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