We want to help you save money on your gift-shopping spree this holiday season, so read on.
If you are a regular here at our blog, you know what's the first thing we're going to say about this: make lists and determine what your budget is before embarking on your gift-shopping adventure. It's true. We always say "make a list", and there's a reason for that: lists are an amazing tool.
Making lists enables you to figure things out. As you're making the list, things will pop up in your head that you hadn't considered. That's exactly what they're for. Another important thing lists provide is a visual reference: at a glance, you can see how much you've already accomplished and what's still pending. Last but not least, lists aid you in organizing and better understanding your data: Categorizing. Categories make you efficient. Efficiency saves time and money.
1. Making Lists and Categorizing
A good way to figure out how many presents you need to buy is to make a list of names. Once you've got the names down, you can start to sort them out in terms of what social circle they belong to. Kin goes separate from the office (that is in case you do give gifts to people from work). School is another thing to consider: how many teachers does your kid have? Do you think you could get a little something for them? A small detail to remind them that you appreciate their effort. Another great thing to do is to think of people often overlooked like... say you live in a big building where there's a doorman (or doorwoman). Do you think you could get something for him (or her) too? That small detail will make a big difference to them. It could be something as simple as a small but delicious chocolate.
See, not all gifts are the same, and small details go a long way, so we recommend you think about that too.
Remember that this time of the year is especially magical for kids, so their presents have to be very well thought of. There are two big factors determining the amount and quality of the gifts that you can get: time, and money.
There are gifts that take time. There are gifts that take money. There are gifts that take both. Several categories should be made: age group, social circle, how much money you're allowed to spend, and how much time. Sorting what you need to get in these categories will go a long way in helping you determine what you can get them.
2. Determining Your Budget
So you've got your list of people and you've got some idea of what to give to each of them. Now it's time to make estimates. Making good estimates is easy: set a standard price for things and then go out there and hunt for great deals.
How do you know what the standard price of something is? Well, Amazon and Walmart are a great place to start. You don't need to leave the comforts of your home and they're big enough that, if you don't find a great deal anywhere, you know you can count on them to supply. Have them be both your reference and your last resort.
There will be some blanks left on your list. You're not necessarily going to know what you're gonna get everybody. For some, you'll just go out there and keep an eye out for something that you think they'd like or that reminds you of them. That's alright. Just make sure that when you see this thing, you look for it online as well and compare prices.
Leave some wiggle room. Your budget should be greater than your estimates. If you can't afford what's on your list, it's time to make those hard decisions: cutting heads or getting less expensive things for other people. It's your call.
3. Start your Amazon Prime Free Trial
If you're not an Amazon Prime member and you're likely going to be buying some of your gifts online, don't pay for shipping, and don't wait a bunch of days for your things to arrive: start your amazon prime 30-day free trial. It will save you a ton on shipping and it will make things run more smoothly.
If you've already used your 30-day free trial, consider getting Amazon Prime anyway. It might still be cost effective just by deducting shipping. Plus, you'll get amazon prime, which might like, you might not like, but you'll never know unless you try. It's just a nice way to save money and expand your streaming services for a while. Then again, you might decide to keep it.
4. Don't Buy on Impulse
Make every purchase a conscious decision in which you at least did a google search to compare prices. Never buy anything without comparing. That's how you get duped: making uninformed decisions. That's a not a good look for anybody. So go online, shop and compare before you buy.
Oh and one more thing...
5. Stick to Your Budget
Having set up a budget is no use if you don't stick to it. Stick to it.