Money-Saving Holiday Survival Guide

One-Day Holiday and Christmas Shopping Plan

Instead of aimlessly buying gifts throughout the season (a major wallet drain), use this shopping guide, chock-full of surprising strategies, to cross everything off your list in a single day.

Woman Christmas shopping carrying bags and boxesML Harris/Getty Images

9:30 a.m.

Stop at the bank… Curb impulse buys by leaving your credit cards at home. Shopping with cash cuts your overall outlay by 23 percent, according to Lindstrom. Avoid the ATM and go to a teller so you can request larger bills, such as 50s or 100s. You will be less likely to break them on unnecessary purchases.

…Then hit the mall. Since the main entrance may have a lavish display enticing you to spend, come in through a side door or the food-court entrance. Avoid unplanned detours by using the free FastMall app, which contains full maps of more than 1,250 malls nationwide.

Buy less expensive stuff first. And here’s why: Once you shell out for something costly, your brain loses perspective on what’s a good price, says Scott Huettel, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina. So once you’ve paid $250 for a PlayStation 3, doling out $40 instead of $30 for a Lego set may no longer faze you.


1 p.m.

Eat lunch. Recharge by choosing a protein-rich salad with chicken or a turkey-avocado wrap. (Carbohydrate-laden picks, like pizza and fries, will make you want to nap.)

 
Read More About:Planning

Related Content

Woman carrying many shopping bags and boxes

7 Ways to Reach Your Financial Goals

Once you’ve exceeded your budget, it’s easy for your spending to spiral out of control. Follow these simple tips to get your finances back on track.

What do you think about this article? Share your own solutions and ideas

View Earlier Comments
Advertisement

Quick Tip

Illustration of suitcases

Packing for a family vacation? Travel versions of favorite games won’t crowd suitcases, and playing them will keep kids from begging to watch TV at night. Get more tips.