Are you tired of being broke at Christmas or right after Christmas? Are you wondering how you are going to afford it this year? Are you debating whether or not you buy your kids their new toys or pay the water bill? Are you tired of stressing every January over bills because you spent too much on Christmas? Or maybe you even used credit cards to purchase those gifts and now will be paying for them for months. I am here to tell you to stop stressing, stop overspending, and stop spreading yourself to thin over Christmas. With these simple tips I am going to share today you will be able to afford to give your kids a great Christmas, be done wrapping presents well before Christmas Eve, and afford to pay all of your bills.
You may think that I have completely lost my mind when I tell you that you should start planning next year’s Christmas NOW. Yes I know we are just now starting into the holiday season and you may be setting up your tree and getting ready for this year’s Christmas so you may be wondering why I would ever tell you to start thinking about next year’s Christmas when we haven’t even gotten through this year’s and here’s why.
As you are pulling out and setting up the decorations this year take note of things that are getting low (i.e. wrapping paper, tape, bows, gift boxes, bags, ect.). What are some things that you might need or want or maybe even things that need replaced (like that string of lights that you have had since you first moved out on your own or your tree). I also keep a stock of little stocking stuffer items that are non perishable so I look at that stuff too. Maybe you do a lot of holiday baking, how are your cookie cutters or parchment paper? Think of all your family traditions and things that you do and need every year and add it to your list. Now put that list in your purse or your wallet. Forget about it but don’t forget where you put it. We will come back to it.
Now throughout the holidays your first year of doing this, only buy the essentials. Don’t worry about what you wrote down on your list unless you are totally out of tape, well than you will need some for this year.
During the holidays (while everything and everyone is fresh on your mind) you are going to make another list. This list will consist of the people you purchase gifts for. You may include your work gift exchange or church gift exchange as well. Write how old the person will be next year next to their name (this helps me when I shop for all my nieces and nephews). Then once you have finished your list you should put it with your supplies list. Do you remember where you put it? Ok, good! You can pull both of these lists out throughout the holidays as you remember someone who you need to get something for or something that you need. Remember to ALWAYS put this back in your wallet or purse.
So far what I am telling you may sound like what you have already done in the years past, but stick with me and I promise your next year’s Christmas and holidays will go so much smoother.
Ok, gifts have been opened, food has been made and enjoyed. Christmas is over, right?
Oh, no. Not so fast!
As I mentioned in my Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday post last week I do not go Black Friday shopping buuuuuttt I DO go the day after Christmas shopping and here is why.
Do you remember those two lists I had you make? This is where they come into play!
If you can plan to leave the kids with the hubby, grandparents, or your friend. Let them sleep, you will thank me later. The morning after Christmas get up bright and early (we are talking 5 a.m. or earlier depending on when your stores open) and grab your list and grab a girlfriend or two and hit the stores for 50% off all things Christmas.
Now this is VERY, VERY important! Are you listening? STICK TO YOUR LISTS!
It is so easy to get caught up in the good deals or even the candy isle but remember if you don’t need it, it’s not a good deal!
You will want to focus on your list of wrapping stuff and decorations first because those tend to go the fastest. Was there a new Christmas tree on your list? You better head straight to them because those suckers are gone in seconds.
Here is my Christmas Tree Story- Last year we decided that we needed a new tree. You see we had our Christmas tree for about ten years and half the lights didn’t work and most of all this one looked kind of funny in our new house. You see the new house that we bought has tall vaulted ceilings and so it looked kinda small and pathetic in this big living room. Let me just tell you I got a steal of a deal on a 7.5ft pre-lit tree ($20)! So keep your eyes peeled for the steals, not just the deals.
Throughout the year keep your lists with you in your purse or wallet and cross things off as you find things in the store for each person on your list. With your list of people I suggest writing what you got for who next to their name so that when it comes time to wrap those presents up next year you know whose name to put on what. With this Christmas shopping method you are going to keep your eyes peeled all year-long for discounted and clearance items. I also suggest buying your kids clothes a size or two bigger than what they are currently in now (because we all know how kids grow). Stores drop prices when they are trying to move old inventory for the new inventory so you can get your kids winter clothes really cheap by buying them this way. They also discount toys, books, games ect. this way as well. There is always something new coming out so the stores are constantly moving their stuff out. Always try to keep in mind that it isn’t a deal if you don’t need it. By having your lists you will know exactly what you need all year round.
For items such as electronics you may get a better deal hitting those Black Friday deals but other than that I suggest shopping all year so that when it comes time to celebrate the holidays with your family you can actually relax and enjoy them. If you do this year, next year you will be less stressed, have more done, and still have money for your bills and necessities.
So remember 1. make your list as you decorate this year of what you need or want and deal with what you already have this year. 2. Make your list of people you buy presents for and keep this list with you all year. And above all enjoy your time with family next year!
What other tips and tricks do you use to cut spending and stress during the holidays? Leave me a comment below and let me know!
Until next time,