It’s no secret the holidays can leave a lot of us — and our wallets — feeling drained. Hitting all the people on our gifting lists without overspending is the ultimate goal, but it never seems to quite work out that way. And with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the pressure to shop smart can be overwhelming.

A woman takes a break while shopping

So to ease a bit of your holiday angst, we reached out to the experts at some of our favorite retailers, Shopbop and T.J. Maxx, to get their tips. Ahead, helpful hints on how you should tackle the biggest shopping days of the year.

A woman pays a bill online

Tips for Shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

1. Get your head in the game. According to Caroline Maguire, Fashion Director at Shopbop, “Always start your shopping with a clear mind. First make a list of things you absolutely need (basic tees, denim, hosiery, undergarments, basic knits), then go in for all things emotional. If you approach it this way you won’t feel so guilty — you’ll end up with things you actually need and will top it off with all the fun, new eye-candy pieces.”

2. Come in with an open mind. Jillian Rugani, Manager of Marketing at T.J. Maxx, says, “Our wide range of merchandise creates that ‘treasure hunt’ shopping experience that our customers love. So while we know many shoppers love to make lists of what they’re looking for, we recommend coming in with an open mind.”

3. Try preparing a list — if you can. “Having a list of your favorite items is always helpful and saves time,” says Maguire. “When shopping on Shopbop, it’s about hearting your favorite items or adding them to your wish list. That way, the day of, you can easily purchase and be on your way.”

4. Visit more than one location (for off-price retailers). “No two T.J.Maxx stores are the same, and the average store receives several deliveries per week, with each delivery containing literally thousands of items,” says Rugani. “So check out our stores regularly — we guarantee that you’ll find something new every time you visit.”

5. Know when to walk away. “It’s time to walk away when you are over-thinking something,” Maguire warns. “If you spend over five minutes on whether or not you should be buying the item, you’ve spent TOO LONG. It means you really don’t need it in your life.”

6. If you love it, you might want to just grab it. According to Rugani, this should be your off-price strategy. “T.J.Maxx buyers are always hunting… and we don’t hold replenishment stock in our back rooms. So if something catches your eye, seize the opportunity to grab it!”

7. Be smart about shopping, but have fun! “Buy your essentials but don’t forget to experiment with fun trends,” says Maguire. “Don’t be afraid to add some new colors and styles into your wardrobe. This way, you won’t feel deprived.”

8.Check the website too. “Customers can also shop T.J.Maxx online at,” reminds Rugani. “Like our stores, there is a rapidly changing selection. And on Black Friday, customers can enjoy free shipping on all orders.” Check store websites on the days leading up to major discount holidays so you have a sense of the selection and know what you want. Set up alerts on products you covet so you can sit back and let the deals come to you.

9. Wear tight layers. If you’re heading out to score fall or winter fashion essentials and find yourself in need of a dressing room, preplan by outfitting yourself in tight layers like stretch pants and a cami to maximize your time in the dressing room and minimize the hassle of pulling clothes on and off. Adopt this same strategy if you’re hitting up seasonal sample sales that don’t offer private rooms. (Eep!)

10. Add to cart and then edit. On Cyber Monday, there’s nothing worse than spotting the perfect buy and revisiting it later only to find that it’s already sold out (sad face emoji). Add the item to your cart right away, and then edit later. Time is of the essence when you’re trying to snag a good steal.

Good luck out there!

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(Photos via Getty)