Are you worried about doing your Christmas shopping on a tight budget this year? You are not alone and as you go out to start your shopping follow my tips and you will not leave your wallet empty or have enormous after Christmas credit card bills. The key to remember is that you are not the only one having a rough time this Christmas so don’t overdue it. Below are my Christmas shopping tips and my list to show you where I saved. Did I mention, I told many of the recipients my plans for gifts and they are more excited about what they are getting this year! My Mom told me although she always appreciates whatever I give, this year it is something she truly wants!
Tip#1 Remember you are not the only one struggling. Wonder how you are going to get your dear brother something? He may be wondering the same thing. Here is what I did. I called my brother and when he asked what to get the kids, I gave him an idea of a $11 game for them! A gift they can share since they have to play it together anyway. I think he is going to pick them up an outfit too but I would assume he is spending less than $30 on us as I told him NO gifts for the adults since we have kids. On the other hand, he does not have kids so instead of going out and buying him some silly gift package that he would not want anyway, I am getting him a gift card to Red Lobster. I could have gotten him a gift card to Wal-Mart but I think the food gift card lets him go out to eat without feeling guilty spending the extra money!
Tip#2 Make a List!- Before you even think about Christmas shopping, make a list of everyone you want to buy for and put the price that you can afford for their gift to their name. Just like Santa, check your list twice and make sure you did not leave anyone out. Tally up your $ amount and make sure it is within your budget. If you can not afford it, don’t do it. There is nothing worse than getting a gift and feeling guilty that the person who got it for you could not afford it. Do NOT sway from your list. I find this to be one of my biggest problems, I always think they need something else or I say but that is on sale. You have to stick to your list or you will end up buying extra stuff and or junk.
Tip#3 STAY away from the sales! I do not mean to pay full price, I mean to not let the sale pull you in! There are a million and one sales going on right now and 50-70% off just sounds like to good of a deal to pass up, doesn’t it? Well, if the MSRP on your item is $49.99 and the sale is for 50% off today only, who could pass this up? What I have found is that if I shop around, no one sells it for the MSRP so my deal of $24.99 is the same price that the store down the street sells it for on a daily basis. Not to mention, if I get sucked in for that sale, how many more things will I purchase once inside. Use your list that you have created and only buy what is on the list. If you get sucked into the sales, you will find yourself with extra ‘gifts’ like bath gift sets for many months to come. Don’t waste your money on things they don’t want and that you do not really want to give. Forget the bad gift giving and buy things they really want by making a list. If it is a hard person to buy for but you want to buy them something, choose a nice gift card to a restaurant.
Tip #4 PLAN Ahead, WAY ahead! – Buy gifts throughout the year on clearance. Make your list in January for the next year. Obviously something could happen but usually you will buy for your kids, Mom, Dad, etc. Pre-plan what clothes your kids will need, especially shoes. My mom buys my husbands gifts for the next year right after Christmas because she knows she will buy him a shirt! I knew my kids would be ready for big kid bikes soon so I bought helmets that were going out of style (who cares for a 2 and 3 year old!) for $5 each with the regular price $22! I also bought several winter pieces at the start of the summer (obviously in a bigger size ) I bought shoes during the summer that are 2 sizes to big for them, or were then, they will fit by Christmas!
Tip #5 Take Advantage of the INTERNET! Shop online and save even more. Most stores offer free shipping on certain purchases or purchases over a certain amount. Just be careful not to add unneeded items to your list just to make the free shipping! Many stores have daily online deals and you can even do a Google search to find online coupons savings for many stores! Big retailers even offer options that let you save on shipping by picking up your items that you ordered on line, at the store. This option works great to get items your local store may not carry but they have in other stores or to get clearance specials. If you are a clearance shopper, you would not believe the amount of things that are on online clearance verses in the stores! It is like a gigantic candy store!
I had pictures done of my two kids in their Halloween costumes. I am using the pictures I got from the package ($70) as most gifts. I have told some of the recipients and they are so excited about this gift, so much more than any other ‘gift’ I picked up before!
Mom – 2 5×7 Photo’s from Halloween (No frames, she is too picky and she knows it! I already asked her and SHE picked up her own frames.) 3×5 connected frame for two pictures-don’t tell her, I had to surprise her a little! This was $3 at Wal-Mart and it is for her desk at work!
Dad- 2 5×7 Photo’s from Halloween with frames $3 each!
Grandma and Grandpa W. – 2 3×5 Frames Again $3 each. I am also sending them some chocolate that I got on sale with a buy get one free coupon! $3 !
Grandma and Grandpa R-2 5×7 and a collage frame $8 for all 3. Chocolate as well!
Stepdaughter(20’s)- Collage frame with pictures $5
Brother-Used Xbox game from Game stop $20 (He suggested this!)
Brother & Girlfriend- $25 Red Lobster Gift certificate & 3×5 frames!
Daycare Secret Santa-1/2 off littlest pet shop set $5, Music box $5
Daycare kids $10 each Wal-mart
Husband-EBay-New Cell phone (used) $65 with blue tooth $35
That’s it! Anyone else may get some yummy home made cookies. I used to send flowers and my Grandma would tell me how pretty they were but how fast they were gone. I finally got the hint not to waste the money. At this point in their lives, most of my family just want to see my kids and us so what better way than nice pictures. They even commented on how it was nice to FINALLY get pictures! See, what is the point in Grandma sending us money if we turn around and send it back on a gift that YOU know Grandma does not really want anyway! Next time you think about buying a gift set think if you are buying it for you or for them. Most likely you are buying it to make you feel better that you did buy them something. In the end why not offer up your time to baby-sit or help them with something they need done. I would rather get a ‘free babysitting’ certificate in my Christmas card than a silly bath set any day of the week! Think before you buy and Merry Christmas!