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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How I Save Money on Christmas Gifts

Something for the kids | Carolyne Roehm

Yes, you are reading this correctly...I am writing about Christmas mid-October. But, now is the best time to share my information with you...why? Because now is the time to start planning for your Christmas gifts for friends and family.

The key to saving money on Christmas is PLANNING. 

Instead of putting yourself into debt or spending an extraordinary amount of money between November and December, start planning now. Buy one or two gifts with each paycheck so the cost of the gifts are spread out over a few months. This is how I do it and it's very effective. It also allows you to take advantage of sales early. Now, I know that sales for Black Friday and such are good, but retailers often raise prices of their inventory in order to discount them a lot for the holidays. By purchasing something that's on sale from the normal price instead of the jacked up regular price discounted to a "sale" price, you are saving money.

Does that even make sense?

Let me also say that some things like electronics and movies/games ARE cheaper after Black Friday. So, do your research and know what the normal retail price is so you can gauge whether or not you are actually getting a deal. 

For example, it's mid-October and I'm finished shopping for my mother, my mother-in-law, my father and M. I still have a few gifts to get but I can do so over time...avoiding a financial burden right around the holidays.

Now, please don't get preachy on me about gifts and the true meaning of Christmas. I know what the real meaning of Christmas is, thankyouverymuch, and I know that Christmas presents have nothing to do the original meaning of Christmas. HOWEVER, unless your entire family puts the kabosh on gift-giving (which mine does not) you give gifts. And if I'm going to give gifts I want them to be good gifts that are in my budget. End rant.

What if I don't know what to get someone so early before Christmas? (this is a frequent question I hear) Well, there are some people...I'm looking at you, sister...who are difficult to shop for and don't make up their mind on what they want until later in the year near Christmas. I just plan for her those people accordingly and get the gifts that I DO know or have planned out beforehand. I had a good idea of what I wanted to get my mother and mother-in-law, so when a store put the items on sale, I scooped some up. The other thing I do is keep a note on my phone of gift ideas for other people or things they mention they'd like in passing. Even if it's February...keeping that list helps to jog your memory when it comes to gift purchasing time. I know my father-in-law will probably want a gift card to a store he goes to all the time...so I get that early too. By knocking the "known" gifts out of the way, you can focus your time, efforts and budget on those "unknowns" closer to Christmas.

Really, the key in all of this is planning, planning, planning. The more you can purchase ahead of November, the better. Also, do not even hesitate to purchase online. I buy Christmas gifts for my friends and family almost exclusively through online shopping and you can score some great deals. The beauty of online shopping is that you may find an item cheaper on a site like Amazon than in the original retail store. (Example: A Columbia fleece is cheaper on Amazon than it may be at the Columbia store or Columbia website.)

I'm happy to offer more advice if you're interested. This is what works for me and my budget so maybe it could work for yours too?

5 comments:

  1. I set a small amount aside every month so that I have money for Christmas gifts at the end of the year. I also use my extra paycheck in the fall (my monthly budget is based off of 4 pay checks per month, but there's an extra 5th paycheck every quarter) toward Christmas purchases. I was just able to take advantage of some Columbus Day sales and coupons because I already had money to cover the cost. :)

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  2. I'm lucky that I only have to buy for 5 people each year. However, I'm with you on good gifts. Last year, a certain brother gave everyone the same lame tacky electronic picture frame. Way to put thought into it, was my first thought. Whomp Whomp.

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  3. Yes yes yes! We don't have a lot to buy for, but I really love being on the ball and spreading it out. It makes it much easier and less stressful.

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  4. my dad uses an app to track gift ideas and gift purchases. Maybe something like that would also help you?

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