The Holidays season can be a stress. Can be, but doesn’t HAVE to be. Not if you have a system to handle it. Here is my system adjust it as you will. Please note, this list is for online shopping, not for in store. But the tip still can be used for that way.
First things first…
photo from Joseph Jayanth
Take Inventory and Get A Lay Of The Land
Here is something I do, not only for the holidays but also for birthdays, anniversaries and out of the blue surprises. As I am around family and friends throughout the year, I pay attention to their wants and needs. As they mention potential gift ideas or I notice some, I put the item name into an app on my phone so I will always have it with me for when I spot a deal. I use the app Gift List, but you can use whatever app you want. The most important thing is that you have a list going so you don’t forget when you need it.
Next, take a look at the Black Friday ads and plan out a strategy. I usually like to do this a few days before Black Friday. You can find ads in the Sunday paper, or, you can visit places like Amazon and get a sneak peek. Sometime subscribing to your favorite store like Walmart via email will allow you to get a first look on what they will have on sale. Either way try your best to create a game plan before you go shopping. It can save you money so you don’t miss out on deals. It can also save you stress because you won’t be overwhelmed by all the available deals you can find the day of.
Make A List and Check It Twice
Once I have a list of the gifts I need and where I am going to go to get them I will check the sales price against the current price on the store’s website. That way I am not doped into a so called sale where I’m not really saving money.
Also, I will go through my list one more time just so I know I am not missing any body. Plus, I will take a look at my Christmas card list and make sure I know how many cards I will need. Because, as you will see below, there are some pretty good deals on them this Holiday weekend.
One final note. I know I am saying Black Friday weekend. That is because most deals online aren’t just for Friday. Most deals extend into the weekend and peek on Cyber Monday. Some even end on Cyber Monday or the week after. I don’t wait that long. I prefer to get all of my shopping done on Black Friday. That way, I know my gifts are on the way, I am done Christmas shopping, and I can go about enjoying the rest of my Holiday season. The Holiday weekend can get really busy with family and friends and I have missed deals just because I simply forgot to order before they ended.
Your decision on that one. Just a word of advice.
Oh, and opt for the gift wrapping option. It has saved me a lot of time and energy and the packaging is REALLY pretty. Budget it in. It’s not that much more.
Black Friday Isn’t Just For Christmas Gifts
I don’t only shop for presents on Black Friday weekend. In fact, here are the other things I will shop for and will actually budget for in my Holiday spending money:
Christmas Cards- On Black Friday weekend you can get them for up to 50% at places like Shutterfly, Walgreens, and Tiny Prints. Tiny Prints will even ship your Christmas cards off for you. Which I LOVE. That’s why I use them.
If you choose not to get your cards shipped off for you, that is cool, you can get them as soon as an hour later at Walgreens or a day or two later from Shutterfly. Either way, your Christmas cards can be addressed quickly (print addresses off of your computer and onto address labels) and out the next day. Bam! One more Christmas to do off of your list.
Photo Albums and Photo Gifts- Again you can get these made at Shutterfly and Walgreens and get them for as much as 50% off. I have seen some really awesome photo gifts and they make for some great gifts for Grandparents.
I like to create Photo Books to document my families adventures or everyday life and hold onto them until I see them giving a 50% off deal like this one throughout the year. Then I order the book.
Contact Lenses- Here is another one where deals are given throughout the year but the deals are really good on Black Friday weekend. Walgreens is where I saw a really great deal this year. Up to 50% off!
Household Items, Electronics, Movies and Television Series- I am sure most people know about the awesome deals you can get on electronics and household goods throughout Black Friday weekend. But did you know you can also get some really great deals on your favorite movies, music or television series? Throughout the year, I make a list of the movies I love and want to buy, then wait until Black Friday weekend to get them. Saves me a bundle! When it comes to deals on this one, it is a toss up between Walmart and Amazon for the best prices.
Kids clothes and winter coats- Now, this far into the season you might already have a winter coat for you and your child. But this Holiday, I was able to get an additional coat for my son. And, a petticoat jacket at that! I got the coat, two pairs of pants, gloves and some shirts all for 40% off at Old Navy.
Last but not least…
Don’t Forget About Prints- I will sometimes send pictures to family or friends and even print off some pictures from throughout the year at this time because I can get really great deals on them. At Walgreens I was able to get my prints for $.10 (that’s $7.50 for 75 prints) . You can use the same code for up to 5 times. Don’t know the code? You can check their website or you can use Ebates to look up any promotion code plus get cash back.