This week, I'll be doing a series of posts to help jumpstart your Christmas shopping. I know, I know.....it seems too early to start thinking about Christmas. But if you start now, you will you save yourself a lot of money, time and stress when December rolls around.
Make a List: Just like Santa, you need to make a list of everyone you will be shopping for this holiday season. Once you have made your list, STICK TO IT! Keep a few generic gifts on hand, so that if you feel the need to reciprocate on an unexpected gift, you won't have to run out and spend full price on something.
Make a Budget: Set your overall Christmas budget and then break it down by each person on your list. Determine if your budget is before or after discounts. For example, your budget for Aunt Sally is $30. Are you hoping to spend $10 on a $30 gift by using your mad bargaining hunting skills or are you planning on spending $30 for a $60 gift? Just like your shopping list, once you have determined your budget....STICK TO IT!
Shop at Home: Time to clean out your gift closet (if you have one) or round up all those little things you have been stashing away since last Christmas. Know what you already have on hand and determine who those gifts are for. Plug that information into your Christmas list, so you aren't tempted to go crazy on gifts for your nephew at the upcoming Target toy clearance, even though you already have a closet full of things for him.
Shop in your Wallet: I currently have 7 gift cards in my wallet that total over $150. Some of them are obviously ones I will use, but others have been hanging around for a while and would be much better suited to someone on my Christmas list. I've had a Sears gift card in there since last Christmas. Not that Sears doesn't have nice things, I just haven't been able to find anything I want to buy. But do I think I could find my dad a tool at Sears? Absolutely.
Check back all week for more tips on starting your Christmas shopping now to save money and time (and hopefully, your sanity!).