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?