I know what you’re thinking… “it’s July, you mad, shopping obsessed woman. Christmas couldn’t be further away!” but you’d only be half correct. Christmas is always lurking, just around the corner, like some kind of creepy stalker. Now is the time to start thinking about the festive spendathon and beat the budget busters before they leap out and catch you unawares.
Save Your Pennies
Ok, so given the whole theme of this website, this is a pretty obvious suggestion but I’m constantly surprised at how few people actually do it! Yes, we all pay our bills and save for holidays and so forth, but do you have a savings account dedicated solely to the silly season? If not, why not? Start putting $20 in there each week in January and by the end of the year you’ll have an extra $1,000 to play with.
Buy It Now!
Every now and then, you will see something that someone you know might like. But it! Stuff it under the bed and cross it off your Christmas list. That’s one less gift to buy in December.
Similarly, should you come in to a bit of extra money or have a store credit voucher that needs to be used, rather than buying yourself yet another useless frivolity you really don’t need (say, like, another pair of shoes- you know who you are) buy someone a present to put aside for their next birthday or baby shower.
If you have children, I strongly suggest hitting the big sales and buying up big right about now. Sure the coolest toys probably won’t be around 6 months in advance and who knows what the little tykes will have on their wish lists (toy companies intentionally release new, hot items just before Christmas to ensure your child wants their product) but books, colouring pencils and sports equipment stay pretty much the same forever. Buy in bulk and you can avoid outrageously priced last-minute panics on the way to little Timmy’s party that you forgot all about.
Re-gifting is risky business and requires a deft hand. In its purest form, it involves retaining an unwanted gift, in secret, and giving it to a totally different person in the future. While this practice can save you money, it is critical that you ensure the person to whom you are re-gifting the item does not know and will never meet the original giver. Tread with caution… giving a frying pan to your sister-in-law that her mother gave you last year is not going to down well. Trust me.
He’s Making a List…
I’m well known in my family as a good gift giver. Why? Because I listen when people say they want things and I remember it. Whenever anyone says they like a subject, are thinking of buying something, or have been looking everywhere for a particular item, write it down! Now when you’re strolling through a store and happen to spot toy/lip balm/antique china bedpan (yes, that did happen!) on sale, you can snap it up rather than facing the shameful spectacle of giving a gift voucher again. And the worst part about giving a gift voucher? Everyone knows how much you spent on it, so there’s no cheaping out. Get planning now and Scrooge-out on the sly, no one will be the wiser.