Let’s face it. As much as we love to shop, the last-minute holiday shopping frenzy can be a total drag. To all of the Black Friday shoppers out there, I salute you for your courage and bravery. For the rest of us who were afraid of getting trampled to death in a Wal-Mart parking lot at five am, there is still hope.
Yes, planning for your holiday shopping takes a little bit of forward-thinking, but it is completely do-able, and you shouldn’t have to forfeit your post-Turkey morning after coma in order to achieve it. Here’s how:
Before you get started, review your finances and come up with a clear, concise shopping limit per person. We all know how easy it can be to get carried away, and – while that can be fun – it can also throw off your budget for the New Year. Does Auntie Marge really need another crock pot? Part of our job as professional organizers is to help people eliminate clutter. You will actually be doing friends and family a service by limiting the amount of gifts you give to those that are truly from the heart.
Using our handy holiday printable (print as many pages as you need), start a list of what you need to purchase, where, for whom, and the cost. We suggest stapling an envelope to the list to hold gift receipts. Write down the names, gifts and locations – even if they are just ideas. The point is to keep track of what you are giving and to stay within your budget. We’ve also added some handy check boxes to keep track of whether the item is wrapped or needs to be mailed.
Once you have your list, group the items into like locations. Can you buy several items at one time? Which ones are the most critical and which are simply fun “extra” gifts? Using the numbers 1-3, one being top priority, label each gift according to how critical it is to purchase immediately. Is the store closed on Sundays? Does it need to be shipped? By prioritizing your list, you will avoid a last minute scramble. Plus, it will help you from feeling overwhelmed at the store, trying to remember what’s next on the list.
Think Outside the Box
If you’re on a budget, get creative! Do you have any credit card points to redeem? How about trolling through coupon sites like Groupon and Living Social? Another option is to get crafty. Whether you make your own hand soap or order a cool vintage gift through Etsy, people always appreciate handmade items. Plus, you can make them at home and away from the crowds.
When you give your gifts this year, pay attention to what people like. Keep a little notebook with you. Is Cousin Ernie a size Medium instead of a Large? Write it down. Did you overspend this year? Tally up the total cost and remember it for next year’s budget. Yes, things change, but it can be incredibly helpful to have some little reminders for next year.