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Organizing Your Way to a Simple Christmas: Shopping

Today is day five in our two-week Christmas series: Organizing Your Way to a Simple Christmas. Today we discuss on to make Christmas shopping easier.

There is nothing quite like heading to the mall on Christmas Eve to watch as people scurry in and out of stores in search of the perfect gift while the clock counts down to closing. I can’t imagine that shopping on Christmas Eve makes for a simple Christmas (although I guess one could argue the rest of the season was simple!), so here are six tips to simplify your gift shopping:

1. Make a list.

Use the notes on your gift list to create a shopping list, grouping by likely store whenever possible. Working from an actual shopping list rather than trying to keep track of the gifts you need to buy in your head means you’re less likely to get home and realize you forgot the one gift you wanted to get the most.

2. Shop early.

You should have your budget and gift list in place now, so go ahead and get started (as your budget allows — using cash, not credit cards). You will avoid the crowds and the pressure of having to find a gift before time runs out, and it will be one less thing to do in the midst of the holiday season.

3. Shop during off-peak hours.

If you still need to shop once the holiday season kicks into full gear, try to avoid the mall in the afternoon and on weekends. Instead, do your shopping first thing in the morning when the mall will be much less crowded. The shelves and racks will be neater and easier to sort through, and you’ll be able to get help from a sales associate much easier.

4. Wear comfortable clothing.

When you go shopping, wear comfortable clothes and shoes to focus on the task. If possible, leave your big purse at home or in the car. Instead, slip your debit cards, cash, phone, and keys into a secure pocket (like one that zips on your jacket) or take a lightweight purse that you can string across your chest so that you still have both hands free.

5. Shop online.

A great alternative to going to the mall is to shop online. Not only can you browse hundreds of stores, but you can search for specific items across the internet, making it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for. You still want to start your shopping early in order to avoid paying rush delivery charges, though!

6. Look for coupons, deals, and sales.

Use blogs such as Deal Seeking Mom and sites such as Retail Me Not to find the latest coupons and coupon codes for all of your shopping needs. I almost never place an order online without a coupon code, and Retail Me Not makes it easy to find available coupon codes for almost every store. Tara at Deal Seeking Mom posts coupons and freebies for mall stores such as Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, Aerie, and more on a regular basis!

Today’s task: Use the Christmas Shopping List Printable to start creating a shopping list for all of the gifts you need to purchase. As you place online or catalog orders, use the Christmas Order Tracking Printable to track each one so that you don’t have to search through your email or debit card statements to figure out which packages you’re still waiting for.

Do you have any more Christmas shopping tips to share? Have you started Christmas shopping yet?