12 Shopping Tips For a Merrier Christmas

Christmas shopping at Siam Paragon in Bangkok

Aaah, Christmas. It’s my favorite time of the year. The list as to why I love the holidays is endless but I’m not about to enumerate them.

Yes, we all know that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”. Still, some people get caught up in all the Christmas rush. You know, shopping, shopping, food, gifts, parties, and yeah, more shopping. Despite the stress, traffic jams, and overdrafts, people still fight their way to the malls and ‘tiangges’ to do their Christmas shopping.

Seriously, it’s one of my favorite activities in the world but because of the recession, I feel it’s time that I be more practical and spend wisely. Better yet, as my husband would put it, “Don’t spend”. But hey, I can’t just change overnight so instead, I made a list of tips on how to shop just a little more wisely this Christmas. Here they are:

1. Make a Christmas list. By this I mean a list of people you want to give gifts to and not your Wish List. There’s a huge difference between the two. The former is more important. Write down those very special people who are dear to you so you won’t miss anyone.

2. Set a budget. This one is also very important. You can’t risk going over your budget. Even if some people say it’s okay to splurge, don’t. Stick to your budget. If you can, pay in cash. Don’t just swipe, swipe, swipe. You don’t want to be paying for Christmas gifts until June, do you?

3. Brand matters-NOT. When buying gifts, don’t shop at designer stores or boutiques. Brand doesn’t matter, really. What’s important is the quality. There’s a better alternative to the malls too. Hello, Divisoria! (And Tutuban, Quiapo, Greenhills, etc…)

4. Buy in bulk. During Christmas, most stores offer promo packages. “Buy one-take one” or “3 for 100”. You’ll be amazed at how much you can save if you buy wholesale as compared to getting individual items.

5. SALE signs are not always godsends. Especially to the ladies – don’t be deceived by the big red signs hanging in the malls. Sure, Christmas is the only time you can justify splurging but remember that there are more important things in life than getting a new dress for you, your children, or whoever. Stick to your list; you don’t have to buy everything you see.

6. Plan your trip to the mall. I would suggest a one-time, intentionally planned ‘trip’ instead of several unplanned, last minute trips. It would be best if you go to the mall just one time and do all your shopping then. That way, you can save on transportation, food expenses, and avoid those terrible, terrible traffic jams.

7. Use recyclable bags. More shopping means more plastic bags which, we all know are harmful to the environment. You can do your share of saving our eco-system by bringing your own paper bags. Better yet, why not use eco-canvas bags? Or, if you have a large bag, use that instead. You can just put all your purchases inside that. After all, that’s what big bags and tote bags are for.

8. Stay safe. It’s no secret that more people get robbed and mobbed during December, especially in the Philippines. Make sure your money is safe. Belt bags are advisable to use when doing extreme shopping.

9. Shop during off-peak hours. Avoid the Christmas rush. Malls in the Philippines are usually crowded during the holidays especially after the 13th month pays and bonuses have been given. If you can, file for a one day leave so you can shop earlier in the day.

10. Shop online. Try eBay or consider the countless online shops in Multiply and eBay. If you’re feeling generous, you can buy from US-based websites and have them items shipped to Manila via Johnny Air. It’s hassle-free and some would even offer free gift wrapping. You can also save on shipping sometimes.

11. Save receipts. Don’t just throw them away as they are the best way to keep track of your holiday expenses. Also, you never know if you might need to return some items.

12. Don’t wait until the last minute. It’s never too early to shop. Avoid the Christmas rush. Prepare weeks before, not the day before. This way, you’ll be more than prepared, you won’t have to fight crowds, wait in long lines, or have to settle for the leftover, limited merchandise. Avoid stress.

So there you have it – Christmas shopping tips for 2012. Remember though that while shopping can be therapeutic (especially during these hard times), the Season is not all about that at all. Remember that the best gift you can give to anyone is still your LOVE.

Merry Christmas Shopping to you!

*wrote this article 4 years ago

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