I am super excited to have my friend Tia from BecominNeurotic, guest posting again! She has some fabulous shopping tips for those of us who don’t like to shop! These will definitely come in handy right now!
Take it away, Tia!
Hey y’all, it’s me again! Echo was kind enough to have me back for another post. I’m flattered, especially since I’ve only barely been keeping a handle on my own sanity lately, let alone feeling savvy enough to offer tips and advice to y’all. But here I am.
I know I don’t have to tell you how stressful the holidays can be. There’s family chaos, extra responsibilities, money is being stretched far too thin, and kids are usually bouncing off the walls with a combination of cabin fever and excitement. And on top of all that is the most dreaded…
Now maybe you’re one of those rare birds who actually likes to shop. Guess what? This post is probably not for you. Sorry.
This post is for those of us who prefer the comfort of our own home (even if it’s filled with bouncing children) to the hustle and bustle of humanity that is shopping. We dread grocery time because it means we have to be in close proximity to people. We loathe the stress that comes with trying to find everything on our list without going bankrupt or having to sell bodily fluids. We crave things like an internet connection, an unlimited credit card, and access to places like Amazon and eBay.
This post is about how to make it through holiday shopping while maintaining the last shreds of our sanity.
The first step is always to make a list. Always. Pinterest has some fun, free printables if you’re interested in a flashy looking list, but just regular old notebook paper works, too. My favorite method is to list everyone I MUST buy for, along with room for three options for each person. Notice, I said “MUST.” If money is tight, take a hard look at that list. Obviously you can’t not get anything for your spouse or kids, but the neighbors? Your cousins twice removed? Cards are more than acceptable for them. Keeping it lean isn’t rude, it’s practical.
Once my list of people is made, I start brainstorming gift ideas. Again, if money is tight, get creative. For your in-laws, maybe have your kiddos make something handmade. Grandparents love that stuff, and craft supplies can be stretched far and wide. Gift baskets are also great ideas, and can vary in price range depending on your budget. Now that I have a working list, I start with online shopping. Amazon is my go-to, but mostly because I always seem to have a gift card for them. (All those rewards sites come in handy!) I look for items I can order together to take advantage of free shipping deals. Or bulk items I can split up among a few different people. I try to get this done ASAP so that things have time to ship and still get here in time.
Next I look at any homemade gifts that need supplies. If you’re having the kiddos make ornaments for Grandma and Grandpa, you’ll need to pick up those supplies sooner rather than later. Because I hate shopping, I tend to combine this list with the master list of gifts and get as much as I can in one big trip. As soon as my list is ready, I find any special deals or coupons for those items so that I can stretch that budget as far as possible.
Leave the kiddos with a babysitter, your spouse, the rabid dogs next door. Grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea (or wine) to fortify you, and let’s go.
If you have multiple stores to hit up, plan your route ahead of time. This will save some panic later when you’re nearly home and then remember you forgot to stop at Target. On the other side of town. And it’s now rush hour traffic. Yup.
Take along your headphones and iPod. Or your phone, whichever. This can help to drown out the noise of other shoppers, the annoying overhead announcements, and keep you calm and focused on your mission.
Plan on picking up dinner on the way home, having something delivered, or someone else cooking. After a day of shopping and lugging around bags of gifts, you aren’t going to want to be in the kitchen. Especially since you still have to wrap all those gifts. Just figure this into the budget from the get-go, you’ll thank me later, I promise.
Do NOT attempt to go home and start right in on those craft projects. GIVE YOURSELF A REST.
Hide all the bags, hug your kiddos, and give yourself a giant pat on the back or a self five!
I hope these tips help you retain a bit of sanity (and money!) this holiday season. If you’re already done this year and feeling frazzled as a result, go ahead and bookmark this for next year. And maybe Echo and I will start a support group! 😉
Blog~ Twitter~ Facebook~ Google +~ Pinterest~ Instagram
My name is Tia and this is where I blog about life with chronic illness.
I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in early 2012. I have since been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Interstitial Cystitis. All autoimmune diseases, all because my immune system is an over-achiever. I’ve also battled with Depression and Anxiety since my teens. All of this combines to make for a pretty nutty life. I have a teenage son, Jojo, who spends most of his time with his father. He’s a genius (my son, not his father) and a sweetheart. He also still tells me he loves me, which I count as a win. I have a few angels who watch over me. My daughter Bella was born still October 2009 and we lost my oldest step-brother to suicide in 2008. My dear friend Misty lost her battle with chronic illness in December 2012. I love and miss them all dearly, and they’ve inspired a lot of what I do today.
I’m engaged to a wonderful man who is a full-time office manager, part-time musician, full-time caregiver. We call him Scotty here, to help preserve a bit of his privacy and sanity. He loves me even when I don’t feel very lovable, which makes him the very best kind of guy. He still tells me I’m beautiful and gives me butterflies in my tummy with each kiss. We’re planning to get married in August 2015.