Summer is here and December's holiday budget blues are the furthest thing from your mind. But now is exactly the right time to start planning for all that gift-shopping that usually waits until the end of the year. Why are holiday blues so common? Because we top-load our gift giving expenses all at once. A true savvy gift giver knows how to shop for the perfect personalized gifts all year long; stretching out their gift budget over months and taking opportunities when they arrive.
Today, we're here to share the best way to eliminate those holiday budget blues: Gift shopping all through the summer.
Make a List of Friends and Relatives
Start by making a list of everyone you plan to gift. Be honest with yourself about who you'll really see around the holidays to gift. Include young children in the family, exclude friends you don't visit anymore. If you feel inclined, redraft your list a few times. It is better to have a truly comprehensive list of people you plan to gift to than an inflated list or one that forgets important relatives.
Set a Gift Budget for Each
Beside each name, set a budget for how much you're planning to spend on them. Be generous but practical. It is traditional to spend more on your own children and on your closest relatives, then your second-tier relatives and your closest friends. Then more distant relatives and friends in rank for gifting budget. However, you know your loved ones and your own budget better than anyone. What you spend on each person is a very personal choice that only you can make.
Set a Monthly Gift Buying Budget
Next, calculate how much you can afford to spend on gift buying each month leading up to December. Then decide how much you are willing to spend on gift buying each month. Knowing this number is the key to avoiding the holiday budget blues, as you are essentially investing a little bit in gift-buying each month instead of doing all your buying on one or two months' budget.
Once you have set a monthly budget, decide whether to save or roll over any amount that you don't spend on early gifts in a month.
Keep An Eye Out for Perfect Gifts
Now that you've got a budget in mind and a Santa list to complete, it's time to get yourself in the gift-buying mood. All summer long, enjoy your time as you normally would but keep your eyes open. If you see the perfect Lacrosse set for your sporty nephew or the perfect antique record player for your hipster sister, pick them up when the getting is good!
Summer is full of unique buying opportunities from garage sales and flea markets to fundraisers and conventions. Based on the deep personal knowledge you have of your loved ones, your intuition will guide you to the perfect gifts. You'll know the right gift when you see it, no matter the time of year it appears.
Take Advantage of Summer Sales
If you have a lot of people to shop for, people you don't know very well, summer can also be the perfect time to get group gifts that everyone will like. The holidays are a time of gift boxes with cranked-up prices filling the shelves. But summer is all about changing out inventory and fast-paced sales. If you want a mega-pack of bath bombs and essential oils for every distant female relative, summer is a likely time to find that on sale.
Summer is a great time for store-wide sales, but you also never know when the right gift or pack of gifts will be on sale. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to buy both singular personal gifts and packs of gifts in bulk.
Organize Gifts for Wrapping Time
Finally, remember to carefully organize your early-bought gifts in the months leading up to December. When it's finally time, make sure the house is empty and lay everything out to encase in wrapping paper. With these techniques, you can conjure a giant pile of presents out of nowhere come holiday time without busting your bank account. For more everyday financial insights, contact us today!