What’s Your Strategy for the 2014 Holiday Shopping Season?

by Jessica Sommerfield · 9 comments

The surveys are in, and although holiday shoppers plan to spend roughly 5% more than last year, the money they spend will be more strictly spent on gifts for others, and not gifts for themselves (a fact that retailers count on for high-ticket items).

Although more people are shopping early to more accurately budget their spending, the percentage of those polled who plan to capitalize on Thanksgiving weekend deals, increased significantly this year. This shows that most consumers are still feeling the need, and desire, to get the most out of their holiday spending in light of a the still-recovering economy.

Lastly, online shopping is slated to increase by about 50% from last year, representing the largest gain of all.* These trends represent the average shopper, but do they represent your personal spending strategy this holiday? Let’s discuss.

Spending More on Others

Have you thought about how much you’re going to spend this holiday? Take a look at your budget and decide what you can afford, based on the number of gifts, your discretionary spending, any Christmas Club savings, and other factors right now.

These recent surveys indicate shoppers are feeling more confident about their spending power this year, so that’s a good sign for retailers. But that doesn’t mean everyone who plans to spend more has looked at their budget, or that it won’t all end up on a credit card. Don’t be one of those people!

It’s easy to shop for yourself while shopping for others, especially if there are great deals. Getting things you need and want, while the deals are good, isn’t a bad idea; it’s just easy to get carried away. Keep in mind that you’ll be tempted and, as those who took the surveys, and decide ahead of time that your focus will be gifts for others.

Shopping Early to Save

You might be groaning at the thought of holiday spending this early in the season, but the best way to shop responsibly is to shop early. Waiting too long for sales can often lead to impulse or mindless purchases for yourself and others.

Some of us get excited over the tense, anticipatory atmosphere of door-buster deals and limited quantities, and that’s perfectly fine if we’ve made a plan before hitting the stores. But shopping throughout the year definitely has its advantages, such as:

  • More time to consider ideal gifts for those on your list
  • No last-minute shopping stress or budget busting trips
  • The ability to avoid crowds, long lines, and in-stock problems

Shopping on Black Friday weekend, if done strategically, can allow you to enjoy the best deals in a short span of time. Keep in mind that retailers will usually honor competitors’ sales prices, and offer refunds if you find a better deal within a certain time frame of their Black Friday sales.

And, in spite of the controversy, the recent increase of early Thanksgiving-Day deals allows you a longer time frame to find everything on your list.

Purchasing With a Click

The projected increase in online spending this holiday should come at no surprise. Personally, I find it highly convenient to find exactly what I want, at the lowest possible price, without ever leaving your home.

When shopping online, you don’t have to waste fuel driving to locations or risk finding items out of stock; items are delivered to your door, and memberships such as Amazon Prime allow you to save money on shipping and handling.

Retailers are catching on to this consumer preference and offering most of their holiday deals online as well as in stores. So before heading out to the stores, where it’s easy to put extra items into your cart, consider buying gifts online instead.

What’s Your Shopping Plan?

It may seem tempting to head into the holiday shopping season without a plan, but knowing general shopping habits and planning ahead, can help you avoid additional debt while actually enjoying this time of year.

So what’s your shopping strategy? Do you have a plan of attack for buying gifts? Take time today to figure out what your strategy will be and your plan to get through this holiday season successfully.

What’s another shopping strategy you can add to the list? Which of these consumer predictions are you likely to follow this holiday season, and why? 

*Source: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/gift-givers-to-spend-more-this-holiday-season-survey-finds-102114.html

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  • Kate says:

    I have 10 Grandnieces and Grandnephews (besides the family I have cut off because they never once, from Father to Children, thanked me — or even acknowledges getting gifts at all.) I buy them books. Every year. They are all reading or approaching reading, and their parents read to them every night and read with them in the evenings. We don’t give adult presents except little tokens, usually funny or decorative. I’d say I spend less than $150.00 for gifts.

  • Jonathan says:

    Some excellent Christmas shopping tips. We like to get our Christmas shopping done by September and to be honest it works brilliantly, it avoids last minute desperation shopping which can bump up costs. We also like making our own gifts for family.

  • My plan is to go with the wifey for a two day getaway without the kids at the end of this month , So one day will be all shopping in the big city and next day some R and R from the two kids we leaving with grandma!

    • David Ning says:

      You are so lucky to be able to leave the kids with grandma. Both sets of grandparents from our family lives on the other side of the world so every vacation of ours is going to be a family one for a while.

      Enjoy the time alone!

  • I like to do the bulk of my holiday shopping online. I was just thinking yesterday that I should probably get started to avoid the last minute online shipping crunchtime!

    • David Ning says:

      You should start early! If time becomes of essence in a few weeks, make sure you look at the drop dead day of when they’ll guarantee your packages arriving by Christmas.

  • Gretchen says:

    We plan to shop after Christmas. Of course, we’ll still celebrate Christmas on the 24th, but we’ll open presents after the new year, when we’ve had a chance to take advantage of the best deals of the year!

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