Aside from saving money on groceries and hygiene items by shopping with coupons, one of the other smart budget decisions I have made was to begin shopping in advance for Christmas, Anniversary and Birthday gifts. It didn’t make sense to me initially but since I’ve begun shopping this way, I’d never shop any other way.
With such a tight budget it seemed an almost unobtainable task at first, but with a plan anyone can be done with annual gift giving purchases months in advance.
Identify your gift giving events now. The most popular will be birthdays, anniversary’s and Christmas. However do you acknowledge teachers and secretary appreciation day? How about grandparent day? If so, write these events down. You can always alter this list later to add or delete events.
Make a list of gift recipients making sure to include non-family members as well. Everyone’s list will be different. Mine may include my mail carrier and newspaper delivery guy while yours includes your child’s teacher and bus driver. Non-family member gifts are the easiest to buy after the holidays when mugs, candles and gift baskets are marked down.
Brainstorm a gift list by jotting down items you’d like you gift recipients to have. These are usually things they don’t ask for such as PJ’s, books, etc. Now begin listening to family members when they mention items they need or would like to have. Write these request down. This list will help you decide whether or not to take advantage of a great deal.
Set a budget for each recipient or gift giving event decide on an annual gifting budget. I generate 50% of my gift giving budget from the income and rewards I generate through my affiliate links, market research, surveys and online rebates. The cash, gift cards and FREE gifts help to offset my out of pocket cost. Links to all of these resources can be found on my sidebars. Once you’ve decided on a budget you can set up categories such as immediate family, extended family, friends, etc. Your budget can now be divided amongst your categories making it easier to track your spending and remaining balances.
Use your gift list as a guide when deciding whether or not to take advantage of a bargain. Some bargains…such as FREE…are just to good to pass up, however no matter how good a CHEAP deal may be, it’s not a deal if you don’t need it. The purpose of the list is to help ensure that you don’t get carried away buying every deal. The easiest way to learn about the latest deals is to subscribe to my blog in a Feed Reader or Email. If you subscribe by email, be sure to look for an email confirming your subscription. You will not get update until you confirm your subscription.