About a month or so ago, I was in featured in the Globe and Mail talking about holiday shopping strategies, and how to save money doing so particularly by online shopping. I loved that article. I printed it and sent it to my mom since she likes collecting anything with our name on it, and national media attention for doing something semi-smart made her that much happier.
The reason I was excited about that article, and why I wanted to specifically share it was because this was the first year that I feel that I did it right. Did what righ? You may ask. My holiday shopping. My goal was to be done by October at the latest, and I got my sh*t together by September AND came in under budget.
Now, I know that you may be shocked. My mom certainly was. This is a result of years of impulsive shopping, online shopping, and poor buying decisions. Yes, I, the incredibly charming young woman, who gets to tell people how to spend their money at work all day, was an idiot. If you’re long time reader of my site, you may know the story of my $1200 jeans, if you’re new here, well, you’re in for a treat.
But I digress.
I just really want to talk about how I got better things than the last few years (when I may have freaked out and bought things last minute) and spent half of my budget. I also want to talk about how I set a budget and how I’m already working on next years list.
Does anyone else make their christmas list in January? I did. Keep in mind that I have 3 siblings, a godson who I adore (read: spoil), and bunch of friends so close that even my mother considers them family. All in all, I buy actual presents for about 20 people or so, and then a few here for there for co-workers, teammates etc.
Making your list in January has its drawbacks, too. For starters, its really hard to know what people would need by December. People like my parents are easy to shop for. They like practical things. My godson on the other hand is incredibly difficult because his tastes change so quickly, and well, he’s 7.
It worked out for me this year because I had a rough idea of what I wanted to get for people. Having specific items makes things more complicated. For example, if I know that my sister has a fondness for Designer sunglasses, but will never buy them herself, I’ll make a note to look for those.
I paid attention to the sales cycles, and found deals in the off season ie. buying a snowblower for my parents at the end of winter when they are on clearance, or snowboarding gear for my brother. I also enjoy online shopping more than being in the stores now. Keep in mind that these are my holiday shopping strategies and they may not work for everyone.
I also diligently checked the daily deal sites. I have to say that I lived in email spam hell for a few months, but it was worth it since I could carefully select what I wanted by online shopping. Sometimes you get the best deals if you use your imagination. Spa days, photoshoots, etc. are great presents if you think about it.
I don’t know if you know, but I get carried away sometimes or buy things and forget that I got them. I created a spreadsheet on laptop, and a check list in my planner and on my Blackberry that allowed me to remember what I bought especially if those purchases were a result of online shopping.
And finally, I divided what I wanted to spend for Christmas and divided it by 26 (my previous pay cycle). I knew what I had to put away and set it up so it automatically transferred to a different account.
The best part was that I spent 55% of my budget which means that I may go away on a trip that has nothing to do with work, or I can do the responsible thing.
Hey, I never said I was perfect.
Do you have any holiday shopping strategies that work for you?