How to Shop Smart for Kids During the Holidays: 9 Steps
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Online shopping saves you time.

Deck the aisles with cranky shoppers, fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la. Shopping for your kids during the holiday season isn't always a bowl of candy canes, but getting your act together before you break out the plastic saves you some hassle. Since most kids already have enough toys to stock their own private toy store, planning ahead helps you narrow down the search to find worthwhile presents that won't add to the clutter. And since your shopping budget likely dwindled when you had kids, smart shopping keeps the finances balanced so you don't have to serve ramen noodles at your holiday feast.


  1. 1
    Stop yourself from going overboard before you make any purchases by setting a spending limit. Put a number on it so you know where to stop, but don't take the limit as a challenge. You don't have to spend the full amount you set aside. Young kids especially won't know or care how much you actually spent on the presents under the tree.
  2. 2
    Sift through the mountains of toys your child already owns before you plan your holiday shopping list. Get rid of things he no longer uses. Not only do you get a quick inventory to know what to buy or not to buy, you also make room for all those new gifts he's sure to get.
  3. 3
    Chat with your child to see what he really wants. Look through toy catalogs or take a trip to the toy store before all the crazed shoppers are out for the season. You don't have to give him what he wants, but at least you get some guidance.
  4. 4
    Make a list and check it twice, just like the head elf himself. When you're wandering the toy aisles and throwing random items in the cart it's easy to go overboard. Decide ahead of time what you're buying. One way to do it is choose categories and buy one thing from each one. For example, buy your child something to wear, something to play with, something to read and one wild card item.
  5. 5
    Think beyond the latest gadget or the hot toy of the holiday season. It's easy to get caught up in the hype, especially if your child is hooked by the toy companies' advertising ploys. Instead, look for gifts with lasting value that won't break after a few hours of play. Look for sturdy construction and a good reputation when choosing gifts. Even if you pay a little more, you'll know the gift will hold up to your child's hard play.
  6. 6
    Hit the Internet to help you make smart gift-buying decisions. Reading consumer reviews online helps you narrow down the options or decide whether a particular brand is a good investment.
  7. 7
    Save yourself some mileage by comparison shopping online before you make your final purchase. Buying online can often save you money. Many major retailers offer shipping to the stores -- some for free so you save on shipping. Free shipping offers are also common during the holiday season.
  8. 8
    Whip out your smartphone to comparison shop if you see something at a store you want to buy. Download a phone app that lets you scan the bar code and check the product's price at several stores.
  9. 9
    Shop for next year at the end of the holiday season -- even if your holiday decorations haven't made it to the attic yet. Stores usually start marking toys and holiday items down at the end of the season. You can get perfectly good gifts at a discounted rate. Shopping throughout the year when you find deals is another way to spread out the cost of the holidays so your wallet doesn't take a hit every December.


  • Gifts like telescopes and art supplies stretch your child's brain, making them educational and fun.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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