• There are many struggles we encounter when doing last minute holiday shopping. From standing in queues that seem to be never-ending to struggling to find certain items in stock or simply forgetting to buy ingredients for our meal plan.

    In order to make your shopping experience hassle-free, here are a few tips to bear in mind:

    • Have a budget and stick to it

    It’s normal to want to go on a shopping spree around this time. An effective way to make your shopping a ‘breeze’ is to plan ahead. Put together a plan of action before you go out shopping, as a precaution, set a budget for yourself. Think about how much money you are willing to spend on groceries, gifts and festive decorations, and keep a sharp eye out for discounted goods.

    • Shop online

    Shopping online makes life so much simpler and helps to avoid long queues. It’s as easy as selecting the items you want to buy, adding them to your imaginary cart and paying for those items. You could even have them delivered to your doorstep! If the store you’re shopping from doesn’t do deliveries, you could always pick it up at the store. This leaves you with enough time to run any other errands.

    • Know when to shop

    Shops are normally fuller over the weekend so try to stay away from doing your shopping on a Saturday and Sunday. If you’re able to, visit the stores during the week and during off-peak hours, preferably in the morning and just after lunchtime. Shopping centres often extend their hours leading up to Christmas so you’ll have more time to shop around.

    • Take a day off

    An advantage of taking a day off is that you can shop while everyone else is still at work.  The best deals are often advertised around this time. If you start your shopping early, chances are there will be fewer people shopping at the same time. It will also give you ample time to get everything you need on your shopping list and even room to change your mind without waiting for assistance or in long queues.

    • Don’t drive during peak traffic times

    Avoid driving through the rush hour period (generally from 6am – 10am and 4pm – 8pm). If a friend will be heading to the store or shopping centre you’re interested in, you can always ask them to get your items for you as a favour. This puts less pressure on you to drive to the stores yourself.

    • Enjoy yourself!

    The key to a hassle-free shopping experience is to enjoy it. Don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle and savour every moment. Remember that you are shopping to create lasting memories for your loved ones.

    If you find yourself making occasional trips to the store this season, make sure you have car insurance. This assures you that if you’re in an accident this festive season, you can have the peace of mind that your insurance company will sort everything out for you.

    Imka Webb

    Imka Webb is a freelance digital marketing expert and the digital editor of Food & Home Entertaining magazine.  www.imkawebb.com