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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Christmas Shopping All Year Long - On a Budget

I just bought Christmas Presents today. I have a budget sheet I carry with me in my wallet that I make new every year right after Christmas to start Christmas shopping for next year. It is a half sheet of paper printed off from a spreadsheet. I fold it up and stick it in the slot where cash is supposed to be (but never is). It looks like this:

I have a column for each person I am supposed to get a gift for accessible anytime I am out shopping. (I have a birthday list budget too). I have the amount that I have budgeted for each person. In my house budget - YNAB, I have a specific category for Christmas family presents, since I have a goal of $195, my budget is $17/m in that category. I have a column that reminds me of the target $ goal. When I find a gift for that person, I write what I got them, and cross out the money and put what is left if there is any. (If I go over hopefully there is some "spare change" left where I stayed under budget to steal from.) And I have a column to remember what I got them to keep me from buying more than one gift for the person for they will now be stored in the Christmas closet space .

Then, you have to keep your eyes peeled all year. At Walmart today, I passed the clearance aisle and saw the remnants of after Christmas Clearance Clearance. So I looked through the items for possible presents. I found these:

The toothbrush kits were on sale for $1 instead of $5. The Moon Shoes were $17 instead of $30. The Play Makeup was $9 instead of $14 and the Massager was $9 instead of $39.

You do have to pay attention not to buy "fad" gifts when you shop this early. Especially for Children. For Example, Leap Frog may be cool today, but will they be in 10 months? Will they still make accessories for that? Will the kid still have the machine to use the accessories on?
So, you need to buy more in general. Like I had a choice between the Moon Shoes and a Gutiar Hero Air Guitar Play Set. I figured, who knows if Guitar Hero will still be cool or superseded by something else in the future, but I wish I could try out the Moon Shoes. So Moon Shoes it was!

1 comment:

Barb said...

I love this way to organize all-year gift shopping! I'm going to do it for sure. Thanks!