Monday, 8 September 2014

Sorting Through the Present Stash

Before I begin, I apologise profusely for uttering the Christmas word so early in the year, but with Little Bird safely back at school and unable to peep, this week I decided to have a sort through the Christmas present stash, that I have been squirreling away since last January.   I realise that many people may think this a little strange, but in order to spread the cost of Christmas and keep costs down, I try to start my Christmas shopping in the January sales.  I then continue to pick up well priced bargains throughout the year, in the July sales or on-line sales, or even when I just see something that is perfect for someone when I'm out and about.

The suitcase that I've been collecting these things in has been almost full for a while now, but I haven't properly been keeping a record of the things I've bought and for whom I've bought them.  In an attempt to get a bit more organised before the Christmas present buying season is upon us, I decided that it would be a good idea to have a sort out, so that I know who I still have to buy presents for and whose presents were all bought and paid for.

It was quite interesting to see what I'd bought and stashed away.  There were some things that I'd forgotten about completely and a couple of things where I couldn't actually think of anyone to give them to.  (Goodness knows what I was thinking when I bought them).  They will be given as presents at some point, or used by myself, but I'm just not sure when and to whom as yet.  Admittedly, I do sometimes delve into the stash for the odd birthday present or thank you gift anyway, so some things never do actually get to their originally intended recipient.

Before going through the contents of the case, I made a list of everyone I needed to buy for and then as I went through noted down the approriate gifts against their names.  I then wrote out a separate list of names that I still need to buy for, that I haven't yet bought and tried to jot down a few ideas.  There were quite a few, but don't worry, I don't intend to start buying them just yet, as I can't afford it this month.  It does, however, help me to know what I need to look out for and it also helps to give me an idea of how much money I will need for Christmas present buying.  This in turn, can help me to plan my budget in advance and in this way, I hope not to end up with loaded credit cards or more on my overdraft than absolutely necessary.  I'm hoping to get most of this Christmas's shopping completely finished by the end of November, finances allowing.

I have been using this system of Christmas present buying for a good few years now and I find it really works for me.  Occasionally, I do make the mistake of buying the odd item of clothing without allowing sufficient room for growth in the year ahead. In such instances I usually just end up getting said items out and giving them to Little Bird to use before she outgrows them, but generally the system works pretty well.  It is also incredibly useful for those moments when you need a very last minute present for someone and don't have time to go out looking for something, as there is always usually something in the stash that will suit.

By using this system and sticking to good quality branded items, that I acquire in the sales, I usually find that the recipients are more than happy with their gifts and often I can buy them more for the  amount of money I allocate to spend.  Spreading the cost like this also helps to prevent me getting myself into too much debt at this very expensive time of year too.  How do you go about buying Christmas presents?

10 comments:

  1. At some point we will have to face the Christmas stuff put away in storage for the shop ... a shed full !

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  2. Ditto!!!!! I do my Christmas and present preparation the exact same way as you!!! I'm also currently up to the same stage as you ...trying to find some time to check through all that I've bought and work out what gifts still need to be purchased.

    I agree - it's a great way to spread costs throughout the year and to also reduce pre-Christmas stress (emotional and financial)!

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    1. Hi, thanks for your comment. I'm so relieved that I'm not the only person who prepares for Christmas this way and I agree it does reduce the emotional stress too, of worry what to get everyone in the run up to Christmas.

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  3. I used to buy gifts throughout the year, but now that I only need worry about four gifts I start a bit later.

    It is truly a great way to keep within your budget and still buy lovely gifts.

    God bless.

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    1. Hi Jackie, I think when my list gets shorter, which it will in coming years as children grow and become adults, (it is starting to already!), I will probably do as you do too.

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  4. I use to buy gifts through the year but always ended up giving them away before Christmas itself. We have a very small family so we don't have a lot to buy. I know what I am buying my MIL as she commented on a bird bath when we were at the garden centre and they have a sale on at the mo. I ALWAYS buy my SIL some sort og garden candle - this year she is having a new kitchen so I'll buy her something for that - her partner - bottle of southern comfort - nephews? Hmmmmm Hubby? TBO we like to go to Whitby have lunch and do the charity shops - always a fun day. So Christmas is sorted! lol!

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    1. Sounds like you've got it down to a tee.

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  5. We used to buy things for people throughout the year, but then I got the sense we were spending more but not noticing as we were doing it in dribs and drabs. For a few years after that we saved a few quid each month so we had a lump set aside.

    These days we just cashflow it, we know it's coming so just budget accordingly in October and November, then just do a power shop one day at the start of December.

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    1. I think you are probably right about spending more. I think I probably do a little, especially with regard to Little Bird. I think it just helps me feel a little more organised and less overwhelmed near Christmas.

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