3 Holiday Shopping Mistakes I Made This Year That You Can Still Avoid

3 Holiday Shopping Mistakes I Made This Year That You Can Still Avoid

A stressed person holds their clasped hands to their lips while sitting on the floor of an office.

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Worry not — you’re not doomed to follow my lead.


Key points

  • It’s not uncommon to mess up a bit in the course of holiday shopping.
  • While I made a few big blunders, you can keep these on your radar and steer clear.
  • Avoid buying items just because they’re on sale, be sure to shop around for a better deal, and take inventory at home before going shopping.

At this point, a lot of people are pretty much done with their holiday shopping. But if you’re not one of them, worry not. There’s still a decent amount of time to scoop up the holiday items you need.

Now I happen to be mostly done with my holiday shopping at this point. But I can’t really say that the past few weeks were a success for me. In fact, I made three major blunders that I’m kicking myself for just a little bit. And I’m sharing them in the hopes of helping others avoid following in my footsteps.

1. Buying things because they were on sale

I have to admit that this is something I do pretty much every year, even though I pledge not to — I buy things simply because they’re discounted. And what’s making me feel really bad about that is that this year, I bought a lot of those things for myself, not others.

Granted, I could always return those things I feel really guilty about buying (though I’ve opened some already, so that’s only a partial option). And thankfully, I can still afford to pay off my credit cards in full this month, so those extra purchases won’t be driving me into debt. But I feel like I should’ve exercised more self-control.

There were certain items I purchased for family members that I had every intention of buying from the start — meaning, they weren’t impulse purchases by any means. The only problem is, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on holiday shopping, so I wound up grabbing those items as soon as they went on sale. What I didn’t do was shop around to see about getting a better price.

Now to be fair, since I’m self-employed, the more time I spend researching deals on toys and apparel, the less opportunity I have to earn money. So by spending less time shopping around, I also bought myself more work time.

But there are a few items I purchased where I’ve already spotted a better price. And now, returning them will be a hassle, so I’ll probably just deal with having paid extra.

3. Not taking inventory at home first

A couple of the items I bought myself on impulse are very similar to items I already have. I purchased a warm, cozy, open sweater in a khaki color because I figured it would match almost everything I have. But after I tried it on, clipped off the tags, and went to find room for it in my closet, I realized I already had a similar sweater in almost the same color. Had I taken a few minutes to check out my clothing inventory first (I mean, my closet isn’t that big), I could’ve avoided that.

Meanwhile, I made the same error by purchasing gloves for my son that are similar to a pair he has. That’s not as big a mistake, though, because kids (at least mine) tend to lose their winter accessories. So this way, I have a backup pair of gloves.

We all make mistakes — in life and in the course of holiday shopping. But I’m sharing these blunders so that you can avoid making them and kicking yourself after the fact.

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