What NOT to Do When Shopping for Holiday Gifts: 11 Key Steps
The holidays are here and only 3 percent of us have finished our holiday shopping, according to Consumer Reports. That means the other 97 percent of us are going to be pounding the mall pavement in the coming weeks, braving long lines, crazy parking lots and crowds in search of the perfect holiday gifts.
Americans will spend an average of 13 hours shopping for the perfect holiday gifts this year. Keep reading to find out how to get the most shopping “bang for your buck” today!
On average, consumers will spend 13 hours shopping for gifts this year, Consumer Reports states, so you’ll want to make the most of your shopping time. To be sure you walk away with an armload of good deals and nothing more (or less), here are the top 11 tips you need to AVOID this holiday season:
1. Do Not Go Shopping Without a Budget in Mind
Decide how much you can afford to spend this year and keep that number at the “top of your mind” as you shop. Six percent of adults -- or about 13.5 million Americans -- are still carrying debt from last year's holiday season, according to the Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll. And in households with children under 12 years old, 10 percent are carrying debt. Creating a budget will help ensure that this time next year your holiday purchases will not still be lingering on your credit card statements.
2. Do NOT Buy a Lot of Socks and Slippers
These items were among the least favorite gifts. If you want to impress your friends and loved ones, opt for a gift they will truly love and appreciate. Start by making a list of items each person needs or wants, and items that may help fill a void or solve a challenge in their life.
No time to make a list? We've done the work for you by creating some profiles for you to compare your loved ones to, followed by “TOP deals on TOP products your family and friends will adore”
3. Do NOT Wait Until it’s Too Late
One-quarter of those polled by Consumer Reports said they expect to be making holiday purchases in the days leading up to Christmas. This year especially, however, it’s important to make your important purchases early. Why? Because there already seems to be a significant LACK of STOCK from what our qualitative research with both manufacturers who are already sold out and in store research has preliminarily identified.
Higher quality gifts have been deeply discounted for months now, which means many top-quality gifts are SOLD OUT. Is there coming a holiday collapse in the supply chain? Is it possible that even before Black Friday many of the best gifts have already been SOLD OUT?
For more information, be sure to read “9 Shocking Shopping Secrets You Want to Know Now!”
4. Do NOT Accept Zero- or Low-Interest Finance Offers and MORE Credit Cards From Retailers Without Very Careful Consideration
These plans can make an expensive purchase more affordable, and one-third of shoppers planning to buy a flat-screen TV, one of the hottest holiday items, plan to take advantage, according to Consumer Reports.
However, only do so after careful consideration, as if you don’t end up paying the TV off before the promotional period ends you could end up deeper in debt. Some stores will also charge you the accrued interest as well. There are also some cards that are charging fees for NOT using their cards. So even if you pay in full you could be paying more.
5. Do NOT Go to the Mall Without a List
Those who don’t make lists spend up to 50 percent more and are more stressed. This will also help you to avoid making impulse purchases.
6. Do NOT Shop With Credit Cards
When all is said and done, consumers go over their holiday spending budgets by an average of 15 percent to 30 percent, according to the International Mass Retail Association. If you don’t bring extra cash (or credit cards) with you, you can’t overspend.
Set your Budget, create your List, Do NOT waiver: only bringing the cash you budgeted to the mall.
7. Do NOT Leave Your Packages in Your Backseat
Shopping bags in your car’s backseat are a magnet for thieves. Be sure to stow your packages out of sight in your trunk instead. Also, resist the urge to drop packages in your trunk and then go back into the mall. A thief could be watching you from afar. If you must drop of packages in your trunk in the middle of your shopping, the safest solution is to move your car to a different area of the parking lot afterward.
8. Do NOT Leave Your Purse or Wallet Unattended
It only takes an instant for a thief to grab your valuables, so avoid leaving your purse in a shopping cart unattended or your wallet on a counter even for a few seconds. Further, be sure to keep your purse safely zipped up or buttoned and your wallet in a secure location to keep pick-pocketers away.
9. Do NOT Let Your Credit Card Get Into the Wrong Hands
When you’re in stores, keep an eye on your card, watch who handles it, and shield the number from those around you as much as possible. If you have multiple cards on your account (such as cards for your children) make sure that they also know to keep the card in a safe place.
When shopping online, it is highly recommended that you only shop online from a computer you know and trust. Using a computer in a library or Internet café leaves you much more vulnerable to credit card thieves. On your personal computer, make sure you have installed up-to-date anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-spamware and firewall software.
10. Do NOT Lose Your Credit Card Receipts
Although many companies now block out all but the last four digits of credit card numbers on receipts, there are exceptions. If you are throwing away a receipt, check to see if your credit card number is on it, and if it is, shred it first.
11. Do NOT Overlook the Ease of Shopping Online
49 percent of shoppers plan to shop online this season -- up from 44 percent last year, according to Consumer Reports. Shoppers cited the convenience of online shopping as a primary benefit, but two-thirds also said they expect to find deals as good or better than in stores. To find some of the top deals on high-quality gifts for your friends and loved ones, from the comfort of your own home (you can even shop in your pj’s!), read “9 Shocking Shopping Secrets You Want to Know Now!”.
NOW is the Time to Take Unfair Advantage of Today’s Hottest, Healthiest, Holiday Deals …
Right now you can take advantage of the best, hottest prices of the season – even hotter than last year’s Black Friday – for the full week of Thanksgiving!
Even before, or while, the turkey is in the oven, take advantage now before the best gifts are sold out!
With the incredible permeating smells throughout your home ... imagine how relaxed you will be if you have already bought all your loved ones appreciative gifts reflecting what they have brought to your life …
Taking a few minutes now can make your holiday celebrations much more joyful, focused, and relaxed -- a real time for reflection without this added stress.
9 Shocking Shopping Secrets You Want to Know Now!
11 Tips for Preventing Credit Card Fraud This Season
Consumer Reports November 19, 2009
Consumer Reports October 29, 2009