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Okie dokie folks, time for a little heart-to-heart about that fantabulous (don’t you love my new word?) Holiday just around the corner. . . Christmas. Grab a cup of coffee and a piece of cake or pie, curl up on your sofa, and let’s just pretend we’re having a chat face to face about how we’re going to handle this one.
In just a few days, the deals are going to be flying fast and furiously at you (including quite possibly a few hundred here on PPP ~ yikes!), so I want you to be prepared. I promise you’ll see Black Friday deals on LEGOS and Powerwheels and Kindles and Barbies and just about anything you could ever imagine anyone on your gift list will ever need.
But that doesn’t mean you have to buy them.
Because the deals are out there, my job is to make sure you see the best of everything, and find you as many awesome deals as I can. However, I do not want you to purchase a single item that you do not need or cannot pay for even if it’s a deal. Did you hear me??? I mean it.
So, how do you know where to start with Christmas shopping?
Here are six things you need to do before Christmas shopping:
1. Consider the 4 gift plan that my friend Lynette uses.
I. love. this. Honestly, we didn't start this when my kids were younger, and I kind of wish we had. Back then our budget was pretty tight throughout the year, and Christmas was our time to “splurge” (within our budget) so we bought kids extra clothes they needed, along with fun toys and more.
However, they get a ton of gifts from family, and I think this is a really (really) smart concept to start when your children are young. If you're new to this idea, see how Lynette breaks it down over HERE.
2. Set a Christmas budget meeting with your spouse & decide your Christmas budget.
I cannot tell you how very, very, very important this one is, but trust me on this. To make January happier in your home, you have got to sit down and talk about what you both really want Christmas to look like, and who's going to purchase which gifts for who.
While my husband and I have always had a Christmas budget, inevitably we both struggle with keeping to our lists (~ahem~). However by going over the plan beforehand it just keeps us working together throughout the frazzled Christmas season.
Set up a budget “date” night and determine exactly how much money you have to spend on Christmas and what to purchase for every single person on your list. (Be sure to include a budget for shipping and gift wrap – those expenses can really add up!)
Not sure where to start? There are some fantastic free printable gift lists you can print (I like this one and this one), or even use an app like Santa's Bag to keep track of your list.
Make sure to have a general idea of what the items on your list should cost, and then watch for any deeply discounted savings. We have our Black Friday Deal Comparison Database up and running right now, so you can know the pricing on those “hot ticket” items on your list and watch for savings on them. I really believe just about everything goes on sale during the Christmas season, so be patient and watch for a deal!
3. Decide how you're going to Christmas shop.
Do you love Black Friday shopping? Is online shopping for you? Whatever you choose, have a general idea of how you're going to tackle Christmas gift purchasing before you're bombarded with Christmas deals.
I do about 90% of Christmas shopping online because I'm already here watching deals every day. (Sign up for free daily emails from me with those deals delivered to your inbox every day over HERE.)
While there are some great in-store offers to be had, I've found that with all the free shipping and codes available through the Christmas season I can get some incredible Black Friday deals while shopping in my pjs. Decide what you want Christmas shopping to look like for you, and plan ahead so you're not stuck at the last minute wondering the best way to get whatever you need.
4. Set a plan for how you're going to spend.
Using cash will definitely help maintain control of your spending over the holidays, however I know that can be difficult when so many deals are available online. If you shop online, put your budgeted amount into your checking account and use a debit card, and remember to keep a detailed list near your computer so you don't miss what you've spent.
If you absolutely are set on using a credit card to earn points or for other reasons, be sure to write down every single purchase on your list so that you don’t over-spend. As we all know, those credit cards can be a HUGE budget buster!
5. Anticipate how you’ll spend your “savings”.
(This is a bone of contention in our home!)
My hubby is one incredibly passionate penny pincher, so he feels that if we get a great deal on an item, those savings should not be spent during the Christmas season. However, I always want to spend the full amount on each person that I budget on my list, so if I find a great deal I’ll buy them more great deals! This is not the greatest way to spend my savings, but we have so many people purchase for our family who are incredibly generous. (And I want to be generous right back!)
However, if your budget is tight this Christmas, don’t spend those savings on more Christmas gifts. Instead, put it right into a savings account. (Wouldn’t it be fun to fund a savings account with extra Christmas spending money because of your penny pinched deals?)
6. Plan what you’ll spend to give to those in need.
A few years ago I shared how just about felt gived out by the time December was over. I realized that much of this was because while I happily said yes to every place to donate early in the Holiday season, by the middle of December I was done: and so was my budget.
Since then my husband and I have an honest discussion about what we want to give together so that we can choose to give to those that we both feel most passionate about. (To see more on giving over the holidays, check out The Advent Conspiracy.)
Ultimately, decide that Christmas is about more than just oodles of gifts under the tree.
I love Christmas presents.
I love spoiling my kids with fun surprises on Christmas morning.
I am so not against that fun and completely know how magical that time can be.
The gifts are just the icing on Christmas, not the whole cake. Christmas for us is the cooking and baking and decorating and all the wonderful things rolled up into this one just beautiful season.
It's the giving and music and lights and Silent Night and just the wonder of this special time of year. If you haven't already, create special Christmas traditions that make Christmas even more precious to your family, no matter the gifts under the tree. Give to someone in need, decorate cookies as a family and let Christmas gifting just be the fun Christmas topper on top of your Christmas tree.
I hope you’ll find some Black Friday deals here on PPP, and my promise to you is that I’ll only post items I see at their lowest prices or so close to that pricing that I don't want you to miss it. But, I do not want you to spend one single penny on things that you have absolutely no business buying.
Got that? 🙂
Go get your kids ready for a few days of Fall festivities, enjoy an extra piece of chocolate for me, and watch for the online deals to go a wee bit crazy here over the next few weeks. But, in the midst of it all, take a deep breath, determine to stay really focused on only what you need to purchase (and even more focused on what this season is all about), and choose to enjoy every bit of the Christmas season as it races its way towards us.
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Bridget Buer says
We used to help out a family in need every Christmas, unfortunately this will not be possible anymore since I can no longer work. But our plan was 4 gift for each child in the family.
1 something to wear
2 something to read
3 something they won’t
4 something they need
this way my budget would stay on track because I have my own kids to shop for.
That is so sweet Bridget! Love that!
You sound like amazing grandparents!! I bet your grandkids love all you do for them. ❤️
Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom in this article. We have 14 grandchildren, and it’s easy to spend more money trying to make everything “fair” between the grandkids. I write down everything I spent for each item for each child. I feel like I need to have roughly the same quantity of gifts for each person. But if I get a really great deal on an item that is within budget for said person, it means that they have less gifts then the other kids…. and it doesn’t seem fair to them. I struggle with that.
What an honest, true, and smart post. Thank you for sharing this information with those who might want to overspend. Your words about presents not being the only thing is such rare truth! Parents who are encouraged by these words will have such a wonderful Christmas with their children, who will not count the gifts, but the memories they are making. Thank you!
Thank you so much for your kind words Ronni! 🙂
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