Just the right time to start planning your family holiday shopping.
There are several reasons to start thinking about your holiday shopping early. You can avoid the stress of last-minute shopping and you can save money by finding some items at lower prices. Finally, once the holiday season is here, why should you do anything else but enjoy precious time with the people you love? Here are some reasons for you to start planning your family holiday shopping now and some smart ways to do it.
Make a list
Before you even think about specific presents and your budget, you should make a list of people you want to give presents to. For most of us, that list changes with time. Yes, it’s a lovely gesture to give something nice to your postman or your kids’ teachers, but you shouldn’t go all out just because other people are doing it. Figure out who is important enough to get a present for you and who it is that you want to make happy. If you’re unsure, just imagine the faces of the people on your list when they open their presents. If their happiness will cheer you up as well, then the presents will be in the right hands. If not, strongly consider crossing that person off your list. Also, as soon as the list is complete, assign each name a present, so that you know what you’re getting for each of them, so that you can move on to the next phase of planning – the budget.
Set a limit on your budget
As soon as you make the list of people and their designated gifts, set a budget you can stick to. Think about how much you can spend on each present. It’s ok to spend more on your immediate family and closest friends than on your co-workers or some distant relatives you only see once a year. This is where planning the holiday shopping early comes in handy. Instead of waiting for late December and having to drown in debt for months to come, you can actually start saving some money each month, or simply start buying the presents now. You can choose to buy a present every week between now and the holidays or simply set aside the amount of money for particular presents whenever you can. Having enough time provides you with the much needed financial flexibility, so make the best of it.
Choose the gifts smartly
One more thing that you can do when you’re not in a rush is to find a way to give people exactly what they want and like. You can get what they hope for out of them, without them even knowing what you’re doing. Learn what your children and close family members want and try to get them just that. If you can’t, it’s still ok. You can always get them a adorable customized gift cards with some cash on it, so that they can buy whatever they want with it. Also, not everybody longs for expensive things and the latest fads. Some people in your proximity will be grateful and even thrilled if you made them a gift yourself. Another thing you can do is give somebody your time instead of buying them a present. For example, your grandaunt or the cousins you don’t get to see often enough might enjoy spending an afternoon with you, having lunch or a cup of coffee.
When you leave a wide enough time frame to do your holiday shopping, you can go online, find what you need and like and order it early enough. This is practical for several reasons. Firstly, you can save on postal charges if your order doesn’t have to be delivered to you overnight. Secondly, if what arrives isn’t exactly what you expected to get, you have enough time to return it. Thirdly, this kind of shopping gives you the chance to address the delivery to your office, so as to avoid curious looks and questions from your kids or other family members. You don’t want them to know their presents are in the house, or to see what the presents are too soon. Just be sure your online purchases are safe and that your gifts weren’t damaged during transport.
Non-gift related shopping
Holidays are the time for families to get together, which means huge meals, decorations and nice clothes. What you can do now is get a party outfit, before all the good pieces are sold. Also, you should make the holiday menu in advance, make a list of all the ingredients you’ll need and start buying them now. You can buy the canned and dried food up to several months ahead, or you can even freeze some items to last until December. The same applies to drinks, especially wine and spirits, which you can buy any time of the year. As far as the perishable foods are concerned, buy them at least two days before the dinner, to avoid crowded supermarkets and shops. Plus, if you want to order food, such as cake or meat, do it no later than the beginning of December, as the suppliers might not be able to take your order if you’re late.
All things considered, it’s definitely not too early to plan your holiday shopping. So, if you haven’t started already, get to it right away, since you’ve got no time to waste.