Plan Ahead for Holiday Shopping

Does the holiday hustle and bustle turn your merry mind into mush? Each year, can you feel your cash being sucked from your wallet by the cheerful sales rep at the local department store? Take off those antlers and stop playing Dasher. Here are five easy steps to turn the Christmas chaos into Christmas cheer.

Think ahead.

First, make a list and check it twice. Create a list of people you plan to give gifts to this year. You may want to include family, friends, coworkers, teachers, etc. Now, decide how much you will spend on each person or pet. Add up the expected cost and go over the list again to see if your budget fits the expenses. If your price tag for presents is too high, then remove a few names from the list or change your dollar amounts. This will be easier than you may think if you follow some money saving tips below.

Make purchases all year long.

Santa and his elves work hard all year long for the big day. Take a lesson from good old St. Nick. When you are cruising that catalogue in March and see just the perfect gift for Aunt Millie, buy it! Don’t let that perfect present slip through your hands in the clearance aisle at the local department store. Save time and money with this little trick.

Recycle.

Use those winnings from that charity raffle, or recycle those extra school photos to make a collage for the teacher. Be thoughtful. Give your daughter your copy of the new best seller. The two of you can discuss the book over tea one afternoon. The best gifts come from the heart, not the wallet.

Set a date.

Pick a date and stick to it. Don’t let Rudolph’s red nose be the warning that Christmas is here. Choose a time to complete your shopping. Be sure to allow yourself enough time to wrap and distribute the great gifts to all. For example, November 15th deadline means shopping is done. Two weeks to wrap presents and a month of fun awaits. Imagine yourself at Christmas parties telling everyone that you’re shopping and wrapping is complete. Not only that, but your already scoping out good finds for next year!

Gift cards and Cash.

Remember the one thing that always fits. Gift cards and cash never need exchanging. Out at your favorite restaurant; pick up a gift card for your hairdresser. Drop some cash in the card for your nephew in college. The recipient chooses just what they want or need, and the pressure is off for you.

These simple steps will turn your bah humbug to bliss, keep some coins in your wallet, and Christmas less chaotic.

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