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Procrastinators unite!  It’s almost time for you to hit the stores, racing around like crazy people, and panicking over finding a great gift.  Just because you’re a procrastinator doesn’t exclude your opportunity to be an organized shopper.  So, our friends at Real Simple Magazine have provided a One-Day Holiday and Christmas Shopping Plan.  We’re giving you an edited version of their plan.  For the whole article, click here.

8:00 AM

Fuel up. It’s hard to shop sensibly when your blood sugar is crashing, so skip the bagels, the donuts, and the sugary breakfast cereals.

Don’t dress just for comfort. When people are feeling insecure, they tend to buy more.  Opt for something stylish, like cute flats or an on-trend top, that boosts your self-confidence.  Guys, nice slacks and a great sweater will work wonders in those stores.

Download an upbeat playlist. Outsmart the shops blasting “Jingle Bell Rock” by donning your earbuds and listening to songs with a beat faster than your resting heart rate, which is, on average, about 70 beats a minute. Those tunes will keep you moving quickly and efficiently through the stores.

Get dibs on discounts. Before you leave the house, download the free apps offered by your favorite retailers or check out their websites for announcements, coupons, and the latest information on sales. Smartphone users can use the no-cost app ScanLife to scan a product’s barcode and find out which local or online establishment has the best price.

Head out solo. So just say no to a shopping companion today. You can share deals with friends by using the free My Shopping Circle app, which notifies them about sales you see (and vice versa).

9:30 AM

Stop at the bank… Curb impulse buys by leaving your credit cards at home.  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.

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.  

1:00 PM

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.)

2:00 PM

Perk yourself up. A few hours trolling the mall can get anyone down.  So treat yourself to an inexpensive manicure at a salon or a free chair massage at Brookstone.

Skip lines. When possible, pay for your purchases in less crowded areas of the store, like the men’s-underwear or home-furnishings department.

Steer clear of attractive salespeople. You’re more likely to buy something from a sales associate who is easy on the eyes.

Get in, get out. The longer you listen to a sales pitch, the more likely you are to hand over the cash.

6:00 PM

Multitask at dinner. Meet your spouse or friends for dinner at a restaurant that offers gift-card freebies, like T.G.I. Friday’s. At that chain, you can buy your college-age son or a friend a $50 gift card for the holidays and get a $10 credit to apply toward your dinner then and there.

8:00 PM

Back at home, search for discount codes. Look for your favorite e-tailers at freeshipping.org, retailmenot.com, and couponcabin.com to see if free shipping or other discounts are available. Or simply shop the clothing-and-accessories sites zappos.com and piperlime.gap.com —they never charge for domestic shipping.

Cash in your rewards. Assess which credit-card partnerships and rewards programs you are eligible for. Consider using points to buy gift cards or make online purchases through the card’s rewards site.

Buy toys online. Instead of scouring the often ransacked shelves of big-box retailers, such as Target and Toys“R”Us, head to their websites. Bonus: At this time of year, you can often land free shipping with a purchase over a certain amount.

Be a little sneaky. “Just as you’re about to finalize an online purchase, cancel the order.  If you’ve previously shopped the site, the merchant should have your e-mail address, and you may get a message within minutes touting a discount code. Or contact a site’s live-chat associate and ask for a discount.

All done! Now kick back with a glass of your favorite something.

We wish you and yours a fabulous and happy Holiday season.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us.