As the holidays are rapidly approaching, it is most definitely time to start thinking about purchasing gifts. Here are some of my favorite strategies for buying gifts this holiday season:
Step 1 – Determine Your Overall Budget: The first question you should ask yourself is how much total do you want (or can you afford) to spend? You figure this out by first establishing an overall budget. When figuring out your gift budget, don’t forget to 1st include any extra items that aren’t typically in your monthly budget. These include buying holiday decor, extra food for parties, etc. Don’t forget these, because they are going to automatically reduce your monthly income that you have to work with this season. People typically have many more expenses during the holiday months, so don’t forget to account for these! Also, don’t forget additional travel costs, which can be a big budget buster (gas, hotels, extra food at restaurants while out on the road, etc).
Step 2 – Determine How Many Gifts You Need To Buy: Once you have the total amount you can spend on gifts, then you should determine how many people and how many gifts you should buy. Obviously, the tighter budget you have, the less gifts you should buy. This will help you figure out who all will be included on your shopping list. Don’t forget about teachers, coaches, school bus drivers, etc. when determining your overall budget, if you are going to get them a gift. If it isn’t in your budget, which is completely fine, a simple thank you and a quick note works great too. You by no means have to buy everyone something, but if you are willing and able, then don’t forget to include them in your overall headcount. You don’t want to suddenly remember someone at the last minute when you don’t have any more gift money.
Need to cut your budget? Identify gifts that you can make versus buy (have your child make an art craft, make cookies or some other type of dessert, etc). I know lots of people who would much rather have a handmade gift, versus something store bought. There are so many adorable craft ideas on Pinterest right now. Check out my page HERE for some ideas and inspiration.
Step 3 – Keep Track Of What You Buy: Assign a small book or sheet that stays with you in your bag. You can also just use your phone, if you prefer. In this book, write down everybody that you need a gift for, as well as the budgeted amount for each person. As soon as your buy something, write it down under their name, as well as what you spent. You will always know who already has a gift, and who you still need to buy for. It will also help you keep better track of your shopping, so you don’t accidentally buy multiple gifts for one person, or go over budget.
Step 4 – Start Planning As Early As Possible: The earlier you do this, the more you can take advantage of sales and spread the costs out over multiple months. Nowadays, most stores run tons of sales throughout the year, and not just during the holiday season. The more you plan ahead, the more you can take advantage of these savings opportunities!
That is it for now. What gift buying strategies do you have? Please let us know, because we would love for you to share! Thanks, and Happy Gift Buying!