Holiday Shopping Without Chaos

Now that your meal is planned out for Thanksgiving, your gift list is made, and you plan out Black-Friday stampede; how do you keep your wallet full before the New Year instead of running empty? We want to lend a few ideas that will help ease the spending of typical Thanksgiving traditions. Instead of making the all-day event of Black Friday from sun up to sun down and three meals out on the town later, try a few of these things to find yourself less stressed and more relaxed during the holiday. Stay in...PJ's, leftover turkey legs, deviled eggs, pecan pie, feet up on the couch and a movie marathon sounds great after a long day's work of slaving away in the kitchen, am I right? Add in a little bit of online shopping and I would say you have it made! We all have at one point ordered something online but why do we never think of doing it after Thanksgiving? Due to the family traditions of making the day an Olympic event to be the first one in line at the store and spending numerous hours crossing off our list of gifts seems to consume the minds of retail goers. Online shopping is easier than ever. You can quickly search for products instead of going store to store and see instant reviews and price comparisons. Many companies are joining the craze of online shopping and even have sales before and after the big day. Amazon's Countdown to Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just a few examples that have sales outside of the normal Black Friday. Procrastinate...I know procrastination is something we all loathe but sometimes it can pay off. Retailers will typically have big sales towards the Christmas holiday to get rid of inventory on the shelves. Here is a point in life where procrastination can pay off if you are willing to wait. Do a little research on the products you want and keep your eye on them. Derek shopped for part of his list on Christmas Eve when stores opened, he encountered less than a dozen men in any one store, plenty of parking, helpful service and the best deals (make sure you get the must haves done earlier though). Support local business...Go out for Small Business Saturday the day after Black Friday. This gives you a chance to support local businesses in the community and enjoy a less stressful retail experience, while still getting great bargains. I know how nice it is to not go out at all, but this tradition is one I can get down on! Think about your gift list and how generic it likely is. I know you are thinking in your mind right now, "I will get my cousin a gift card and let's go in together and get mom and dad this toaster oven." Instead of that thought try, "I found this amazing painting by a local artist that would fit perfectly above the fireplace at mom and dad's and my cousin would love these one-of-a-kind handmade earrings!" The feeling of supporting local businesses and getting a gift that is memorable and handcrafted by a local shop owner is an unforgettable one, not only for the gift giver but for the receiver as well. Celebrate each other...My way of holiday thinking is a little different, but I think this is a trend that is really taking off. I do the typical holiday things like decorating the house, baking a pie etc. but instead of celebrating the holiday slaving over a stove and going to shop till I drop, my husband and I take a trip to Moab, Utah every Thanksgiving (among our friends we call the day, Friendsgiving). We make the 7 hour drive out to the middle of nowhere, camp or split a cabin with everyone and go enjoy the outdoors. Instead of one person cooking the meal on Thanksgiving we all pitch in to make the turkey, dressing, sweet potato souffle and other yummy sides and split the cost. We then go hiking, mountain biking, climbing and other fun activities and make a weekend of it. This allows us to truly experience the meaning of Thanksgiving and not be anywhere near a retail store to have the temptation of shopping. We build lasting memories with friends and family and do not spend a fortune on Black Friday. Set a budget...the last piece of information I have is one that you will gasp at or flat out just laugh in my face, but it is the most cost efficient! Set a budget or do not buy a gift at all. People are more understanding now to the reality of life that gifts can be expensive, time consuming and just an exchange of gift cards is not as emotional. I know this is not the normal way of doing the holidays but if you are on a budget or do not want to dwindle your savings down, it is okay to skip the gifts. Derek and his brother have not done gifts in over a decade, instead it is about family time for them. I hope these little tidbits help you in making some of those tough decisions during the Black Friday and Holiday chaos. Whether you are a gift giver or receiver, a thrill seeker, a family goer or a couch potato you have options this holiday season to be whatever you want to be without breaking the bank. Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Written By: Erin Watkins