It’s November. And I realize that many people don’t even think about holiday shopping at this point, but I do. We have big families so believe it or not, I start shopping immediately after Christmas of the previous year. Doing this, I need to really stay organized or otherwise I will completely forget what I’ve bought for people and end up overspending. I wanted to share what works for me and how I stay organized and on budget for holiday shopping.
Make a list.
This sounds so basic but it’s SO important. I have a spreadsheet in Google Docs that I have kept for years. I have columns for the last 3 Christmases so I can remember what I have bought in the past for people– I tend to buy repeat gifts for people, that’s why I do this! I also include a column for my budget for that person, my actual spend for that person, and then I bold the gift for that year once I’m done shopping for them.
Budget, budget, budget
Again, so basic yet so crucial. I include on my spreadsheet how much I expect to spend on each person, and that sums up my entire budget. I also include that actual spend column so I am sure to stay within that budget.
Spread out your shopping!
This is my biggest and most important piece of the puzzle for me. I buy a gift a week. Yes, I start early, but then I’m not spending a big chunk of money at once. If you’re not up to that task, put money away each week. My mom always put money in a special account called a Christmas Club at the bank growing up– you can do the same on your own with a separate account, and you wouldn’t be limited to taking it out at a certain time like most Christmas Clubs have members do.
Keep gift-giving in mind year round.
I love the Notes app on my phone. I have a list of gift ideas there, so whenever I’m talking to someone and they happen to mention something that they want or need, I add it to the list. Even if it’s someone I normally don’t buy for– you never know if a gift-giving occasion will come up and you’ll need to get them something! It makes life so much easier.