Its 3:30 am on Black Friday…you’re tired. groggy. wondering why you decided to go out and if those people and gifts on your list are really that important. Or maybe you’re a freak like me and excitedly jump out of bed when your alarm goes off, eager and ready to take on the shopping madness. Well, that was me before. Not this year!
I made a ghastly goal this year to be DONE with Christmas shopping by October 31st. Yikes! Before Black Friday?! Say it isn’t so!
Yes, I decided that I wanted to forego the crazy shoppers, the fighting, the disappointment if you didn’t get a hand on that $1.97 DVD…I wanted to be done. Did I mention that for the 11 or so extended family members I was shopping for, I gave myself a $10 per person budget? Yikes! It can be done, friends. It can be done.
Here are some tips that helped me to be a savvy shopper and how I set goals for myself this year. Hopefully, you can take some of these tips and apply it to your gift giving (whether Christmas or not) to help save money and sanity.
- Make a list: This is the most important. Write down every single person you’re buying a gift for. Keep the line open next to their name to write an idea or purchased gift. If you want to save money *wink*, write in perenthesis next to each name a budgeted amount for their gift. Once you have an idea, write it down. Then when you have purchased the item, highlight it or checkmark it. Stay organized!
- Start your list and keep an eye open starting in the summer. You might be surprised at what you can find for someone early on. Which brings me to my next point…
- Shop deal sites like Groupon, Living Social, Very Jane, and GroopDealz. I have purchased something from each of these sites. They are easy to use and often feature AMAZING deals. Groupon and Living Social feature mostly consumable items like restaurant, spa, etc. type packages. Very Jane and GroopDealz feature material items like jewelry (yes, I have bought jewelry from this site and it is quality), custom clothing, handbangs, blankets, etc. They feature something new every day. And if you don’t set a time goal, these sites often feature Black Friday deals and December deals. If you have a budget like I did, you can pretty much guarantee you’ll find a gift in your price range on one of these websites. I purchased every single gift for the women on my list from these sites, often spending far less than my $10 budget. 😉
- Make gifts. If you are crafty or handy, why not take a stab at making a gift for someone? Often, these gifts mean so much more; you’ve put thought into something for a person you love. Because I saved so much money with the deal sites, I was able to make an additional gift for each woman on my list. Try things like sewing a makeup bag and then filling it with inexpensive cosmetics (E.L.F. is a great yet cheap product), crocheting slippers to accompany a purchased gift, finding out what someone else is getting them and making them an accessory for it (friend’s husband getting them a Kindle, so sew them a Kindle case), etc.
- Stick to your budget! If something goes over your budget, rethink the gift. Try something different or get them an alternative but similar gift. Starbucks tumbler too expensive? Check Big Lots or Walgreens for a cheaper version. And did you know high end brands have good sales BEFORE Christmas? Several times a year, Nike holds a 2/$20 sale on their t-shirts. My brother-in-laws LOVE this gift. $10 each, done.
- BE CREATIVE. My biggest thing this year when making my list and budget was fear that each person would get a cheap looking, thoughtless gift. I was worried I wouldn’t find anything and that I would end up either spending more to compensate or stubbornly sticking to my budget and getting everyone a clearance t-shirt. If you give yourself enough time (START IN AUGUST!), you have the opportunity to really think through the gifts you’re getting. Try gifts that would compliment a person’s hobby, a gift someone else is getting them, or something they already have. Really think things through. Often times, you can get someone something that is inexpensive but also thoughtful. Someone in my life that is a photographer is getting a hand-sewn camera strap cover from me. 🙂 Cost of fabric: $4. That makeup bag idea? I’m doing that for someone and it cost me $8.