Are you already feeling overwhelmed when it comes to thinking about everybody you have to shop for on your Christmas list? Well, don’t be! I can get you through this. If you follow these three steps, you can walk into Christmas with less stress and hopefully save some money before 2015 comes to a close. Here’s what I do every year that works for me…
MAKING A LIST…CHECKING IT TWICE
I can tell you that I’m not a good list person. I will write something down, and it will never be found again. But I know that it’s imperative that I make a Christmas list every year that includes names, amount of money that we will spend on that person, and when I will purchase their gift.
To help me not lose the list, I write it on the bottom of our budget. If you have heard me speak then you know that I follow our budget completely and look at it almost daily (since it’s right there on the fridge.)
Right now on the bottom of our budget I have listed out my nieces, nephews, siblings, etc. Next to their names I have a dollar amount that I want to spend on each person. I try really hard to stick to the amount listed, but if I do overspend on one person then I try to take away from another person.
I think it’s so important that you know what you are going to spend per person. If you want, start with your total. Say “Okay, we’re going to spend $700 on relatives for Christmas.” and then start allotting how much per person.
This year I am going to include everyone on our list including co-workers, teachers, Sunday School teachers, etc. I feel like this is what always gets me in the end because I forget “the little people” and then don’t have the cash to spend on them before school lets out. (By the way, they might be little people on my list but they are big people who do a big job:)
So, last year I really got into using Shopkick and saved $80 on Christmas gifts. I promise you that I had really only started in November. When school lets out on break, I just kick it into high gear and really start adding to my Shopkicks.
I would then save up my Shopkicks and then when I was ready to spend them, I would cash in for a Target, or JCPenney’s gift card. The reason I chose these places to shop was because I was getting coupons in the mail from them. I would use a coupon that said “$10 off when you guy $25” at JCPenney’s and then use a $10 gift card from Shopkicks to actually get $20 off $25.
Then when I went to shop, I would always shop clearance to save even more money. I found scarves that were normally $20 marked down to $3 or $4. I was able to get 3 for free. I gave them to my niece and sister-in-law for Christmas.
I was able to get several toys at Target for free and gave these to the students in my AWANAS class.
Make sure and use your Cartwheel app for even more savings. It’s an easy way to save some big money.
I wrote a blog in the summer telling how I had already started shopping for Christmas (that’s pretty good for me because I usually wait and shop in November). Target had a 25% off coupon on their Cartwheel app and this included clearance items. In July, stores always mark down their toys and I knew that this would be a good time to shop. I was right! I was able to get toys that were marked down 50% and then using the app it helped me knock those prices down another 25%.
You might have missed the summer sales, but it’s not too late to save. Target is currently putting up a 50% off toy coupon on their Cartwheel app every day until Christmas. This is a great way to save. Plus Target ALWAYS has some kind of toys on clearance.
I also start looking for coupons to hit the mailbox soon. If you aren’t getting coupons from JCPenney’s, Kohls, etc. then get on their website and enter your mailing address. This is a great time for coupons because all of these stores will be fighting for your business. They want you shopping in their store and will do whatever it takes to get you in there.
I almost always shop Black Friday – whether it’s online or in the stores. To me, the earlier I start the less stressed I will be. I want to not only save money, but I also want to enjoy the holidays since it’s my time off from work.
USE CASH…NOT CREDIT
Last one and this is a freebie. Use cash, not credit. I know that you’ll get all these airline miles and all this money back but think of the money you’ll be saving when you use cash. Cash holds you accountable and doesn’t allow you to overspend. Just try it and let me know if you like it. I would love to hear your comments below.