Hi guys! Chantelle here, I must say, it’s been quite the summer. We camped, we swam, we vacationed, we rode roller coasters and we soaked up the sun! My kids have returned back to school this week and so for us summer is now the past. Are you still enjoying summer? I’d love to hear how your summer went or if you are still enjoying it, what will be your last “shabang” before school starts? Click here to let me know!
With the transition to “Back To School”, and retail stores beginning to bring in Halloween costumes, sweaters and jackets for cold weather … I couldn’t help but think to myself that Christmas, my favorite time of year, will be here before we know it. Yeah sure it’s August, but in a blink of an eye … we will writing out our holiday to-do-list and shaking our heads on why we didn’t properly budget for the holiday season. So in this blog post, I will be giving you 5 tips on how you can save, plan and prepare for your holiday shopping! It’s never to early to get started! Here we go …
Lists & Strategy Planning for Each Month
If you are like our family and you have to stick to a budget each month, then you know making a list or putting a strategy together on how you will achieve everything you need to, starts with budgeting. If you split out holiday shopping from September through November, then you won’t feel like you wiped out your savings all in December! After your normal budget is complete, come up with 2-3 gifts you would like to purchase for that month. Put a specific dollar amount aside for those gifts. This may take some creativity if your normal budget doesn’t allow much wiggle room, but better 2-3 gifts or even 1-2, then 10 all at once.
Be Resourceful, check your wallet for gift cards or coupons that are sitting and waiting to be used!
If you were gifted a gift card, but never used it – this can be a great way to save yourself the cash and use that gift card to purchase a gift for someone on your list. I know, it’s sort of re-gifting, but in a way, it’s smart. How many coffee mugs do you need from Starbucks? Instead, wouldn’t you be able to purchase your student’s teacher a nice coffee mug or use the balance of a Target gift card or Old Navy card towards your nieces and nephews or your own children? Movie tickets for a Secret Santa Exchange? Crate and Barrel for your sister-in-law? Take advantage of rewards points, Cartwheel coupons at Target, Promo sales where possible, but only where it fulfills the purpose, not for extra shopping! This is key! What’s in your wallet?
Get Creative With Gift Giving!
This can mean a number of things, from being super crafty and making gifts, to deciding to bake something for someone. Making gifts are many times often less costly and are usually more personal. I tend to feel more special when people actually take the time to make or create something for me. If you have a gift of baking, bake a pie or cookies! If you crochet, make a blanket, beanie or scarf for a loved one! Own those God given talents and use it for good! My sister crocheted my two boys elf hats last year and I absolutely went crazy for them! These are gifts that can be done at home, meaning you don’t have to deal with the hustle and bustle and your material costs is really the main cost, some of which you might have already!
Consider Shopping Online For Loved Ones Far Away
I learned this the hard way. Last year I bought things in a store and then shipped them myself for my friend’s little boy. Big no no! The shipping cost was almost more than the gift itself! When gifting for those who are not local to you, it’s smart to utilize the convenience of online shopping. Shop on a Monday, and many online retailers have additional discounts. The best Monday to shop would be “Cyber Monday“, the Monday after Thanksgiving but retailers even have some discounts on any normal Monday as well. Retailers use the Cyber Monday idea to drive sales because typically it is a slow day for shopping in general as people shop more heavily on the weekends. You can find discounts from 30%-40% off usually! If you hit a certain dollar point, you can also score free shipping. If you are a Amazon Prime member then you know the free 2 day shipping feature and also Walmart also has the same benefit now too! Happy online shopping and again straight from your home without the hustle and bustle! Do not shop for yourself, stay focused and remember your purpose and budget!
Do Something for Humanity!
Okay so this tip is a little bit different. I’m inspired this year to do something that gives back to the community! Volunteering doesn’t cost money so why not give your time to something that matters this holiday season? I recently volunteered for Open Heart Kitchen where I helped to serve food for the elderly. It felt good to give back. How have you volunteered lately? This year, I am inspired by a good friend of mine, my dear friend Lacey and owner of Pleasanton House Cleaning Co. Lacey runs her business by day but her heart is truly with the homeless and giving back. Every holiday season, she partners with a local church, gathers up volunteers and feeds a large part of the local homeless community by providing a warm Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. It’s selfless, it shows the grace and love for others and I bet she makes an impact that lasts a lifetime on those families each year. So what will you do to make a difference this holiday season? I would love to hear! Shoot me a note here.
I hope you find these tips helpful! Now, let’s do some planning, saving and shopping! For tips on Back To School, click here. To read about my Christmas last year, click here. To read about Easter, click here. Thank you for reading my blog! Xo, Chantelle