Tips & Tricks: How to shop this holiday season

Buying gifts can be one of the more stressful parts of the holidays. Even the savviest consumer can get caught up with choices and questions when buying for someone else. Just follow this simple mnemonic (CATS) when shopping this year to save you money and time and will help you buy gifts people will genuinely appreciate.



This is perhaps one of the first things to consider when buying a gift. Think about your budget and plan accordingly. Remember that sometimes the best gifts are not the most expensive, but also remember that some people are worth spending a little extra on. For close friends and siblings, get in touch with your creative side and make something for a sweet and sentimental present. For relatives, think about memorabilia and photo albums, anything reminding them of your relationship and how many good times you had together. Also think about gift wrap alternatives such as comic strips, newspaper or fabric bags to cut costs.



Listen carefully and take note of what that person gets excited about. Next time you two go shopping together, pay attention to what that person points out or comments on. If you really cannot think of anything, just ask.

Think of questions that are not so obvious like, “Have you played that new Skyrim game?” Or, “I really like your new iPhone, wouldn’t a case be nice to keep this phone from breaking like your old one?” Another idea is to create and share wishlists.



Take the time to think about the people you buy gifts for. Think about their hobbies, their favorite color or things they have lost or broken.

For example, consider a new wool sweater to replace the one that was accidentally throw in the washing machine, an iPod shuffle for the runner who has to run with a bulky phone or a flash drive for the not so tech-savvy relative who emails everything to himself. Browse on sites like or for unique and creative gifts for any person an price range.



When you know what you want to gift, shop around for it! Compare prices, look for sales and go to different stores. Malls like Lenox post all the sales for every store online. Free barcode scanner apps search for that product, the prices and reviews. The holidays do not have to be a time to go broke. Plus, the more you save the more you can buy!