Friday, November 25, 2016

Holiday Shopping

In honor of Black Friday I want to talk to you about holiday shopping and what my (best) practices are.The reason that I put so much thought and effort into holiday (and birthday) shopping is because there are lots of people on my list  to shop for which means it can be costly in terms of money but, also in terms of my time. I also take it to the "next level" (yes there is a spreadsheet) because I want to make sure that I give the people in my life that I care most about gifts that they will actually appreciate and enjoy. By making a plan about shopping in advance and implementing these practices I have been able to tackle holiday shopping without getting very stressed or maxing out my credit cards. To be honest, most of the time, I don't even participate in the craziness that is Black Friday or Cyber Monday because they are so protracted beyond what they used to be that you can find savings starting at the beginning of November (OMG, you've already missed out) and those very limited "door buster" deals are not worth the aggravation and time they would potentially cost me. While everyone might not feel the same way, I have found that with planning I am able to tackle holiday shopping without going crazy.
  • Budget - Take a look at how many people you feel obligated to need/want to buy gifts for. There might be some people who pop up closer to the holiday but, for the most part, you know who your main beneficiaries are and you can ballpark how much money you want to dedicate towards their gifts. I'm not saying that you need to stick with this to the last penny for everyone but, having an idea of what you can spend overall helps from overspending on your favorite person or cheaping out on someone that you wanted to get a swell gift.  
  • Shop all year - This is not for every person on your list (ahem, children) but, sometimes when you are out you might see something that would be perfect for your Mom, BFF, gardener, etc. that you know they will love to matter what time of year you give it to them. This helps in terms of limiting the amount of time you will spend shopping during the holiday season and hopefully ensure that you will avoid shopping at crunch time (Ex: Christmas Eve) completely. 
A photo posted by Iris (@260daysnorepeats) on
  • Save all year - Take a look at your budget and see what the total is, then divide that by 52 which would equal how much money you have to save each week. This is the most rudimentary budget but, it totally works for Hubby and I. We take money each pay period and set it aside for holiday and other gifts and when December November comes we don't have to think twice about where the money is coming from. It goes into a separate gift specific checking account so we don't mix that money with funds for everyday purchases... next level maneuvers. 
  • Re-Gift - Not everyone does this, or thinks it is acceptable to do but, I do, under the right circumstances. I am a difficult person to shop for an often find myself with lovely things that I am never going to use and have no option of returning for credit to purchase something else that I might like better. I also get things for free sometimes (event life, yay) or as part of monthly subscription boxes that are not a good fit for me. In those situations, I would rather give those nice things, that are not my speed, to someone else who would enjoy them. 
A photo posted by Iris (@260daysnorepeats) on
  • Get Crafty - If you are the type of person who is able to use paper maché and popsicle sticks to make cool things you should totally do that for your family and then open an Etsy shop. In all seriousness, sometimes the best  gifts are heartfelt and personal so if can make something as opposed to buying it that might be the way to go in terms of making someone smile and possibly keeping yourself on budget.

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