Where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday it was 90+ degrees out and we were all complaining about the sweltering heat and our astronomical electric bills. We are only 52 days away from Christmas! Are we all ready? Probably not so I am here to help you get organized and develop a master plan and more importantly, STAY ON BUDGET!
Staying on budget can be very hard for many people, myself included. I love Christmas and I love buying presents. I am one of those people that literally gets giddy about Christmas. I don’t have any children and I always tend to go a bit overboard with spoiling my 4 nieces. I have a weak spot for them and it really shows at Christmas time. I just can’t help myself. Now I have a baby nephew which is so exciting for me and I want to buy him EVERYTHING!
My #1 rule for Christmas is to make a budget and stick to it. I DO NOT use credit cards. Truthfully, I don’t even own a credit card. I am a very firm believer of NOT financing Christmas with a credit card. I save money throughout the year for the purpose of my holiday shopping.
Here are my tips:
- Create a gift list/spreadsheet. I suggest the following:
- Budget Amount
- Gift Ideas
- Gifts Purchased
- Amount SpentThis will help you stay in budget, be organized and not forget a gift then end up shopping on Christmas Eve in the last minute crowds.
- Many of us Christmas shop throughout the year with clearance sales so go get all of your stashed presents out and start filling out the list you made in step 1 BEFORE you go shopping. You may already have tons of people knocked off the list or partially shopped for already.
- Consider family gifts for your extended family instead of individual gifts. Family night gift baskets are always a fantastic gift. You could do a game theme or maybe movie night.
- Instead of purchasing individual gifts for everyone in the extended family, consider drawing names. My family has done this for years for the adults and it works out very well for everyone. It is so much less stress to only have to buy 1 more expensive gift than 6 different cheaper gifts and it helps everyone save money too.
- Don’t feel obligated to buy everyone and their brother a present. I think too many people feel obligated to buy gifts and it really takes away from the meaning of Christmas and stresses everyone’s budget. I buy my close family presents, focusing on the kids and that is it. Have a talk with your friends and just simply agree not to exchange any presents. Your friends will probably be very relieved that you made the suggestion because let’s face it, many families are financially strapped right now.
- Consider a homemade gift. If you and your neighbor are friends and you would like to do something nice for them maybe make them cookies or your famous fudge or have them over for dinner one evening.
- When buying gifts I really try to focus on needs and NOT wants. I always buy my nieces 1 fun gift such as a Polly Pocket or Barbie then the rest of their gifts are educational based and things they really need like new clothes or shoes. Luckily for me my nieces love clothes just as much as I do so they are thrilled with new outfits.
- Don’t forget to raid your stockpile if you have one. I have so many personal care items in mine that I could easily toss together some killer gift baskets in a snap for my friends, family, school teachers or the dreaded exchange gift for work.
- Most importantly, there is NO reason to pay full price for anything on your present list. I guarantee you unless you are buying something off the wall like a real live exotic monkey, it will go on sale and don’t jump on the first sale either. Do price comparisons to all of the stores and online too.
- If you are buying any electronics over $50, research on the internet is an absolute must. Just because the store tells you it is an awesome deal does not mean that it really is. Do your price comparisons and even more importantly check out consumer reviews online.
- If you are buying a TV learn about all of the different features, lingo of TV specs are and decide what will suit your family best beforehand. You may get suckered into a lower end TV because you thought it was a good deal and not realize you just bought the lowest end TV that brand made if you are not educated on stuff such as refresh rates and Hertz.
Lastly, Look for this nifty button to alert you to HOT deals I have found for you. Any time you see it you can click it and it will take you to all of the Christmas on a Budget items.