Sunday, December 23, 2007

Slo-Mo Shopping

This is it. The last bit of shopping before Christmas. If you're bargain hunting now is the time, as retailers try very hard not to have any overstock left the day after Christmas.

I swore I was not going out shopping this weekend. I made one last trip Friday for bread and milk and such to make sure I wouldn't have to, but the best laid plans failed. There I was, about an hour ago, in Fred Meyer.

So here's my last minute shopping advice:

1) Decide to be in a good mood. It's chaos out there, traffic is ridiculous, parking is mind-bending, and you'll spend at least three times longer in any given store than you usually do. If you let yourself get grouchy about it you're going to ruin your whole day. Grouchiness spreads just like smiles do. Wear a smile, be patient and polite, and you'll see it spread and everyone has a happier day despite the shopping headaches.

2) Don't be in a hurry. This one bears repeating. Everyone is out there, so slow down. Drive slower (and safely), be relaxed while you shop.

3) Don't go looking for anything specific. Seriously. If you decided at the last minute you have to get something in particular for someone I'll guarantee every place will be sold out. Have a general idea instead, that way you're not disappointed. But at the same time...

4) Don't impulse buy! With all those 60%-80% off signs all over the place you'll 80% off yourself to the poor house. Shop smart.

5) Do look for usable bargains. Now's the time to get next year's Christmas wrapping supplies, new lights, and decorations.

6) Do fill the freezer. Big meats, like turkeys and hams, are on sale right now, if you have the room to store them, stock up! When else are you going to find meat for under two dollars a pound? Holiday meal staples of all kinds are really cheap right now.

7) And if at all possible... completely blow off holiday bargain hunting and stay home and spend some time with your family! Find a good holiday movie on television, make some popcorn, and get some quality time in. Some things are more important than saving a buck.

I'm going to go make popcorn!

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