Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Live cheaply.
True frugalistas know you should start next year’s holiday shopping on Boxing Day.
But let’s face it: not everyone is in the mood. For me, starting after Labor Day is pretty early, unless I spot a perfect, irresistible item in May.
The good thing about holiday shopping early is that you have time to think about your purchases and best of all, budget for them. You don’t have to go over your credit limit in a month.
The National Retail Federation estimates that consumers between the ages of 45 and 64 will spend more than $ 600 on Christmas gifts each year. And that doesn’t include things like decorations.
The study also shows that 38% of consumers start their Christmas shopping before November, which they say saves them on average nearly $ 400 in total by shopping wisely and taking advantage of early discounts.
Here are some tips for saving money on holiday gifts, gleaned from experts in the smart buying field.
1. Start looking at sales flyers
That electronic gadget your husband has been craving could go on sale in October. Browse a few stores to see who has the best prices on whatever you’re looking for. And don’t forget Amazon Prime Day – it’s like Black Friday before Black friday. You could get an offer that will save you hundreds!
If you are not currently a Prime member, you can be (free) for 30 days.
2. Don’t go anywhere without your list
It should include the names of everyone you need to buy for. Next to each name, write an idea or two – don’t get too focused on just one possibility.
3. Set a budget
Maybe you’ll spend $ 100 on your husband, but only $ 25 on everyone (or whatever limit you want). Be realistic about what you can buy for that amount, in case you need to readjust it.
4. Keep track of what you buy
It’s easy to put this mom sweater away and forget you bought it until you go to score before you wrap it up. A running shopping list will prevent you from buying duplicates, especially if you have a lot of people to buy from. (Check out our tips for set up a gift cabinet it really works for you.)
5. Discover the arts and crafts fairs
They are great for finding unique and special items that will say âI thought of youâ instead of âI found thisâ. Also check out these markets which offer antiques, collectibles and tons of original, unique and unusual items.
6. Keep track of purchases from the previous year
Once you have the final list of what you bought and for whom it was purchased, don’t throw it away after the gifts are wrapped. Save it for next year, so you don’t wonder, “Didn’t I give Grandpa a cardigan last year?” You will have it in writing.
So shop early, shop smart, and save money. It is your gift to yourself.
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