy.
- Organize your physical gifts by “group” once they’ve been purchased. I use a box for each holiday gathering and collect the gifts I need there. When I wrap, I wrap in the order of the holiday gatherings by grabbing one box at a time. And then I place the wrapped gifts back into the box!
- Treat yourself to a holiday flavored coffee or tea (in your own cup!) and enjoy the music and decorations while you shop!
With this holiday shopping strategy, you are ready to show this season who’s BOSS!
For more gems on how to be productive or to work with someone who will help you be accountable to your own goals, be sure to visit Legal.Lee! Or if you want another perspective on this shopping strategy, we developed together, visit her blog!
Stay tuned for more tips for a more eco-conscious holiday from yours truly!