by Edie Mindell

You have your baby's first birthday gift shopping list penned, now it's time to check it twice! The list is only the starting point. Even with a list in hand you are unprepared to navigate the shopping land mine. The next step for seasoned shoppers is research. You know what your toddler wants, but it is easy to become distracted by other gifts that are just too cute. If you have created your list with care then the treasure chest, easy bake oven and red wagon will be just the right stuff.

Research begins with sale advertisements. Get your hands on as many of those sale circulars as you can and begin to read. Find out what is on sale; amend your list if necessary. A word of caution here: don't let a good sale draw you off target.

Holiday Shopping Diva Secret: Hold the course

If your list is complete, and each child on it is well supplied with gifts to fulfill their birthday fantasies don't be tempted to add to it. At a certain point one more gift becomes gluttony. I had a friend who made this her mistake. She just could not pass up the good deals. Sometimes, the children have so much to open they got bored, asked when they could be finished and eventually they simply stopped opening gifts. Abandoning wrapped packages, they went off to play.

The unopened gifts were scooped back into hiding and made their debuts for birthdays the following year. Some even survived a yearlong hibernation to re-emerge the following year. My friend confided in me that she even had more gifts than what she and her husband had chosen. They had already decided they had gone way over board and never even brought some gifts out.

Holiday Shopping Diva Secret: Research-based choices

As you research, you will find many good deals. Carefully decide if it is the deal or the gift that is too good to pass up. If the gift itself is perfect, then adjust your list substituting appropriately. This is one advantage to doing the research before you begin shopping. Your list becomes the super list! You will know that not only are you getting the best possible toys for your baby, toddler or teen, but that you are also getting amazing deals.

After you have combed the sale ads and you know where your best deals are, arrange your list in some sort of priority pattern. If the Radio Flyer wagon is the most important item, then you had better put it at the top. If saving money is your number one goal then the priority list needs to be arranged by the best deals.

To further boost success you can group items together by location. This prevents the need for second trips because you forgot something. It could happen in the excitement of scoring that coveted train table for Joshua, that you forget the baby cradle for Lucy. This means you'll have to go back to the same store again.

Saving time and money can be done effortlessly with an intention to do so, in a fun manner and easy manner. After all, buying birthday presents should be fun for the gift-buyer, too. - 39969

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