The first step to successful holiday shopping is to make a list, and don’t forget to check it twice.
Start with the names of all the people you will be buying gifts for. Don’t forget to include people who provide you service on a regular basis, like the babysitter, your assistant, or your favorite barista. For a guide to what to tip for the holiday season, check out this guide to holiday tipping at Bargaineering.
What’s your budget?
You may have a Christmas savings account, a year-end bonus, or some savings ready for shopping. If you don’t have a budget yet, or even an idea of one, this is an important step. Spend money you have or will have before Christmas, and don’t spend money on credit hoping to pay it off. If you need extra cash, consider selling some stuff, or getting a part-time job for the next few weeks. You could also allocate a small amount like $50/week to a savings account. By the holidays you would have about $300.
What to give?
Next include an idea or several next to each person’s name. For some recipients you may know exactly what you want to buy, but for others you may need to do a bit of searching. Think outside the box a bit. Most people already have too much stuff, so consider a membership to a museum or an experience versus a thing. April, staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, covers this topic nicely in The Anti-Stuff Holiday Gift Guide.
I wish I could give more gifts, but my list is intentionally short since we are still paying off debt.
- Santa’s helper: The bulk of the gift buying is done by Santa’s helpers. Filling the stockings, and a few small Santa gifts, as well as one “big” gift.
- 5 gifts from me: We started this tradition 2 years ago. Each person buys 1 gift for each member of the family. That way mom and dad get 6 gifts, as do all the kids. It’s fun to take the kids shopping, they pick out interesting stuff. This year they are using their allowances to buy their gifts.
- Family: Both sets of parents, nieces and nephew, grandmom, and siblings. I do the shopping for most everyone. The parents usually get a gift basket made by me which includes cookies and other treats my husband makes. I’d go into more detail but they are reading my blog.
- Teachers: Teachers get a gift card to the bookstore, and something handmade from their student.
- Friends: I usually end up doing a gift exchange or sweet swap at least once during December. I don’t give gifts to specific friends, though I wish I could!
Holiday Shopping Guide 2009
- I don’t do Black Friday: This is my 1st post in the series. I talk about why I don’t shop for “deals” on Black Friday.
- How to spend smarter this holiday season: my 1st of 2 guest posts over at Consumerism Commentary. I cover ways to spend less, including handmaking gifts and decreasing your shopping list. Please head over and leave me a comment.
Have you started your holiday shopping? Do you have a list?