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Christmas Shopping In Jamaica - 11 Awesome Tips

by Deon Clarke | Associate Writer


'Tis the season to be jolly! What am I talking about? You guessed it – Christmas of course! This is my absolute happiest time of the year! While we acknowledge the true meaning of Christmas by commemorating the birth of Jesus, there are a whole bunch of other things we do here in Jamaica including Christmas Shopping. We love to shop and at this time of year, even more so – from paints to give the house a little touch up to extra groceries, clothing, gifts, you name it, we’ll be shopping.

It is very important however that during this season, you take extra precautions when you shop. There are just so many things that could go wrong. So here are some amazing tips to help you along:
  1. Make A Shopping List – It’s a good idea to write down the list of people you are planning to buy gifts for and the possible gift items (maximum of 3 choices) for each. Carefully consider who you want on this list. You could start with family, then friends, then anyone else.

    It’s also a great idea to make a list of your shopping items such as groceries and other items that you may need so you won’t forget – last minute shopping can be a hassle.

  2. Budget - Set A Limit For Spending - Make a budget and stick to it. It’s very easy to feel guilty when it comes to spending during the holidays. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you which will lead to overspending on gifts or other items.

  3. Make Debit/Cash Payments – You will be happy and thankful in January when you don’t have Christmas debts to repay. Using credit cards for your gifts and other items is the easiest way to land you in debt and go over your budget. An extra dollar here or there may seem insignificant initially but it quickly adds up and before you know it you have lost track of the amount you have spent and on whom or what.

    If you really need to use your credit card, make use of the Christmas deals and specials on the card, like discounts at particular stores and make sure you have a plan to repay what you have spent. Don't spend more than you will be able to pay back.

    If possible, put all the money you plan to spend for Christmas in a separate account and check it throughout your shopping trip to be mindful of what you have spent so far and how much is left. Spending from what you already have will help you stick to the budget – when it’s done it’s done. Don’t take large amounts of cash with you, only what you need.

  4. Be Careful When/Where You Use Your Card – While it’s fun to do your Christmas shopping, be careful to note where you shop with your card and who uses your card. Make sure your card is in sight at all times when processing transactions at stores. Don’t allow anyone to take your cad around the back. Also, take special care when you use ATMs. You will save yourself a lot of headaches from card skimmers and fraudsters, always check the machines for signs of tampering.

  5. Shop With Maximum Two People – While it may be fun to shop with all your friends or family, if you want to save or stick to your budget, it’s best to shop with a limited group. Shopping with a larger group encourages going over your budget. It’s easy to get distracted or tempted when a friend says “this would look great on you” or “buy this one instead”.

    Ensure the persons in your group know what's on your list and what your budget is. This is the perfect situation for an accountability partner. Sometimes you need someone to remind you of your budget and your financial goals for the coming year. You will need someone to help you with the bags though so bring someone along!

  6. Shop Early – Don’t wait until Grand Market night to do all your Christmas shopping. This could really be a hassle and might just not get what you want or the best quality. Try to do the shopping over a couple of days and not just one day. This way you can keep track of your spending, you won't get caught in the rush and you won't have to struggle with countless bags and spend hours finding parking.

  7. Shop At Discount Stores - Everyone loves a good deal. Shop at stores where you know you are more likely to get discounts to make the most out of your holiday budget.

  8. Utilize Online Shopping - Sometimes it's best to just stay home and let the packages come to you. If not Online shopping, then at the very least, curbside pickup. You may not have to do this for every item but at least having some things delivered will save you a lot of time.

  9. Don’t Get Crazy With The Kids – You know the kids, they want every toy in the store. But how many can they play with at once – only one, right? It’s easy to get distracted with the kids and their many wants but you could try to limit them to a maximum of four gifts – something they need, something they want, something to wear, and something to read.

  10. Beware Of Thieves – Be on the alert. Though this is the season for good cheer, it is also the season for thieves and pick-pockets. They will be everywhere waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike and take what they have not earned. Avoid lonely areas to park or use ATMs.

    Be conscious of your surroundings to determine if you are being followed. Make sure all your car windows are completely wound up and doors are closed. Don’t leave your valuables visible on the seats. It’s also a great idea to keep your house lights on. This could deter thieves.

  11. Beware Of Social Media Posts - DON’T broadcast your whereabouts on Social Media. This will give the thieves a perfect opportunity to do their own shopping in your homes! No one needs to know that you are not at home.
Christmas shopping can be filled with a lot of stress but you can be sure that shopping early and on a budget and paying in cash will certainly reduce the stress. You will be sure to appreciate this when January comes! And remember to take all the necessary safety precautions. Happy Shopping!

I also recommend you read, Christmas In Jamaica | 12 Must-Haves At A Jamaican Christmas Dinner.

Regards,
DC

References:
  • Christmas Shopping On A Budget - 9 Easy Tips - Get Out of Debt, Save More Money, and Retire Early, https://scottalanturner.com/christmas-shopping-on-a-budget/
  • Some tips to keep you safe this Christmas, Jamaica Gleaner, https://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20161111/some-tips-keep-you-safe-christmas
  • Courts Jamaica - Safety tips for Christmas Shopping: - Be…, Courts, https://m.facebook.com/courtsjamaica/posts/383693661720516/

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A patriotic Jamaican who adore its culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' since April 2007.  

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