1. Deals Abound, Even in Weird PlacesDig through the stores from top to bottom, taking no prisoners. Don't want housewares? Go into housewares anyway. In the shopping crush, people put things in weird places -- and they are often things that we need. This applies in particular to places like Marshall's and TJMaxx, which is often jumbled, no matter what. My favorite spots for picking up things in weird places include: 1) Kitchenware: Odds and ends and a convenient, usually shelved/cornered in a way that just invites people to dump things that they don't want to buy (or that they want to secretly save). 2) Shoe Department: I have found awesome hosiery and socks near the shoe section. These things just go together. 3) Interior Decorating: In the housewares, paintings, towels, and more, you can often find miscategorized items: mirrors in the paintings, a blanket in the towels, and more.
2. Do the Switcheroo MethodStart by shopping for others. Get those gifts you wanted for other people, maybe a few, and then get one for yourself, too. Switch on and off between the gifts you want for friends and family, and the gifts you want for yourself. Time will pass more quickly, and you will be more effective, too.
3. Don't Feel the Pressure
When December hits, many of us get frantic to buy a lot of gifts for a lot of people, and as fast as possible. Don't do this! Take your time, pace yourself, and consider how much you are spending on each thing you purchase -- that way, you'll have a bit of budget left over for what you need.
Consider using the cash/envelope method to keep an easily monitored budget. Plus, a little envelope marked "Me" feels much nicer to spend. If you don't find whatever you were shopping for, then you can always just transfer the cash you saved to another family member's envelope. At least you put in the effort to pick up something for yourself.
4. Go to Your Favorite SectionsIs there any reason why you should avoid lingerie, shoes, and perfume? I don't think so. There are things on your list that you will buy, sooner or later, and if you score a deal, this makes all the more sense. Be prudent and recognize that sometimes you have to bite the bullet.
5. Skip the Hints, Go for the Gold
Do you spend a lot of time hinting about a gift you want? Skip it. If you are on too strict of a budget to spend on yourself, at least bookmark the top places where you can pick things up. If you get gift cards, you can use them on the items you listed.
Don't just bookmark stuff on your browser. Instead, use fun ways to create wish lists, like on the actual store website, on Amazon, or on another bookmarking site of your choice.