The holidays can be a stressful time when it comes to shopping. There’s so much to think about and purchase – it can easily become overwhelming and expensive and the Christmas experience can turn from magical into miserable in the blink of an eye! Well, I’m here to help! These are the guidelines I follow when it comes to shopping for holiday trimmings throughout our home and gifts for our friends and family. Following these rules ensures I don’t go over my budget or go completely crazy before December even comes!
#1. Create a budget and a list – and stick to both!
Prepping and planning ahead can help greatly. Take time to create a list of items needed, both for the house and for gifts. I make sure to include everyone and everything I will need to make it through the holiday. Every gift for any party or hostess and even groceries I will need for cookie baking and any dishes I need to prepare. I create this list as early as possible so I’m ready and don’t have any last minute surprises finding I’ve forgotten someone.
While creating this list, I set a budget for every item. Knowing how much I can spend in total, helps me manage the budget and helps me to easily choose how much to set aside for each item/gift on the list.
The budget is the most important part of the list, and the part I need to stick to most thoroughly – so this is where I get creative. I constantly search for sales and the best deals I can find. It almost becomes a game for me to see how much of a bargain I can score! Many times, I can find an item for cheaper than I had anticipated and had budgeted. And that is the best gift of all – saving money during the holidays is always a win!
#2: Look for coupons, watch for sales, and shop early.
The easiest way to do this: sign up for email alerts from the retailers you will be shopping this season. Most companies have “Black Friday” sales the whole month of November, which is the best time to start shopping! I find these sales to be just as good as after Thanksgiving. Retailers usually offer additional percentages off of items and plenty of coupon codes, which they will send to you in your email subscriptions.
Shoppers can no longer wait until after Thanksgiving to begin their holiday shopping. Stores stock up their Christmas items early and don’t stock again. Many trimmings and gifts could be gone before December hits. I always make sure to stock up on lights, ornaments, ribbon, and all décor before Thanksgiving so I don’t find myself needing things that have long been sold out.
#3. Shop online and shop in bulk.
It’s so much easier to find a specific item online! Stores and malls become so overwhelmingly busy this time of year, making it hard to find anything. Luckily, I’ve found that many stores have additional sales and coupons offered on their websites making it easy to bypass the stores altogether. But, as previously stated, I have to make sure to shop online early. Stores will sell out of hot items quickly!
This time of year is the best to shop in bulk and I mean this in two different ways.
- Use coupons and sales to purchase and stock up on daily household items at a discounted price. [I specifically love to stock up on perfumes, shaving sets, and handsoaps as these things hit a deep discount this time of year.]
- Find a sale on an item that will work for multiple family members or friends. Once I find a great sale or a good coupon for an item, I buy multiples for gifts (and possibly for myself, as well 😉).
#4. Use decorations you already have.
I love to save money by using decorations I use all year long! Vases, decorative bowls, and candlesticks can all be made to look like Christmas with a few small embellishments. Fill a vase with pinecones, add ornaments to a decorative bowl for a coffee table centerpiece, or add a bow to any candlestick to change to a holiday look. Getting creative has helped save me from buying decorative holiday pieces to fill every surface of my home, which can be seriously pricey.
#5. DIY gifts and decorations.
Pinterest is my favorite tool to get me through the holidays. There are so many DIY projects for Christmas decorations and gift ideas. This can seriously help to cut spending. Never underestimate a nice hand-print picture to a Grandparent from a Grandchild LOL!
I hope these guidelines will help make the holiday shopping season a little easier and much more affordable! Thanks so much for subscribing to my email list! I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a most joyous New Year!