For the first time in my adult life, I am done shopping. It’s a Christmas miracle. However, I don’t have many friends that are done and my dad and mom certainly aren’t. My husband will be joining my dad on his annual Christmas Eve shopping marathon.
Since so many of you are still shopping through the weekend, here are some tips for your last minute shopping.
1. Don’t rush! Yes, you’ve waited until the last minute to shop, but that doesn’t mean to need to shop quickly. You still have time to check pricing at other stores and shop smart. Rushing will only cause you to spend more.
2. Don’t hope for large ticket items. It may still be possible to get them, but special order items like appliances won’t be in before Christmas. Any special gifts that need engraving or resized may not be ready as well, so don’t put all your eggs in that basket.
3. Look for sales. It’s not after Christmas yet, but we are getting close enough that you’ll find some sales. Yesterday I needed candy for a present and it was already on clearance, SCORE! We saw a lot of Christmas items that had already been marked down. It’s definitely worth your time to try and find some.
4. Avoid impulse gifts. I didn’t do this yesterday and although my husband will like it, it was totally impulse and we didn’t need it. Impulse buys are MUCH easier when you are feeling desperate.
5. Gift cards. Seriously though, Christmas is not about stressing out. It’s about spending time with the people you love. If Christmas shopping last minute will stress you out and take away from the joy of the season, just pick up some gift cards and call it good!
Merry Christmas all you Thrifty Divas!
The average family budget for Christmas is $749.51. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a lot of money. We are always trying to cut corners on Christmas while still enjoying the season and letting everyone enjoy the spirit of giving and receiving. Here are some things we’ve done over the years to cut back.
1. We got a fake tree! It feels blasphemous to even say it, but two years ago we scrapped the tree. First of all, our tree was always dead and ugly by Christmas. It never failed. I guess we are just bad tree taker carers. Who knows? Regardless we were spending $40-$80 on a fresh cut tree. After Christmas we found an amazing deal on a fake tree. We paid $50 for a tree that will easily last us several years. Are real trees an absolute in your family? You can get them cheaper by cutting them down yourself if you live in an area where that’s possible and you get the correct permits. In our area, a permit costs around $10!
2. Nix the Christmas cards. Although you can get pretty cookie cutter cards from places like Wal-Mart and Costco, the postage is still an issue. We were sending out 100 a year and at least tacking on an extra $75-$100 to our Christmas cost. This year we decided to nix them and just send a generic Facebook greeting card. I will miss the cards we receive after sending ours out, but it will help us out. Honestly those close family members would probably rather a phone call anyway.
3. Draw names for gifts. My husband has a rather large family with lots of nieces and nephews. Instead of buying for them all, we’ve decided to draw names and our family buys 4 gifts instead of 30! We also all pool our money together for a big present for the in-laws. Instead of them getting 4 smaller gifts, we can get them one big one.
4. Give gifts that people want. This is probably based more on principle, but I’d rather spend money on something that a person is actually going to use rather than something they would throw away or regift. Ask around and get specifics.
What are you doing to save money on Christmas?
Christmas is coming quickly and a great way to be prepare budget wise is to plan ahead. But other than planning, have you thought much about making extra money other ways that can go toward Christmas presents? Now is the time to start thinking about it. Now is the time to start thinking about ways to earn extra money for Christmas so you don’t go into debt. Here are some tips from Thrifty Divas about how you can make extra money to pay for Christmas presents and not have to load your credit card up with debt.
1. Sell things you don’t use. Have a garage sale if you can and use that money specifically to buy Christmas presents. It’s like spending nothing on those new items.
2. Get a seasonal part time job. There are tons of places that hire seasonal workers. You usually don’t have to work crazy hours or anything, they just need extra hands. It’s a good way to learn new things and meet new people too.
3. Get a paper route. Paper routes have changed since you were a kid, but newspapers are always looking for people to take a route. It’s usually early in the morning and before you would normally go to work so you wouldn’t have to change jobs, but it will bring in a few $100 extra dollars.
4. Work for UPS or FedEx. They both hire a lot of driver helpers during the holiday season. They pay well and the hours are good. My husband did it one year.
5. Deliver phone books. These have to go out and there aren’t employees who do it. The companies usually just hire temps to do the delivering. Usually you get paid per phonebook and it’s a fun thing to do with a group of friends.
What are you doing to make extra money for Christmas?
Yes, I said the C word and we aren’t even out of summer. But seriously, it’s time to plan. I hate the pressure you get in December from all the money you have to spend. So we are doing our part now to spend small amounts every month until then. Then once December rolls around, we’ll have less pressure and can really just enjoy our time together.
Here are a few tips to Christmas shopping now.
1. Buy on-sale clothes NOW. There are tons of summer clothes on sale right now. I LOVE getting summer clothes for Christmas because then when summer arrives, you already have a whole new wardrobe.
2. Starting now gives you time for homemade gifts. Hopefully none of my relatives are reading, but I am giving everyone pickles. Yep, pickles! My pickles are seriously famous and you know what, you can’t make them in the winter. So, I make them now and they are ready to go for old Saint Nick!
3. Buy out of season gifts. The hard thing about Christmas being in the winter is that there are certain gifts you just can’t get during that season. Buying things now will diversify your gifts and will help you give more unexpected gifts. I bet your husband wouldn’t be expecting some new BBQ tools now would he?
4. Remember where you hide your gifts. One year my mom forgot my stocking because she had it put together so early, but forgot where she hid it. Sad Christmas for me, but it was fun several months later getting my stocking 🙂 Don’t be like that if you Christmas shop early, remember where you hide your stash!
In the same way that Black Friday shopping required some planning, the best after Christmas shopping also requires a bit of strategy.
What is it that you wish you had either for decorations or preparation in the last few weeks? Last year, I noticed quite a few houses started putting ornaments on the trees in their front yard. I thought they were adorable. However, they were pricey. They, as a result, were on the top of my post-Christmas shopping list. I ended up getting them for 75%. Though, I ended up getting colors that I didn’t like. However, it’s nothing that a small can of $3 silver spray paint couldn’t fix 🙂
Also, items like holiday decorated tins to use for baked goodies for next year. Those are on my list every year! Why pay full price when I can pay a fraction of the price for adorable, easily stored tins that will be just as good next year?
I know people who do some of their Christmas shopping AFTER Christmas. So, gifts and even things like ornaments that could be gifts for next year. Also, children’s Christmas clothes for next year. You’ll have to anticipate sizes. But, usually prices are so good that even if your child is too big for the size you purchase, it would make a great gift item next year for someone else.
Be sure to do a little bit of homework before hitting the mall. Just like Black Friday, you want to make sure you target the best deals.
Plan A Route
Make a route to the stores you want to hit based on a prioritized list. For example, you’d like to get some holiday children’s clothes but you really need decorations or a new holiday table cloth. Be sure to go the store(s) with the decorations first. That way, if you miss out on any deals, it’s not because you went after the children’s clothes first. There’s no guarantee that you get everything you want. But, for me, it helps a little bit to know that I started with a good game plan. I can’t help how many people get there before I do, but I can help my own plan of action.
Do you have any other strategies to survive post-Christmas shopping?
If you are like me and have family your immediate family around 2500 miles away, shipping can get very expensive very fast. However, there are tons of stores offering free shipping around this Christmas time. Here’s a list of a few of the most popular stores. Just remember before you shop to check out places that offer free shipping. It can save you quite a bit.
Free shipping on all orders plus up to 50% off Outerwear.
Click here for details. Discount will be applied at checkout.
Free shipping on orders of $50 or more.
Free Shipping on orders of $100 at VictoriasSecret.com. Use offer code SHIPVS11
Free shipping on select items plus $7 off $70+ order.
There are some restrictions on this one. Click link for details and to begin shopping.
Free shipping on orders of $69 or more.
Free shipping on all orders.
There are some rules on this one too.
Free shipping on orders of $49 or more.
Up to $20 in shipping costs.
Get free super saver shipping when you spend $25 or more.