The Ninja Method to Holiday Shopping Year Round
As enjoyable as the season is, shopping for Christmas presents and supplies can be one of the most draining and stressful events of the year.
With so much to keep track of it's hardly surprising when things get overlooked. Worse, with the holiday season being so busy for everyone, you may not be able to find the things you want, leaving wish lists unfulfilled. Even when you do find things, if it's in high demand the price could be anything from considerable to extortionate.
There's no quick and easy answer to the difficulties the Christmas season brings, but there are ways to alleviate the stresses of the season. One of the best ways to help reduce both mental and financial stresses at Christmas is to plan and prepare for it throughout the year. Spreading purchasing out makes it less stressful for you, reduces expenses, and will further help your wallet by spreading the costs throughout the year. Here are some ideas on how to go about year-round Christmas shopping.
The Best Time for Christmas Supplies
Let's start with one of the easiest things to shop for: general Christmas supplies. Anything like decorations, wrapping paper, and the tree (if artificial) can be found with much greater ease and usually at a lower cost if you know when to look for it.
That time is early in the New Year, when last Christmas has passed and stores are looking to move their remaining stock to make way for other goods. As long as it's something that will last the year, buying these sorts of Christmas supplies in January is a great way to ninja some great deals and convenient shopping. Some stores even have Christmas decoration events in July.
Events Throughout The Year
Another excellent way to look for ways to do some Christmas shopping throughout the year is to pay attention to things like fairs and festivals going on near you. Depending on the nature of those festivals, it's possible to find some great bargains that people would really appreciate as presents in a few months. For example, at an arts and crafts fair you might find some unique handmade toys or ornaments. This kind of thing can be especially good as a stocking stuffer and will certainly be more valued than generic mass-produced plastic products.
Coupons, Sales, and Other Savings
Buying in the immediate weeks before Christmas doesn't just cause stress and pressure; it's also likely to be more expensive. It would be difficult, after all, to avoid Christmas shopping for your friends and loved ones, and vendors know this just as well as you - sales are likely to be less impressive in the run-up to Christmas. They can sell things anyway, so there's little need for them to encourage more sales.
Another way to save is with coupons. If you keep an eye out for deals and coupons throughout the year, chances are you'll find some great deals that wouldn't crop up when Christmas is nearing. This is an excellent way to prepare for Christmas in a way that saves you money and keeps your stress lower.
Of course there are some constraints that you can't get around. For example if a highly-anticipated video game is coming out in November, and it is at the top of a wish list, there's not much hope for a big sale before Christmas.
You also can't buy your perishables in advance because, by definition, they have a limited shelf life. Nonetheless if you shop wisely and grab things like a ninja, when it comes to the Christmas shopping you couldn't do in advance, you'll still have a lot less to worry about in November and December, and more money in your pocket.