Natalie Matthews, Glamour magazine
Seeing that we're officially at the peak of the most dangerous and dreaded time of year for avid shoppers like me- the holidays, where every store seems like a minefield just waiting to obliterate my wallet- I thought it'd be a good time to turn a shopping expert for a few tips on making it to the homestretch. With both armfuls of presents and a wallet that still has some cash left in it (turns out it's actually possible).
Stylist-to-the-stars Phillip Bloch wrote the book on smart shopping. Not being literal here: He just came out with a tome titled The Shopping Diet, and it's a thorough, detailed, and totally realistic guide to reigning in your spending habits. Phillip's shop 'n' save plan of attack is two-fold (we told you he's the expert!). First, the big ideas:
Start planning early
We know, this seems like the most obvious one, but according to Phillip, it makes a world of difference. "I know, I sound like your grandmother or aunt saying this, but plan ahead! I started in November!" He also keeps sticky notes around his house to ensure he never forgets a person worth gifting, or a gift idea for a particularly tricky person.
Set a budget before you start shopping
Again, we're not trying to be Captain Obvious, but if you troll shopping sites little by little, picking up gifts here and there but with no specific budget in mind, you're danger of losing track of the number entirely. "Set a price limit price limit per person and a price limit overall," Phillip says.
Buy small gifts in bulk throughout the year
"I went into Marc by Marc Jacobs once and they we're having a huge sale. I must've grabbed a dozen lipstick shaped pens for my friends," says Phillip, noting that the more versatile a gift is, the more thankful you'll be to have it as a backup gift option during the holiday crunch.
But for those of you who haven't started planning at all yet, never fear. Phillip's also full of super helpful nitty-gritty tips on how to navigate the next couple weeks:
Be wary of online shopping
Sure, it can seem awfully convenient, but "shipping charges are where you really get nailed," Phillip says. "And make sure you ask as many questions as possible. Does the store do free gift wrapping? Will they ship the item to the store, so you can then pick it up there for free (like LLBean and JCPenney)? And always, always ask about return policies!"
Give gift cards a chance
They may not be the most personal gift, but sometimes a practical gift card is way more appreciated. " I love them," Phillip says, adding that he not only gives them all the time, but also requests them in lieu of flowers as a thank you gift.
"Of course! If I get something don't like but think 'Wow, Gloria would love this' I put it in a box with a sticky note that says 'Christmas, Gloria.'" The only danger? "Just be careful who you got the gift from originally!"
So what do you think, dolls? How's your holiday shopping going? And will you be using any of Phillip's tips in the upcoming weeks? If not, what are your favorite wallet-friendly holiday shopping secrets?
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Photo Credit: Condé Nast Digital Studio