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Tis’ the Season for Shopping

November 28, 2018

By Gretchen Hofing

This time of the year, “the need” to shop can be pervasive, making its way into nearly everything you do. Shopping for holiday gifts for others, perhaps shopping for yourself with the sales and deals that come before and directly after big holidays. What about all of those gatherings and parties? Shopping for food, drinks, or that perfect host/hostess gift can also take a lot of time.

The good news is you’re in control and can decide how much time and resources you want to invest in shopping. During this often busy time of year, make an appointment with yourself to reserve a block of time for planning. Then think about the following:

  • Make a list of all of the occasions and people that you could shop for.
  • Decide and confirm for yourself which occasions and people on your list you want (not need) to invest in.
  • If you’re buying gifts for others, think about what the receiver values and would find meaningful, or what you are hoping to convey with your gift. Why are you giving that particular item? Don’t forget that the gift of your time may be just as valuable to others – is there some task or chore that you could do for them?
  • Plan your shopping
    • Identify where you will shop
    • Check for sales and coupons in advance
    • Decide how much time you will dedicate to each store or shopping trip (and then stick to it)
    • Block off time on your calendar to do the shopping
  • When you’re shopping, stick to your list. If you find yourself deviating, then take a minute to re-assess, why you’re buying that item. Is it more appropriate? Is it equivalent to or will it serve the same purpose as something on the list and is actually a better deal? Are you simply tired or frustrated and buying it just in case or because you don’t have the energy to make a decision? If you find yourself getting caught up in the marketing and frenzy or just feeling overwhelmed, then try to put the item down, do some other shopping, or take a rest break. Then if you still really need or want it and the unplanned expense isn’t going to cause you stress later, go back to the item.

Finally, find some time to enjoy and relax this season. Feel good that you had a plan and stuck to it. And as the next year starts, remember you can implement these steps and process all year long and maybe, just maybe, the next time a busy season rolls around you’ll already be prepared.

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