Filling the area under your Christmas tree requires foresight and planning, especially if you are on a tight budget. Over the many years I have discovered that if you are trying to buy all your presents in December or November then you have waited too long. I start holiday shopping as soon as Christmas ends which allows an entire year of small purchases that add up to a sizable stockpile of presents. Throughout the year I also keep an eye out for good sales which can stretch those holiday funds even further. Follow these helpful guidelines and you’ll be on your way to avoiding the crazy holiday shopping rush.
Shop all year round
When my wife and I first started buying presents for our children it was a mess. We spent hours in toy stores and waded through crowds of people to spend more money and effort for one present than we would have if we had bought it earlier in the year. My income is not very large either so usually the children would end up with one present a piece under the tree. Now I spend a little each month and grab a toy here or something to put in a stocking there and before I know it my Christmas shopping is done with plenty of time to spare.
Keep an eye out for good deals! I regularly look through clearance aisles and my wife goes to yard sales on some weekends, both can result in some pretty spectacular presents at only a fraction of the cost. Do be careful as some “sales” are just inflated prices set back to their original asking price. If a deal seems “too good to be true” then some research may be necessary. I compare prices from different stores, and sometimes I see that a store may be having a “sale” on a particular item which is the same price (or sometimes more) than other stores’ regular price. There are good deals out there; I have bought $100 toys for only $30 by shopping smart.
Stuffing the Stockings
The stocking is great, because realistically no one expects to find something like a large T.V. inside. Small novelty toys and candies can easily fill these stockings without too much expense. Candy always goes on sale after Halloween, so I grab the non-Halloween specific candies and save them for this. If your children are young enough like mine, then a trip to a dollar store or similar discount stores can yield a full stocking in no time!
Christmas is a great time of year but very stressful and expensive. A little planning now will save you many headaches later. The year-long effort is always worth it when I see my children’s faces light up on Christmas. I would brave the hectic malls and crazy last minute shoppers for them, but I am definitely glad I do not have to.