Eight out of 10 people are shopping online regularly, according to Pew Research Center. Consumers who do go to the mall spend an average of two hours on a shopping trip, according to Journal of Shopping Center Research. So one thing we can safely say is shopping is central to our everyday lives. We can’t get around it. With that being said, how do we shop smart?

Courtney Kovacs, owner of Coko Concierge, uses her planning and organizational skills to help families, business professionals and companies “get stuff done.” She has been in business for two years this August and one of her focus areas includes seasonal services such as gift shopping.

We asked her to share some of her shopping tips.

Sometimes there is a misconception in society that we must have it all together—and do it all—with a smile. How does a concierge help?

“Clients can take a step back, see what can be taken off their plate and give it to the concierge so they can enjoy their weekend,” Kovacs said. “My clients are the most thoughtful people on Earth but they don’t have time to do it all.”

Once you find a concierge, what is the first step in working together?

“We map out a ‘start’ list,” Kovacs said.

The list could simply be a piece of paper that has all the to-do’s included (post-its count too) or for those technically inclined, using apps. If clients are having a hard time figuring out what to prioritize, Kovacs asks the client what bothers them most, and then tells them, “That’s what you should hire me to do.”

Shopping for objects and experiences is usually included in the mix of things to do.

Time may begin to add up once you review a client’s list. What is one tip on how to be efficient with time?

“One tip that I have that is a timesaver for myself and the client is the Wunderlist app,” she said.

The app acts as an electronic to-do list that can be shared with others. It also helps with planning anything from a holiday to multiple work projects.

What time-saving tip do you have for shoppers braving the stores on their own?

“Handle your shopping during non-peak times,” Kovacs said. “I will go to the mall at 10 a.m., as soon as they open, but not at 11 a.m., when others start arriving there.”

How do you get in a “good mood” for shopping for others?

“I enjoy taking care of others, so that is my motivation. Plus, my clients are so grateful that (the shopping) is done,” Kovacs said.

As a concierge, do you have “go-to” stores that you work with for your shopping trips?

“My go-to place is City Art Works. They have beautiful, thoughtful gifts and they wrap your items. Plus, the associates are unbelievably helpful. The store carries a little bit of everything,” Kovacs said.

Other go-to places she suggested include:

For wine: Total Wine, Foxcroft Wine Co. or Dilworth Tasting Room.

For client gifts, Kovacs likes to include a gift card with the wine so they can try something new.

For a candle: City Art Works.

For something out of the box: Cotswold Marketplace. Kovacs says they have great gifts and artwork.

How do you thank your clients?

“I love to gift my clients flowers, cards, etc. to show my appreciation,” Kovacs said.

What is your signature gift to give to others?

“A set of monogrammed glasses from local Etsy seller Registry Less Traveled,” she said. “They are masculine and sexy. They can be given for many occasions including an engagement or a birthday, etc. Everyone has loved them!”

Whether you are shopping on your own or plan on hiring a concierge to help, keep shopping smart at the top of your mind.

Photos: Ashim D’Silva, Courtney Kovacs, Clem Onojeghuo