Christmas shopping season!!!
Christmas shopping becomes my hobby in the winter. No joke. I treat it like my hardcore hobby. It might as well be my second job. I start early and do my research. I'll look at every ad between now and when I buy my last present. I have a long list. A big family. I have to make my dollars count.
I start by making a detailed list of who to shop for. Then I write possible gift ideas next to each person's name. I'll go through a couple lists a season because I like my lists up to date.
This list is very important. Why you ask? Because this is where I admit my budget. We (or I) spend an average of $10 per person. That's an average. So some gifts cost a bit more and some a bit less but on the average $10. This is why my shopping is treated like a hobby. My goal is to spend $10 but it can't look like $10. So I start early and shop often.
I actually start the day after Christmas. I like to put ornaments or cookie cutters on everyone's package. The BEST time to stock up on this is the day after Christmas. I know how many I need and I buy accordingly. So I already have this year's stash.
I will also admit sometimes I go over budget. Like last year our niece HAD to have a pair of pjs even though we had already bought her gift. And then her uncle had to add something else to it also. But as a rule we do well sticking to our plan.
This new hobby of mine came about out of necessity when Mark was laid off a few years ago. Our income was cut by over half and I refused to cut out Christmas. But now it's fun. When you have a budget of ten dollars you have to get creative. You have to get out there and SHOP. You can't wait until the last minute to shop or you'll get junk. I think each gift I get now is more meaningful than when we had no budget. I put a lot of effort into making sure I get the perfect gift. I feel good about each gift I wrap and put under my tree.
So I start cutting coupons early and I horde ads like it's my job.
I also take a day off work so I can shop the day after Thanksgiving. I'll get up early (or not go to bed at all :) ) and hit the sales running! I'll have my stash of coupons and my handful of ads that will be marked with bright colored sticky notes as to what I'm looking for at each stop. I'll brief those in my car about what to search for and we'll divide and conquer. I have a job to do and crowds WON'T get in my way. I'll have granola bars in my purse and a mug of hot chocolate in my cup holder. There is NO stopping a girl and her budgeted Christmas list.
I'm already stalking the Black Friday web sites in anticipation. My first draft of my list is made and in my purse. I have four gifts already bought and I'm itching to buy more.
Let the shopping begin!!