HOW TO SHOP LIKE A PRO

Suzy Gershman suggests: 1.Make a budget. List all giftees, dividing them into three categories (family, friends, children). Assign a dollar amount or a spending range to each category, then round it up by 10 percent to allow for taxes and extras.

2.Shop for toys as soon as possible - they sell out fast.

3.Discover a great $5-8 present and stock up. (Disposable cameras, for example.) Give them to school teachers, office mates, and casual friends.

4.Don't go crazy looking for that impossible gift. Rely on a goof-proof standby: gift certificates.

5.Avoid the traditional holiday guessing game: Ask family members and friends for a list of gift suggestions.

6.When ordering by catalog, make sure you have delivery guaranteed in time. Many companies have retail stores - try to look at the merchandise in person. What it looks like in the picture is often not what it looks like in real life. -30-{et

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