Ok, it is 98 degrees in California so I realize Christmas isn’t top of mind right now for most people. It is already September though and Christmas is less than four months away. When my husband and I decided to get serious about becoming debt free last year, one item that was slashed off our annual budget was gifts. We used to spend a significant amount every year on holidays, birthdays, weddings- the list goes on and on. One of my biggest challenges was to continue to be generous with gifts on a frugalista’s budget. Last year we spent less than $100 total on Christmas yet we still had an abundance of thoughtful gifts under the tree.
One way I manage to stick to such a small budget is by planning ahead. Seriously ahead. I typically make a list in January by month of events (such as birthdays) and I also make a complete Christmas list of all the family members we exchange gifts with. Then as I find deals throughout the year at incredibly low prices I tuck them away. I am not a spectacularly organized person but this method works for me not only to stay on budget, but also so I can avoid horrific holiday crowds.
Believe it or not I have almost all of our Christmas shopping already done! I would encourage you to start thinking about the holiday season and take advantage of the incredible sales we are seeing to start planning ahead.
If you need inspiration here are the types of things I already have set aside:
::ELF Cosmetics– (I got this today!) $13 for $75 in products- I will divide this up as gifts for my girlfriends.
::Stainless Steel Coffeepot and Gourmet Coffee– (My Mother in Law mentioned needing a new coffee pot and when this one came along at $14 I jumped!) The 3 bags of gourmet coffee or teas for $3 would also make a great gift along with homemade biscotti.
::Toy Sales and Clearance finds HERE and HERE
And all the great freebies that come along throughout the year like the Glade Candles and the Aveda body product -all of these make great additions to gift baskets. Just like the relief you get when opening a well stocked pantry on a night you are too busy to plan dinner, having a gift closet can be such an easy way to eliminate the stress of racing out for a last minute gift. I have forgotten my share of events in the past (like last week) and being able to put together a lovely gift in just a few minutes is such a relief.