With the holidays approaching, it’s time to start thinking\r\nabout spreading cheer and purchasing gifts for loved ones. Most agree: holiday\r\nshopping can be stressful and costly, and it’s important to prepare\r\nyourself early on in order to make the process enjoyable and efficient,\r\nespecially if your shopping is to be had in freezing temperatures, a brutal\r\nfeature of Chicago! Remember, you’re expressing gratitude and love, two things\r\nthat can boost health and happiness, so make the most of this season and its\r\nshopping adventures.\r\n \r\nWhether you want to include clients, co-workers, friends, or\r\nfamily, creating a list of people to shop for can help you manage your time and\r\nbudget and avoid stress, as best as possible. Here are five tips to make\r\nholiday shopping simpler, so that you can savor the holiday spirit and bring\r\nsmiles to those around you.\r\n \r\nMake A List Of People & Gifts\r\n \r\nStaying organized and creating\r\na list of people whom you need to shop for can save time, money, and agony.\r\nWhen you can calculate numbers and guarantee that all heads are covered, you’ll\r\nbe able to better estimate a budget and schedule to get all your shopping done.\r\nYou can also buy in bulk if you have a large group of people of equal\r\nimportance, such as for co-workers or clients. Or, if you are heading outdoors,\r\nshopping up a storm, and enjoying an exciting night in a bustling city, such as\r\nChicago, you can purchase\r\na holiday package that features a hotel stay, shopping gift card, and\r\ndining recommendations.\r\n \r\nLook For Sales\r\n \r\nOften around the holidays, there are tons of terrific sales,\r\nand scheduling your shopping trips around these opportunities can help you save\r\non money, time, and energy. Many department\r\nstores, as well as smaller boutiques, have end-of-year sales, and these\r\nmarkdowns can be astronomical, especially as the countdown draws near. Inquire\r\nwith stores to see if markdowns will go lower within a few days, to be sure\r\nthat you are getting the best deal possible. You can also go on Black Friday or\r\nCyber Monday (if you dare!) for ridiculous savings.\r\n \r\nScour Online Deals\r\n \r\nDoing research online for hot items at reasonable prices can\r\nbe cost-efficient and allow you to focus on other things, such as work and\r\nfamily life, as opposed to browsing through department stores. Don’t be afraid\r\nto compare\r\nprices and brands before charging your card. To save even more cash, look\r\nfor items that don’t require shipping or delivery charges, as purchasing online\r\ncan sometimes amp up the cost through these additional fees. Ordering online is\r\nalso a great idea if you are sending gifts to friends or family outside your\r\narea.\r\n \r\nBe Thoughtful\r\n \r\n \r\nDon’t forget the sentiment of the holidays: it is about\r\nlove, gratitude, and joy. A gift should embody these emotions. Whether you want\r\nto purchase an expensive item, or create a gift yourself, make sure that the\r\npurchase has meaning behind it and fits the recipient perfectly. If budget is\r\ntight, consider making\r\nyour own holiday gift, with creativity and care. You can bake cookies, knit\r\na sweater, or paint a piece of artwork or pottery. The choice is yours!\r\n \r\nStart Early\r\n \r\nIt’s never too early to start saving up for holiday gifts,\r\nas the holiday season is guaranteed to happen every year, and it’s bound to be\r\nsomewhat expensive. By creating budget in advance and working towards saving\r\nmoney for holiday gifts in advance, you’ll be able to go into the process\r\nwith resources and direction. By getting gifts early, you’ll have more time to\r\nrelax and enjoy the festivities, without feeling overwhelmed or under a\r\ntime-crunch.