I love holiday shopping. I love coming up with the perfect presents, I love buying stuff, I love getting organized and wrapping and being creative. I am a holiday shopping dork. But I’m good at it and I’m going to share my secrets. Here’s how you, too can be a holiday shopping dork.
The very first thing that you should do is set a budget. Be realistic. Remember that the true joy of the holidays is about spending time with the ones you love (and family!) and enjoying the magic of the season. So, while it’s great to spoil the ones you love, it’s not great to end up with mountains of debt and a January holiday hangover.
Just Do It
It’s easy to set up a budget – just make a list of everyone who gets a gift. Holiday shopping dork that I am, I use an excel spreadsheet. Also be sure to add other expected holiday expenditures to the list like gift wrap, baked goods, decorations and birthdays (can’t forget those who have birthdays around the holidays!). These often unbudgeted items can really leave a dent in your pocketbook, don’t forget to include these items, too.
Next I list the amount of money that I want to spend on each person and item. Then I add all of the amounts and take a look at the total. If it’s around the same amount of money that I had in my head, all is good (like THAT ever happens!) It it’s too much, I go through each person one-by-one and adjust the amount, or cross them off the list entirely.
Now’s a good time to talk about limits. You don’t have to buy something for every person you know – and you shouldn’t. It’s a nice thought, but in reality it’s just not possible. Think about last year. Who did you buy for? Who gave you presents? And then go from there.
Once you’ve decided on a realistic budget, pat yourself on the back. This is the most crucial task to help keep you from going over the top and it’s certainly not easy. Now the hard work is done – time to shop!