Organize Your Holiday Shopping

School is back in session and fall is in the air, so holiday shopping can't be far off! This is often a difficult time for anyone, let alone the disorganized!

In order to bring some peace out of the chaos, here are some tools and skills you can use.

Make your list. If you're like most of us, you have quite a few people to purchase gifts for (family, friends, coworkers, toys for tots, etc.). Write down each person and next to the name write down what you know about them (sizes, favorite colors, likes and dislikes). Do this for every name on your list. Be sure to leave plenty of space by the names you have no information for.

Check your calendar. Go over your list with calendar in hand. This way you can decide when you will be exchanging gifts with each person. Make a special note of those that will require shipping, as you will need to post them early to be on time.

Schedule your shopping. Make sure that you carve out enough time and put it into your planner. Don't forget to add time for traffic, parking and meals while you are out. Also, remember that highly sought after items may require you to visit several stores. If you are an online shopper, schedule your time in your planner, as well. Keep in mind that many popular sites get bogged down and slow because of increased usage around the holidays, so try to go online at "off peak" times (really late or very early).

Never shop while hungry. This doesn't just apply to grocery shopping. The brain functions better when the body is properly fueled and you will be less likely to make poor choices or be pressured into making unwanted purchases. Likewise, all the thinking and stress of shopping can easily lead you to make costly dietary decisions. After all, its not just Thanksgiving dinner that packs on the pounds!

Take a decision break. When you have trouble deciding on an item, walk away for a short time. Go get a cup of coffee or shop for someone else on the list. Then come back to that decision with "fresh eyes".

If you take these steps, you will have a happier holiday!

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