8 Science-Approved Ways To Make Your Holiday Shopping Stress-Free

With the crazy crowds, Christmas may be the worst time to go out and buy things. But with a bit of strategizing, you can outsmart the many hurdles that come with the gift-giving season.

Christmas is the season of giving, which means it’s also the time for major spending. As early as now we’re already experiencing an increase in foot traffic in the malls, an air of panic in commercial centers, and festivities in bazaars tents and night markets. And you? Of course, you can’t wait to jump on the fun and wave your hard-earned Christmas bonus in the air!

Now, if only it were that easy. To say that shopping during the holidays poses a bit of a challenge is an understatement. Getting around feels like an obstacle race with all the traffic and human hurdles you encounter along the way. It’s like the entire Philippine population is following you wherever you go.

Read: (Holiday Habits You Have To Break To Save More This Season)

Yes, Christmas shopping is perhaps the worst kind of shopping. But it’s not like there’s nothing you can do about it. With a bit of science (aka careful planning), you can easily surpass the challenges that come with the holidays and become the best Christmas shopper ever. Here’s how.

1. Outsmart the crowds. The closer Christmas Day is, the higher the volume of people that swarm the malls and supermarkets. Make a list of all the things to buy and start on them as early as you can. Like, now. We’re only less than a hundred days away from the big day, anyway.

2. Do your research. It’s not like holiday deals are top-secret. Scour the internet for promos, discounts, and sale announcements. Some pre-Christmas bazaars are actually held as early as August. Now don’t you feel bad, it’s not yet too late.

3. Shop early, shop late. Avoid the ocean of shoppers by scheduling your shopping during the malls’ opening or near closing hours. The lesser the people, the better opportunity to check out stalls and items.

Read: (Online Shopping Tips: Your Guide to Savings and Security)

4. Eat a nice breakfast, and wear your favorite clothes. It’s about satisfaction and comfort. And boosting your self-esteem. In 2013, American psychology professor Tim Kasser did a series of experiments for a journal called Motivation and Emotion and found out that insecurity makes you feel more prone to buying more things. The more you feel good about yourself, the less you’re likely to go over-budget.

5. Do it alone. Herd mentality means it’s easy for humans to be influenced by their peers, according to social psychology. By going on a solo shopping spree, you won’t only save time spent on waiting on your buddies, you’ll be on top of your purchases too.

6. Put your workout playlist on. Ever wonder why they play mellow songs like “White Christmas” on repeat at the malls? Turns out it’s more than just to make you feel Christmas-y and all. Consumer psychologists say slow music changes people’s perception of time: It’s meant to slow you down. And what happens when you spend a long time shopping? You guessed that one right.

7. Start with the little things. Buying expensive stuff first messes your brain’s ability to judge what a good price is, says American psychology professor Scott Huettel. This causes you to splurge on items that are secretly expensive. When in doubt, channel your inner cheapskate first.

8. Christmas Lanes can be tricky. The MMDA says traffic volume in the cities increases by 15 to 20 percent during the holidays. To address this, they’ve devised 17 Christmas Lanes this year to prevent congestion on the major highways. However, these Christmas lanes have been getting a bad rap in the past years, with people complaining about their inefficiency. It’s still best to use apps like Waze for easier navigation.

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