The holiday season is upon us and if you’re like me, you always tell yourself around this time of year that you’re not going to let the holidays stress you out. “That’s not what the holidays are about” you tell yourself. So you immediately decide you’re going to be more prepared than ever before. You begin making your list of all the shopping and preparations you need to do. You keep good on your word to yourself and snag one gift during a Black Friday sale. “This is going to be easy, only seven more presents to go and I’m done.” But then life happens. The next thing you know it’s the morning of your family holiday party and that one gift you bought on Black Friday was actually for your cat. Panic sets in.
You sneak out of the house to go to the mall, but you have to be back in 2 hours or less or your family will be on to you. You walk into the first department store you see and immediately want to buy everyone socks, but instead you frantically ask the sales associate for help. They convince you to buy all of the overpriced merchandise you’re surrounded by. You close your eyes and swipe your credit card. On the drive home you contemplate whether to buy a lotto ticket in the hopes that the holiday gods will have mercy on you so that you can pay off your now very large credit card bill. Sound familiar?
Ok that was a little dramatic, but long story short, the holidays can be incredibly stressful if you don’t plan ahead or if finances are tight. To avoid the above scenario, I’ve partnered with Coinstar® to put together some tips on how to keep your holiday shopping stress-free and budget friendly, so you can actually enjoy the holidays for once and give some fantastic gifts, too!
7 Tips for Stress-Free Holiday Shopping
Collect your loose change and cash it in with Coinstar®. This is by far the easiest way to put some extra spending cash in your pocket. Last month I was cleaning my apartment and found $5 dollars’ worth of quarters inside my couch. I’d been literally sitting on money for who knows how long! Loose change can add up very quickly so check your couch, pockets, cup holders and other bags you rotate in your wardrobe for those extra coins. Then, take them to your nearest green Coinstar kiosk to get cash instantly. You can also opt to cash in your coins for no-fee eGift cards , which make for an easy stocking stuffer – or donate the coins directly to a charity! Find your nearest kiosk here.
Sign up for retailer email newsletters. With Black Friday and Cyber Week on the very near horizon, retailers have already begun promoting their discounts and specials they’ll be having. Sign up for email newsletters at the retailers where you know you’ll be shopping to make sure you can take advantage of all of the deals! Plus, most retailers usually offer you a small discount for signing up for their emails – win, win!
Get organized ASAP. This one is pretty obvious but still worth noting. This year, I’m making a Trello board with all of the people I need to buy gifts for and setting dates for when I want to have those items purchased by. I’m a visual person so I’m also thinking about creating a secret Pinterest board to pin items I see online that I think might be a good gift for someone. Whatever your method for getting organized, get your plan set up early and stick to it. Put reminders in your phone or calendar if you have to. You’ll thank yourself later.
Find out what your loved ones really want. I think one of the biggest reasons I end up procrastinating with my holiday shopping is that I have no idea what to get the person and don’t want to go down that rabbit hole to try and figure it out. This year, I’m taking a more direct approach and asking friends and family upfront what they’ve had their eye on or at the very least, find out what their favorite stores of the moment are so I can narrow down my search. If that approach isn’t really your style, consider making a personalized gift such as a photo book or curating themed box of goodies for the “coffee lover” or “the foodie”.
Trade unwanted gift cards for cash with Coinstar™ Exchange. Remember my post from earlier this year about how I’m decluttering my life in 2016? Coinstar™ Exchange played a big part in that! The yellow Coinstar™ Exchange kiosk takes those unwanted gift cards you have lying around from holidays past and turns them it into instant cash so you can buy what you really want this holiday season. The kiosks are located in grocery stores across major U.S. cities and accept gift cards from more than 150 retailers!
Make back the money you spend. Companies like Ebates and Swagbucks offer cash back and gift card deals just for shopping through their sites. Many major retailers are available through their sites so if you’re already planning to shop online with those retailers, why not make back that money you’re spending? It’ll definitely come in handy with my final tip…
Treat yourself! Don’t forget to have fun and take care of yourself during the holiday season. Grab lunch with your siblings at the new cafe in your town or go on a mani date with your bestie – you deserve it!
What are you go-to moves for a stress-free holiday shopping experience? Let me know in the comments!
This post is brought to you by Coinstar®. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Style Tab.