(The above image was created by me via Picmonkey.com for the purpose of this post.)
Let’s be honest … as festive and as fun-filled as the holidays are, tis the season to be both stressful and expensive. Because of this I feel that more often than not we tend to lose sight of what is important and tend to focus too much on all those stresses.
So, as part of my guide to Christmas, I am going to share some tips and tricks with you to help you stress less, enjoy the holiday season more, and keep some money in your pocket.
It is before the holiday season even approaches that the holiday planning even begins. The most important thing, I think, is to start your gift giving with making a list of everyone you are planning on purchasing for. Once you have an idea of how many people you will be shopping for, and who you are giving to, it’s time to officially start planning the perfect gift!
During the year I listen to my friends and family for any gift ideas. I listen to see if they tell me about a new hobby they have taken up or want to take up, I listen about their newly discovered favorite things. Basically I take hints and cues from them. This helps me put together a gift custom-made specifically for them.
Picking up hints and cues along the way truly helps me. For example, when my bestie took up knitting I made it my business to, not only support her in her new hobby, but help her grow her skills. And the way I did that was I bought her a knitting book so she could make tiny, cute things.
Besides being a big help to me, I feel that these hints and cues that I gather and store throughout the year, they help me make a perfectly customized gift.
I am a firm believer in gift giving as a whole. I absolutely love giving to my loved ones. And when I give a gift, I put a lot of thought and effort into it. I feel that a gift should be given for all the right reasons – not out of obligation or because you are looking for something in return. Listening helps me give them something I’d be happy giving. And I feel that it tells the person I am giving to how much I love and care for them.
Once I have thought of the perfect Christmas gift, I have to think of budget. As I said before the holiday season (I think) is probably the most expensive time of year. And with so many people to buy for – from family to friends to coworkers – it all adds up.
So how do I budget? First and foremost I set a spending amount. Yes, I set a price as if it were a grab bag. If I don’t set a budget for myself things will get out of hand. If you are in my close circle (my BFF, my besties, etc.) I tend to spend up to $50.00. If you are a family member I spend about $75.00 give or take. That is, with the exception of my parents . I admit, I’m an only child – my parents have spoiled me for so long. Now that I am an adult and have money of my own, it’s my time to spoil them. After all, they deserve it.
With ideas filling my head, and a spending limit set I start researching! Yes, I research … I can’t help it, it’s the librarian in me! I research first and foremost where I can buy the gifts I want to give. When I’ve figured that out I start to research where the most cost-effective place to buy said gift is. It’s not about getting the cheapest gift, it’s about getting the biggest bang for my buck. Because if I find the perfect gift for a cheaper price, I can give a little more!
On the budget note, I feel it’s important to note that I DO NOT include any wrapping or gift trimmings in my budget. Reason being is because I tend to buy one (very large) role of wrapping paper and use it for everyone I’m giving a gift to.
So, the quick and dirty version:
- Make a list of who you are giving to
- Listen and brainstorm ideas for the perfect gift
- Set a spending budget (one that doesn’t include wrapping/trimmings)
- Research the best places to get the most bang for your buck.
- Give the best gift you possibly can give!
I hope this post helps you guys. Please share with me some of your tips and tricks for your preseason, pre-game planning!