It is never too early to get a jumpstart on holiday shopping. Give yourself time to shop around and check out all the different bargains that stores in Columbia and Fulton have to offer. By getting ahead of the game, you will not feel pressured to overspend on an item just because it is a last-minute purchase. However, even though the best of intentions are always in place, not all of us at The Callaway Bank are able to start as early as we want.

We compiled a list of our secret (or not so secret) tips to make the holiday shopping experience as jolly as possible.

1. Create a master list.

Make a list of all the people you plan on shopping for this season. Write exactly how much you are willing to spend, and what they might like. Remember to keep this list hidden from the people who are on it!

2. Pick one shopping destination.

Working from your list, pick one shopping destination that will allow you to shop for multiple people at once, and buy as much as you can there. This could be the Columbia Mall, historic downtown Fulton or The District in Columbia. If your shopping destinations are scattered around town, plan your route starting with the place farthest from home and work your way back. These tips will save you from the headache of traffic and help keep your gas costs low.

3. Use social media.

Many stores use Facebook and Twitter to update their customers on their latest deals. Sometimes they even offer special promotions to their fans and followers. We use our social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, to share local deals and offer tips to save money.

4. Be careful about bargains.

Sometimes stores create specials around larger purchases. It might be a “buy one get one free” deal, or the store will take off a percentage once you spend a certain amount. Watch out for those offers if you don’t need the extra items.

5. Do your research.

Some sales are only offered between specific times. Be sure to know what time the store opens and closes, and when you need to be there to get the sales you want.

These little tricks help get us through the season without the stress or headaches of shopping. That way, we are able to focus our time on our families, which is what the season is really about. Do you have any tips for holiday shopping that keep you sane and allow you to enjoy time with family and friends?