At this time of year we seem to be bombarded constantly with the message to buy, buy, buy. With the festive season just around the corner perhaps you have already started to think about the gifts need to buy and perhaps whether you need a new outfit for a Christmas party or night out or even the big day itself. Whether you are overwhelmed or excited by the prospect, take a look at my tips below for making your shopping trip (or screentime) successful and perhaps even enjoyable...

Take on the high street
1. Make a list
Always. Browsing to "see if there's something he/she/I might like" is setting yourself up for frustration, disappointment and potentially an item that is never worn, used or opened. Now that's a waste of time, money and space. Making a list of what you really need and the stores you plan to visit will keep you focused on the job in hand and avoid costly mistakes.

2. Comfort factor
Layer up for warmth in the Winter rather than wearing a heavy coat. Take an umbrella if rain is forecast. Make sure your footwear can last the distance - leave the heels or suede at home this time.

3. No such thing as free...
Everyone loves a freebee (points, 3-for-2's, gift-with-purchase) right? If you are tempted by the bargain of the season, refer to point 1- is it on your list, do you actually need it? If not, make like a Disney princess and let it go.

4. Plan breaks
This is really important to avoid fatigue and getting fed up. Having a coffee or stopping for lunch is a great way to keep focused on your shopping and a good opportunity to review your progress and plan the rest of your trip.

5. Take water
Shopping can be exhausting! Take a bottle of water with you and stay hydrated. 

Remember to be realistic about what you can achieve during your trip - and what you can actually carry.
Online wins - successful shopping from the comfort of your own home
1. Stay comfortable
A cuppa, some good music and a comfy chair. 

2. Again - make a list
Shopping online often poses more distractions that in store! Jot down the list and the stores that are likely to stock the items you are after. Batch into department stores where you can to reduce costs and number of deliveries.

3.  Read Reviews
Take a look at a few the reviews of your product online, especially if you are spending more - what are other purchasers experiences? Great packaging & good service, did they have to size up (or down), is the colour or pattern the same as the online image? Learn from others - a great tool which does take a little more time, but can prevent returns or mistakes in the long run.

Regardless of your preferred way of shopping do set a budget - it is so easy to get carried away! But if you do see that "gotta have it" piece, perhaps consider what you might be prepared to compromise on to get it. So whether you're a shopaholic or retail-phobic, these tips will help you get the most out of your time, budget and space.


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