Is it Too Early to Start Shopping for Christmas Gifts?

Is it Too Early to Start Shopping for Christmas Gifts?

It’s hard to believe it, but Christmas is only about four months away! If you gauged its arrival off of what I’ve been seeing at our local Costco, it’s been getting close for the last month or two. While I think we go a bit overboard in regards to over-commercializing the Holiday season and buying Christmas gifts in particular, I do believe it can be done in wise fashion without breaking the bank.

Have You Budgeted for Your Shopping?

Not everyone is a fan of budgeting, but the thing I like about living with a budget is that we can plan for things that will be happening in the future and save for it in small increments. This is how we afford Christmas gifts for our friends and family. We pull out a set amount each month to go towards Christmas presents and once the time comes to buy gifts we use our credit card to make the purchases (so we can earn the rewards points) and pay it off with the saved cash. Not only does this allow us to save money throughout the year, but it also allows us to easily make purchases throughout the year if we see a deal that will save us money.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts are not Always a Good Deal

I’ll let you in on a secret – the advertising industry loves people that go shopping for last minute Christmas gifts. In fact, many companies thrive off the time. There is a misconception that the weeks leading up to the big Holiday is the time to get deals and save money on Christmas gifts. This, however, could not be further from the truth. Take big screen televisions for example. That is a staple of the Black Friday crowd, yet the best time to buy them is in late January – early February as the next models are rolling out; people want new TV’s to watch the Super Bowl which results in lower prices on last year’s models. The point is, you need to be an informed consumer so you can save money and not spend unnecessarily when you don’t have to.

More Time Means you can be More Selective

As a parent, and someone who likes to be frugal, we want to make sure that we’re purposeful in what we give our children. They already get enough toys and presents from their grandparents that we don’t need to add much more to the pile. By planning ahead for their Christmas shopping we can be more selective and get a few things we know that our kids will enjoy. Not only that, but it allows us to take advantage of sales, as we see them, so we can stretch the money we have set aside for them even more. It’s not intended to indulge our inner scrooge, but we’d rather save some of the money we have set aside for Christmas gifts and use it on experiences for the kids throughout the year. We’ve funded things like swimming lessons, going to their favorite restaurant and going to see the circus (just to name a few) off of the saved money because we didn’t go crazy with the spending but were more purposeful with it.

When do you start shopping for Christmas gifts? Do you like to plan ahead with it, or are you a last minute shopper?

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Image by Alliecreative / Flickr

Comments

  1. says

    We haven’t started shopping yet. We should though! Luckily, we never have to get too many gifts as W’s family does a secret santa type thing.

    • says

      That’s cool you don’t have to buy much with having a Secret Santa exchange. We really need to do that in our family.

  2. says

    Personally, I shop for Christmas all year long :) Not only am I on a budget, but I like to pick thoughtful gifts. So, when I think of gifts, I write them down and when I’m out I will start comparing prices and pick it up when I find a deal. If I know I want something from a certain store, I will wait for them to put out a coupon, then pick it up. The only issue is getting caught! I switch hiding spots every year and haven’t been caught yet :)

    • says

      We tend to be the same way Karla, especially for our kids. We watch what we spend on them so we don’t inundate them with toys, so we’re very purposeful in our shopping and will work to find the best deal.

  3. says

    I’ve given it some thought, but inevitably I’ll end up shopping in November/December. Really, it’s good to start thinking opportunistically with certain gifts at this point – you never know when the deals will be there. The key is hiding the gifts from the recipients, which can be a challenge if kids :)

    • says

      Yes, I know all too well of the challenges of hiding gifts from the little ones. :) Good point, it always helps to be opportunistic on looking for deals.

  4. says

    September feels way too early for me, but my wife thinks otherwise. I guess it’s not too late to start budgeting for Christmas Gifts now. More time does mean more selection for sure.

    I just bought whole bunch of cloths on perry ellis store at the mall and came home and bought more cloths on their website over Labor Day weekend. They had dress shirts going for $11-$17. Now that I think about it, I might stash a few clothing for Christmas

    • says

      We actually budget throughout the year for it so we have the money when we need it. It’s really part of our saving strategy where we pull out for different things. Nice score of the clothes!

  5. says

    John, every year we are shopping earlier and earlier, simply, like you said, so that we are making more informed, thought-out decisions about what we’re buying for our children. It’s working wonders for us! The kids are getting things that they love without us breaking the bank by rushing to buy stuff at the last minute. Huge money-saving tip here.