I was honored to be a guest on Good Morning Texas this morning. Talk about pulling myself as far out of my comfort zone as I can get! But, all in all, it was a great experience and it showed me a new side of media. Plus, I was able to really sit down and think about where I should be in my holiday shopping.
Planning Ahead for Holiday Shopping
No matter how much holiday shopping you have to do, it always helps to be smart and plan ahead. I have my own 5 kids plus my 5 nephews and 1 niece to buy for.
That takes some organization as I try to determine what everyone wants and who is going to get what from me, my parents, or my siblings. Therefore, these are the steps we take when planning ahead for holiday shopping:
- Make lists – We have all 11 kids sit down and write out their Christmas lists. We then make copies and pass them out. This way we can have them with them each time we shop, can mark off the things we buy in a tangible way, and then update each other as we buy. My mom, sister, and I keep in constant contact during the shopping season to avoid making duplicate purchases… thus meaning less returns later.
- Layaway – I am a BIG fan of layaway services. When Walmart brought back layaway for the holidays a few years ago it helped our holiday shopping budget tremendously. For us, being able to pay a little at a time is a great help. Not to mention, with curious, sneaky kids in the house, it helps keep presents hidden until time for wrapping. Most layaway programs end a week or two before Christmas, but that means we can pick up the gifts, get them wrapped, and under the tree right away.
- Watch sales ads – I begin getting Black Friday ads in early October; some as early as September. In fact, all of the big toy catalogs are already out. We collect the catalogs and have the kids go through and circle items they want and write their names next to things. These can then be compiled onto our lists and gives us a great idea of what the kids are looking for this year. There are several Black Friday websites that will scan each ad, email you when they are posted, and let you know when the sale prices are live. We seek out the bigger items on our lists, compare prices, and then determine which purchases will wait for Black Friday. We are normally finished with shopping by Black Friday as we pick up our last few items at the early morning sales… or online throughout the week before as well as after. Cyber Monday is perfect for online shopping deals.
What mistakes can you make?
- Not planning ahead. My brother is the perfect example of a last minute, no-planning shopper. The kids usually end up with either gift cards or cash… which they really do not mind. But, if you want something more than that make sure to plan early and budget wisely.
- Assuming the stores will still have the items you want on Christmas Eve. Popular items will not sit on shelves forever. There are those that buy what they know is going to be a hot item and take advantage of the last minute, desperate shoppers. You then end up paying twice as much (often more) for that toy that our child absolutely must have. No fun for you or your pocketbook.
There you have it! Basically, get organized and plan ahead! Organization as you shop will go a long way in the long run and you will be grateful for it later!