stress and holidays, shopping, holiday shopping tipsHoliday shopping seems to be starting even earlier this year. I went to a well-known store the other day only to see the holiday department filled with decorations. Each year the trees, lights and ornaments seem to get displayed a little earlier. Some stores even have Halloween costumes next to tree lights. It can seem a little overwhelming to think about holiday shopping and celebrations creeping up on you. So I began to wonder how you could benefit from early holiday shopping and get stress relief at the same time.

It’s a little hard to get in the mood to holiday shop but shopping year round can actually be a huge stress reliever. There is so much pressure to get the perfect gift. But habits that you have used in holiday shopping in years gone buy may actually be adding to your stress.

A great deal of major companies are already trying to compete for you money. Best Buy, Amazon, WalMart and even Target are already having price wars and matching their competitor’s tags. A recent survey from Decide Inc., a consumer price research firm revealed the best time to go searching for some deals was before Black Friday. These items include jewelry, watches, flat screen televisions and toys. Other items such as video game systems and tablet devices it was best to wait for that favorite day after Thanksgiving.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.-Rita Mae Brown

A well thought out plan can actually help you right now. How many times have you said “I’m never going to do ‘xyz’ again to get ready for the holidays?” Now is the time to plan and prevent the horrible stress you have during November, December and beyond.

Here are some questions to take a look at before the hustle and bustle of that season begins:

• What matters most during the holidays?
• What traditions are most important to me, my family and friends?
• What can I do to best take care of myself over the next 2 months?

Getting clear about why you make certain choices shopping can clear away so much stress. Answering these questions can clearly help you plan and know why you are making your choices with purpose.

Set your budget. This one task can prevent you from months of debt and heartache. Keep track of what you spend as well. This will help prevent that last minute impulsive buying spree that can lead to trouble.

Making a list and checking it…several times. Set aside 15 minutes to sketch out shopping plans. Oftentimes, just listening or watching what people love throughout the year can help you get started. Start to pay attention to things folks pick up in stores or talk about during the day.

Watch circulars, ads and internet deals. Once you know what you are looking for then shopping just got easier. Your eyes will be scanning for your shopping list items.

So is it too early to plan for the holiday season? Maybe not. Take a look at what you don’t want to repeat this year and plan accordingly.

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