Avoiding Shopping Blunders

Holiday gift shopping can be a stressful moment.  In the effort of looking for deals, writing up lists (checking them twice), and rushing to get everything done on time, many potential blunders may be committed.  Some possible blunders include obtaining the wrong size or item, buying more gifts than you had originally intended, or overspending, to name a few.  

Some ways to avoid such shopping blunders are: 1) Shop as early as possible.  The sooner you buy and store your gifts, the less stressed out you will be as the holiday approaches.  You are also less likely to make a mistake; 2) Ask for help from another family member or friend.  That person can help you buy items off your list faster and, thus, more efficiently; 3) Another way to shop is online. You can shop in your pajamas anytime; your order usually includes free shipping, and you save on gas!  Prices are generally lower online, and you can look for bargains with the click of a mouse.  Be sure you double check what you buy in your online shopping cart.  Another nice feature is that there are usually descriptions of the product, so you have a good idea of what you are buying.  One of the limitations for online shopping is that you cannot touch, smell, taste, or wear the product before you order them (such as clothes, perfumes, cosmetics, purses, candy, flowers, furniture, groceries, etc).

You can buy almost anything online.  Amazon.com, overstock.com are two stores that often have discount prices.  Some physical stores have online counterparts as well, such as macys.com, sephora.com, bloomingdales.com, dsw.com, etc.  You are less likely to make a shopping blunder because you can simply click on your virtual shopping cart in order to double check that you have the correct item; before you make your purchases in a store with a physical presence, ask the sales clerk if you may open the package to be sure that nothing is broken or if the product is the right one, etc.  It can save you from any potential future embarrassment from your gift recipient, and it is one shopping blunder that is fairly easy to avoid.  The one exception is that it is difficult to try out electronics before you buy them.  However, you should ask the cashier for two receipts; one of them is for your records and the other is a gift receipt for your future recipient.  This way if something does not function correctly, then the person can return it back to the store and exchange the item for something else that does work; 4) You may consider adding a gift receipt with your gift, in case the recipient prefers a different gift.  In this way, the recipient has the option to exchange the item for another product of equal or lesser cost.  If the person chooses something that costs more, then most cashiers would simply deduct the value of the original gift, and the customer pays the difference.  Some retailers offer gift cards (for the value of the returned item) that only work in their stores to make this process a bit easier.  However, there is usually a deadline for returns and/or exchanges, so be sure to check the store’s policy; 5) Give yourself a shopping deadline long before the holiday date, such as a week before the holiday, if not sooner.  This way, you will be less likely to shop at the last minute (when there are limited selections and long lines at the stores).  You would also save on shipping costs online if you shop early.  

If you follow the above guidelines, you will most likely avoid shopping blunders, such as disappointing a recipient, choosing the wrong item, or running out of time.  The holidays should be a time for gatherings and relaxation, not stress.  Therefore, be good to yourself, as well as your recipients, and shop efficiently and wisely.