Number 10. When possible shop with a buddy, and make it an event! Having a friend to chat with and to help carry bags makes the crowds easier to take. That was my plan today, but a regional ice storm had my friend stuck at home with closed roads and school for her kids.
Number 9. If you are a working woman like me, take a weekday off. The crowds are HALF what they are at night and on weekend. And the stores are usually much more organized and staffed with the full-timers who know about the sales and merchandise.
Number 8. Love thy neighbor...at the store that is. You'd be amazed what a shared smile or joke does to lighten the agony of waiting in the 10th line of the day. I gave out about 10 smiles today - and got one back in return for each effort.
Number 7. Books I say, Books! Since most bloggers I know are avid readers (and obviously writers) and surround themselves with others of that ilk, I recommend bookstores. There are so many deals to be had, and accessories are always a treat if the books don't appeal.
Number 6. STUFF TO DO! Most Americans today have too much stuff. And while I want to do my part to support the economy with my mad holiday shopping, I'm looking for restaurants, theaters, and activity spots as much, if not more, than regular stores. Why add clutter to someone's life? Add fun instead!
Number 5. God Bless the Internet. On-line shopping is such a dream...robust searchable databases for the most obscure items you can think of...what did we do without it?
Number 4. Pay Attention to that Junk Mail. I'm never good at this. But on two purchases today I got extra off because I actually read the sales flyers I normally just recycle that come to my house. $10 off any purchase over $100 at Target, Extra % off at Macy's before 12 Noon,
Number 3. COUPON CODES! I was about to press the "Purchase" button on Snapfish for my holiday cards, when I noticed a field at the bottom asking for a coupon code. On a whim, I went out to Google and searched for snapfish coupon codes. FOUND ONE! I inserted the code and Voila! 20% off! Sweet.
Number 2. Mid-Day Regroup. Go early and shop like a mad-woman. Then at mid-day, find a place to cop a squat, grab a bite, and review that list and your purchases. Take a breather. Appreciate your accomplishments. Rest your aching feet and back...maybe even drop off your bags in your car. Editor note: I take no responsibility for any potential theft from your vehicle. I had a smash and grab one holiday - not on a shopping day - and they got my gym bag and my briefcase. I was not a happy camper.
And the Number 1 Shopping Tip??? Always buy stuff that you covet.
Why? Because then as you go home and consult your list and find you have a few extras...you can pick some stuff out to keep. It makes the shopping much more fun!
I always pick up some extra gift cards too - for those EVERYONE stores, like Barnes & Noble, Target, Macy's etc. Then you've got them in your pocket for those times you run into an unexpected cousin or friend. And if the unexpected does not occur, it's like cash in your pocket for your next shopping trip. I actually had a few left from LAST CHRISTMAS that just helped fund THIS CHRISTMAS.