THROUGHOUT the year, shopping can be quite enjoyable - browsing, selecting, finding a bargain and going home to unwrap something new.
However, towards the end of the year shopping can turn into a nightmare.
Crowded shops, indecision and time limits can all turn even the most seasoned shoppers away in tears and a lot of people end up over-spending at Christmas because they didn't go about it the right way.
Make shopping a breeze with these handy tips.
Although many shops stay open to midnight in the lead up to Christmas, you don't want to be scrounging through the bargain box trying to find something, anything at the last minute.
Try to set aside one or two days early in December so you can get it out of the way.
Make a list
Write a list of all the people you need to buy a present for and brainstorm gifts for each.
Come up with a back-up gift idea in case you can't find the first item.
Are you stuck for ideas? Take the "No Junk Mail" sticker off the letter box and develop a love for catalogues.
Not only will they give you fantastic gift ideas, but you will know exactly what to get, where to get it from and how much it will cost - perfect.
With food, travel and 100 other expenses to think about over Christmas, you don't want to overspend on presents.
Do your research about each of the gifts you have in mind -find the products online, figure out the average price and stick to it when it comes down to the purchase.
Map it out
I know it seems a bit much to create a list or map of each of the stores you need to visit, but going straight in with a list and a budget means you won't end up getting distracted, browsing and buying things that you don't really need to.
The finer details
There will be times when the recipient of your present will want to swap it, return it or exchange it. Be sure to keep all of your receipts, just in case.
With a little forward planning and organisation your Christmas shopping weekend could end up being your favourite time of the year.
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