By Aimee Heckel
It’s called the “paradox of choice.” And it inspired a book by psychologist Barry Schwartz by the same name.
Too many choices can greatly increase consumers’ stress.
This anxiety can surge even more for online shoppers, where you can quite literally find anything and everything and compare prices until long after Santa retires for his spring break.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure how to pick that perfect gift, consider the following guidelines.
1. Always start with a budget.
This automatically narrows down your selection. Decide how much you can afford to spend and stick to it. When searching shopping websites, filter by price, either with a max price or by lowest to highest, and shop only within your price range. It can be fun to daydream and get lost exploring the higher-end options, but don’t follow that rabbit hole too far; it’s also a major time-waster.
2. Make a list.
After all, that’s what Santa does.
Writing things down can help you focus and get a grip on what you need to do. Make a list of every person you need to buy a gift for. Make a separate page for people you might want to buy a gift for. Now, prioritize your list into tiers: A, B and C, with A being the most important or most urgent people. This might be your relatives that you’re visiting at Thanksgiving time, or your children.
Now, shop by priority. Instead of blasting out into the mall like a shotgun, hoping to find stuff for whomever, tackle your most important people first. When you feel satisfied with what you’ve bought for them, then and only then move on to your next tiers.
You will be amazed by how much more relieved and focused you feel by dividing up your purchases like this. Of course, stay flexible; if you find a great gift for someone on your C list early, by all means pick it up. But keep focused, and you will find the process goes much quicker.
3. Jot down ideas before you shop next to each name.
The following questions can help you come up with gift ideas:
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