Happy Money Monday! Here on My Pocketful of Thoughts, Monday’s are reserved for all things money-like. If you stopped by here this past Wednesday, you read in the Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway post that I am almost finished with my Christmas shopping. If you have small children on your list you should check out the post later and enter to win one of their toys. Today, I’ll begin to share my planning process with you.
How to start planning your holiday shopping:
First, make your list of who you want to purchase gifts for. To start your list, just grab a piece of paper and pencil in the people you think you might have to get gifts for and in pen write everyone you know you are definitely getting gifts for. Every year my list is modified, but for the most part it remains the same. My parents, boyfriend, nieces and nephews, my closest friends and on occasion someone new. I say to pencil in potential people to buy gifts for because these are the people you’re on the fence about. Maybe you’ve never gotten them a gift in the past but perhaps over the year you’ve gotten closer. It’s better to have an extra gift or two than to not have anything at all.
Next is to put together a BUDGET. Most people do not do this. For years I did not budget and I would charge my gifts to my credit card and in January I would have this crazy bill. Please avoid this. It is bad for your credit health. While it is the holiday season, you do NOT have to go overboard. Most people are on a budget this year and are not expecting extravagant gifts. If you think someone on your list might be expecting a grand gift, than I would suggest having a conversation with them early to let them know you’d like to set a price limit. One year I was on a super tight budget; I asked my friends if we could share a meal together instead of exchanging gifts. Spending quality time and making memories with loved ones is priceless.
How to plan your budget:
- In pen, write next to each person’s name the max dollar amount you wish to spend.
- In the corner of the paper, write down the amount you wish to spend total on holiday gifts.
- Take the amount you wish to spend total and divide it by the number of months you have left until the holiday season starts.
- If the number you get after dividing it into a monthly goal to save for is too large and not feasible within your current income, then reverse engineer your thinking.
- If I can afford to put aside $50 a month, starting in January than I can spend $600 on gifts. If I started saving this month, that changes my budget to $100 total. I would then erase the people I wrote in pencil and reduce the amount spent on each person.
If you could, I would suggest having your money squared away before Black Friday, so you can snag the crazy deals!
Lastly, Take your pencil and write in potential gifts in your budget range for the people on your list. To save money I suggest thinking of a theme for your holiday shopping. If I have a handful of ladies on my list, I might think of buying luxury lotion from Bath and Body, there I might score a deal of Buy 2 get 1 free. This may allow you to be a little more generous than your budget would have normally allowed.
This is what I do to start planning for the holiday season. I also carry the list around with me in my wallet, so I can jot down ideas throughout the year. How do you start planning your holiday shopping?
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