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Ahh Christmas–one of the most financially stressful times of the year! You’ve gotta figure out who you’re buying for, WHAT you’re buying, what your budget is, all on top of figuring out family plans and much more! WELL, I decided a couple of years ago that I was no longer going to let Christmas be a burden on my budget!
Why am I talking about Christmas in July, you ask?
Because I sincerely believe that the best way to have a financially stress-free holiday season is by getting things done EARLY.
There’s nothing worse than having to buy last-minute gifts due to poor planning, so why not get things in order waaaay ahead of time!?
Ideally, I start my Christmas shopping in January. Yep, you read that right.
I Christmas shop and plan ALL year long. It might seem crazy, but by the time Christmas hits, I’ve already got it all figured out, and it’s AMAZING to be able to eliminate a bit of stress around the holidays. So here we go– these are the ways that I’ve managed to have financially stress-free holidays!
1. Make a List
I always have a list going of the people I buy for with little bullet points of what their interests are or ideas that I have for gifts for them. I work on the list year round, so that if I see something at ANY point that makes me think of them, I buy it! This works for birthdays, too! As I purchase items, I check things off the list, and then when I feel I have enough for an individual person, I cross them off the list entirely.
2. Stock up on gift cards
This is a more popular way of planning for the holidays, but it really is a great idea! So for example, every pay-day, pick a store and buy a $10 or $20 gift card–or whatever amount you feel is appropriate. This way, even if you’re not certain about what to get someone early on, you’ll have a nice little stockpile of gift cards for any last minute shopping–it won’t even pain you to buy gifts this way since you’ve already spent the money little by little!
3. Do online surveys for free giftcards
This is my favorite way of planning for Christmas. A few times a week, I go to the paid survey websites that I’m signed up for and earn a little money toward some gift cards! I always cash-out for Amazon giftcards, since you can find just about anything on there, and use that money to buy Christmas gifts! If you’re dedicated enough, you could probably have a 100% FREE Christmas just by doing this! I’m not that dedicated, but I have managed to save a few hundred dollars over the past couple of years by shopping this way!
The websites that I use for this purpose are Swagbucks, Ipsos Isay, and InboxDollars.
**Tip: You could also use the money you earn from apps like Ibotta or Shopkick toward Christmas shopping!
(Check out the apps I use to earn a little money here!)
4. Keep an eye on sales
This is a great idea if you have a certain store or item that you LOVE to buy as gifts. For example, I have a few ladies on my list that I always buy lotion and/or candles for, so I always make sure to hit up the Bath & Body Works semi-annual sales and stock up on items that I can give as gifts! I really just feel that it’s important to be keeping the holidays in mind year round, so that if you do see a sale, you can automatically see if there’s anything that you have on your list of gifts that might be a part of a great sale!
Another thing to keep in mind is wrapping paper and gift bags—I ALWAYS buy these items immediately after the holidays because they can go on sale for up to 90% off! I never ever pay full price for these items right before the holidays–I stock up in December & January with deep discounts, and then I’m all ready for the next holiday season!
These 4 steps have helped me with having waaay less stressful holiday seasons for the past couple of years! If you plan in advance, Christmas shopping can be a breeze! My goal is to always be DONE with shopping by Thanksgiving, and so far I’ve been successful! That means that while other people are freaking out and spending too much money all at once during the holiday months, you’ll be relaxed and organized–and it’s a GREAT feeling!
What other ways do YOU plan for the holidays?
I’m always looking to improve my Christmas spending strategies! 🙂
Looking for gift ideas for the women in your life?
Check out my list of budget-friendly gifts on Amazon HERE!
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