Wednesday, December 9, 2009

16 days!

Thanks to those of you who commented (I think only one on here, but a few on facebook and a few in person) on my last post, I love hearing your feedback!!

Only 16 days until Christmas, we're getting closer! :)

Aren't you excited?

Have you started your shopping yet? I know that I had all the intentions of getting out early and getting it done early, but there's something to be said for shopping in the spirit. When you shop early and all online, you miss out on the "Christmas chaos." And though it truly is chaos, there's just something about it that makes the the whole experience worth it.

But how to get started? How do you not fall for the over-priced gimicks? How to not blow your whole year's budget in a few weeks?

Put it on paper and stick to it!

Today's Christmas post has been inspired from my love of Dave Ramsey...
(shameless plug: if you don't know who the guy is, please please please go here)

Just as you should with any budget (a whole other post...), you should spend all your Christmas money on paper before you buy a single gift. What does that mean?

1. You need to set a budget.

That's right. Decide how much you want to spend on everyone and make it your goal to not go over. I know, I know, but it's hard to keep everyone to the same limit and the same number of gifts, etc, but don't worry about that yet. Just set a whole number that you don't want to go over.

2. You need to then decide how much you want to spend on each person.

Note: You don't have to spend that much! If you say you are spending 40.00 on mom, and you find something awesome for 26, then great!!! 2 things to do with the extra: Put it in an "overage fund" where all extra goes in and then when you find that perfect gift for dad that is $10 over budget, you can use the extra from mom's gift. Another idea would be to put all the overage into a giving fund and when all gifts are bought, any excess you didn't use is given to a charity of choice.

3. Shop the deals :)

Don't just go to one store and decide to get everything in one day. Think of what people may like and search for the best price. There are tons of sites online that make this easy. Try out PriceGrabber, NexTag, or even google shopping. Also, look for coupons: RetailMeNot and CouponCabin are places I usually check first. Yet another thing is to look for is site who give percentages back on purchases through their site. Bing Shopping gives cashback at online stores like Macy's, footlocker, and bestbuy. Don't just buy off the shelf before you check prices/deals!!

4. Get Creative!**

Don't have a large budget? No worries! Check stores like TJMaxx and consignment shops. There are great antique stores and resale stores all over the area that sell things for much less than department stores. Or how about making gifts? A mason jar of cookies to your coworkers can mean more than the obligatory bottle of lotion or candle (and costs only pennies). Try wrapping your gifts in newspaper.

**Come back for more creative christmas ideas soon, I don't wanna give away all my tricks just yet :)

5. Plan ahead :)

It's hard in a season of giving to not let yourself go a little crazy (I'm the first to fall for this trap). But if we plan ahead we can really save a lot. It never fails that I am running out on Christmas eve to get that last gift or 2 and I always spend more than I ever should have on a pair of socks or a board game. You don't have to plan months and months ahead, but you can make sure you have everything planned out and bought before Christmas eve!

There's so much that can be done to save a little money this season. It's not about having a small budget or a large budget, it's more about simply setting your budget and sticking to it!

So, please share! How do you save money on Christmas?

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