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How to Make the Most of the Holiday Shopping Season

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There’s nothing quite like shopping during the holiday season. Massive deals, unbelievably long queues and an ever-unfolding list of expenses seem to accompany the occasion. Needless to say, it’s easy to find yourself wondering what ever happened to good old-fashioned Christmas cheer and the simple pleasure of sharing one another’s company.

But to be fair, the holiday shopping season is at least partially about preparing for a special day that we can spend together with those we care about. With that in mind, many are keen on finding ways to weather the additional expense of the holiday season so that they can participate wholeheartedly in the actual festivities. In this sense, spending just a bit beyond our usual budget is a way of showing others we care and getting into the spirit of giving.

But anytime you set out to stretch your expenses, it’s important to consider how you are going to rebound from the situation the following month. Doing so may require a few nips and tucks to the New Year budget in order to make everything fit. The key is to make sure that the extra expenses are well-justified – be it on a perfect gift idea or an unbelievable Black Friday Bargain.

The Story behind Black Friday

Black Friday is definitely an American phenomenon, dating all the way back to the 1930s when retailers were keen to kick start the holiday shopping. It occurs on the day after Thanksgiving (which is always on a Thursday) and features plenty of spend-inducing bargains that help shoppers gear up for the holiday season.

In the past decade or so there has been a consolidated effort on behalf of retailers to create a similar shopping frenzy in the UK. And it hasn’t been entirely ineffectual. After all, bargains are bargains – regardless of where the tradition originated.

The name, ‘Black Friday’, is admittedly unusual. It sounds more like an ominous day of remembrance rather than a free-for-all shopping spree leading up to Christmas. However, the word ‘black’ may not be as dismal as it appears in this case. It may have more to do with the profits of retailers than of the overall mood of the occasion.

There’s an ongoing narrative that – to be fair – is ultimately perpetuated by retailers. It claims that the term ‘Black Friday’ was coined because the day after Thanksgiving traditionally marked the first day that major retailers in the US were able to operate at a profit (i.e. in the black). Presumably, they had been wallowing in the red from January to late-November.

While there’s no question that retailers fare proportionally much better during the holiday shopping season than they do during other times of year, it’s probably a stretch to say that they were operating in the red for all those months leading up to December. But the underlying message is received: the holiday shopping season dwarfs all others.

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Maximise Your Spend during the Holidays

If you know ahead of time that the holiday shopping schedule is going to stretch your budget to the limit, then it’s important to do some advance planning before you strike out. In some cases, this is as simple as knowing where and when to find the best deals. In others, it has more to do with knowing how to realistically work with your budget. 

Do your research.
When the holiday shopping budget is tight, it’s important to do plenty of pre-shopping research to ensure you’re taking advantage of the best deals available. Many retailers send out physical fliers a few days before big sales, despite the fact that their deals have already been published online. You can easily spot bargains in advance and plan your holiday shopping schedule accordingly.

To that end, get stated early with your shopping schedule. Making plans is essentially free, as long as it doesn’t take up any more time than you have to spare in the first place. If it helps you time you shopping outings in such a way that you save money in the process, then the time you spent planning was most certainly worth it. 

Know when to shop online versus in-store
These days, it’s common to find the best deals online, if only because online shopping allows retailers to streamline their overheads and market products with less brick-and-mortar presentation (sales staff, rented shop space and un-sellable product displays). Even so, the holiday shopping season turns this model on its head, and there are certainly situations in which in-store sales will trump anything you find online.

In either case, the Internet is your friend. As mentioned above, you can find your way to so-called ‘door-buster’ sales online. These take place in brick-and-mortar shops, but they’re advertised in advance online. Similarly, you can use the Internet to shop around for the best prices before you actually strike out on a shopping spree. 

Only borrow what you can repay quickly.
We’re the first to insist that a payday loan only makes sense in certain situations. Ideally, a short-term loan should only be taken out for emergencies, absolute necessities or when you know full-well that you can repay the loan in short order. A small holiday shopping loan could be included in the latter scenario.

The holiday season only comes around once per year, and shopping is a major part of buying gifts that show those you care about that you’ve been thinking about them. As long as you only borrow what you’re able to repay quickly in the New Year, then a modest payday loan can be an excellent way to give your shopping spree that extra little boost it needs.

Keep the Holidays in Perspective

Spending a little extra over the holiday season is all but inevitable, but it’s important to keep everything in perspective. Remember that you can’t put a price tag on time enjoyed with family and friends. With that in mind, plan a realistic budge and then focus on what really makes the holidays such a special time of the year. 

About the author

Peter Davis Peter Davis is a Marketing Analyst at PaydayLoan123 specialising in financial products. Peter writes most of our articles as he stays up to date with the latest information. He enjoys most sports, particularly playing football and watching his favourite football team. Peter really like his food too as we have all witnessed first hand!

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