Today's topic is holiday/birthday shopping. I know it seems a little early to be talking about shopping for Christmas but if you've not started already, you're already a little late, in my house. I like to be finished by Black Friday. I absolutely HATE shopping during the 4 weeks prior to Christmas. I get very stressed out over money or whether or not I'll be able to get what I want. I think I'd rather pull my teeth with a rusty set of pliers than shop during that time. Some people put money back in a Christmas club account and can't touch it until November. And that's a good idea for those that put back money and spend that. I would forget to put the money in the bank. So my return on that would be very small.
To save money for Christmas or birthday shopping is to figure out a spending limit and stick strictly to that. For me it's hard because Mr. V's birthday and my brother's birthday and my son's birthday are all in December. My son's being two days before Christmas and my brother's being two days after. So, I start early instead of doing a Christmas club account. I make a list of people that I'm going to buy/make gifts for. And I'm a firm believer in making gifts as well. One it's not nearly as expensive and sometimes it's more appreciated. I also have friends who LOVE to read. I can go to goodwill or my local salvation army and get really good books, in great shape for really cheap. And my friends who read LOVE it. Sometimes you can find really good book sales at the local library. Like for instance, for Father's day, Mr. V got several books that he really liked and a cup that Lil Mr. V decorated for him. The cup was on Mother's Day clearance for $2, and two of the books were found at the Salvation army and cost all of $1.50 and one book purchased at Barnes & Noble for nothing because it was on a "Buy 2 get 1 free" table. I found two books I wanted to read anyways, and got his free. So for Father's Day he got things that he loved for $3.50 plus he got a big breakfast and to spend time with us.
So, you can find some really great deals if you know where to look and how to look. You really need to know the person you're getting the gift for. I already have presents for most of the people on my gift giving list. I have a little bit more to get, but that's all coming. I am going to be making some of my gifts. Like I'm making my son a G.I. Joe quilt for Christmas. I'm going to be making bread recipe jars filled with the dry ingredients for those friends that really like my bread. I have books for my friends that love to read. All found at closeouts or second hand bookstores. I also have some jewelry that I'm going to be passing on to my niece. She's older now and more responsible. This jewelry will fit her hands now too. So far, I've spent $15 on Christmas. I expect to spend around $50 more before I'm completely finished.
So my advice is, set your limits. And work whatever method works for you. If it is spending a little here and there as you find great deals, do it that way. If you can't squirrel something away for that long because of lack of space or because you get too excited and give it away too soon. Then get the Christmas club account and buy later. Make use of layaway programs if the stores that you frequent offer it. But the MOST important thing is, set the limit, and don't over buy. I know that's hard when you have kids, but don't forget that others are buying for them too.