WHAT: CHRISTMAS SHOPPING PREP!
1. Organization is the key to a successful life. Okay, we made that up...but, organization does make your life run a little more smoothly and who doesn't like smooth!
2. Budget...Let's get real, friends. We live in a world with limited resources (and if you don't; would you like to be Your Merry Mailbox's sponsor? ;)), and we all need to be wise money managers and track our expenses, including Christmas presents.
3. Yearly Review...Doing some Christmas Shopping Prep will give you some time to review what you gave everyone last year and not accidentally get Granny another pair of slippers, for the fourth year in a row!
4. Research...Doing a little research before you walk (literally or virtually) into your favorite store can (1) save you time (2) save you money (3) reduce the last minute stress of shopping on December 21st. Both of the Merry Mommas do lots of online shopping. We research which stores have the best price, when those stores typically do sales and try and even combine shipping when we both are ordering from a particular store. If you are dead set on getting your lovely mom a scarf, make sure the stores on your list carry scarfs. A little research before you start shopping can save you heartache later.
5. Fun...The Merry Mommas love to give presents and doing a little Christmas Shopping Prep will make the experience fun and not stressful. When you know exactly who you are shopping for, what your budget is and an idea of what you would like to get your loved ones the shopping and the giving are FUN.
To help you with your Christmas Shopping Prep, the Merry Momma's want to share our spreadsheets!
Ok - I'm going to let you in on my crazy today. You're welcome.
I like to organize my list by estimated cost and actual cost, as well as where I purchased the gift and when. It helps me the next year when I'm trying to think of a place that I got a good deal as well as not to repeat a gift as was mentioned above. I color code by month of purchase - so this list keeps me in budget and on track.
I try to be done with shopping by the first weekend in December. In my "life as a UPS wife", I don't have lots of free, uninterrupted, no kids around time from Thanksgiving to New Years. So, by getting shopping done early, I save myself some stress and time.
We buy for roughly 20-25 people each year. This includes family (ours is relatively small), teachers, kids' friends, and our friends. We also "adopt" 3 kids that are the same age as each of the King Kiddos. I keep this list in an envelope as well as all the receipts I gather throughout my shopping spree(s) and then (and I think this is important) I label the receipts so I can double track spending/be able to locate it if something needs returning. (See? Crazy.)
The numbers below are totally made up for this example, but the spreadsheet is formatted to automatically update so I have an actual representation of what has been spent. I also track spending on any new Christmas decorations I buy as well as the cost of the King family Christmas card (including envelopes and postage).
And welcome to my crazy. If my entire life could be managed via a spreadsheet I would be a in hog heaven. (1. I do have lots of "my life" in spreadsheets. YMM is all about the honesty. 2. What does hog heaven even mean?)
First, I typically brainstorm ideas. I do this with Merry Momma Katy and the Merry Hubby Josh. I really like to know what I am buying before I walk in a store. I really dislike impulse shopping. I feel that I spend too much money and that the gift is not as meaningful. I realize these are my issues -- I own it! :) Then, I get busy shopping! I do most of my shopping in November. I do a little Black Friday shopping and LOTS of Cyper Monday shopping. I don't know how I would get my shopping done if it wasn't for the trusty ol' internet!
The "wife's family exchange" is a gift exchange for all of the aunts/uncles/cousins, so the gift needs to fit a wide variety of folks. We do have a financial limit and gift cards are accepted. We tend to get fun new books, Aggie stuff and gift cards to restaurants, movie theaters and some of the bigger chains. It is a fun way to celebrate!
The "husband's family exchange" is a little different. It is between the siblings and their spouses. We draw names sometime in the summer and purchase a gift for that one person. It has worked out nicely. As you can see on my example below, last year we drew both the boys. I think women are easier to shop for...what do you think?
I also included ALL of the things I spend money on at Christmas time - work, mailman, stamps. I try to keep an accurate account of our finances. Please note the "try" part!
*Yes, on my real spreadsheet I use names...not all of my family is as into over-sharing as I am! :) And, yes, I do put a budgeted amount...but I think talking about money on the internet is probably more dicey than politics or religion. And, yes, we do Santa.
As you can see, we do our spreadsheets a little differently from each other, but they work for us! Do you have a spreadsheet or a suggestion you would like to share? We would love to hear how you do your CHRISTMAS SHOPPING PREP! Or if you want us to email you these two spreadsheets, then just let us know and we will be happy to send your way! Comment below!
Get PINspired: We found lots and lots of cute FREE printables for you!
- I love that this list has spot for baking and parties.
- This list is great for those of you that buy multiple presents for each of your loved ones.
- Don't forget to wrap all these awesome presents, this list has a spot for DONE!
- Do you do lots of "Christmases"...your folks, his folks, great Aunt Eugene's house, etc? This list helps you track when the present will be opened.
- For other great printable, check out our entire Pinterest Board!