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Keeping Track of Presents You Have to Buy

Christmas shopping is one of the most stressful aspects of the holidays. Forgetting to buy someone a gift, having to make numerous trips to the shopping centre, and overspending are just some of the unfortunate errors that are made as a result of poor Christmas shopping planning. To make your next holiday season less stressful, the following tips will help you plan your gift buying so that you can save money, time and a heap of stress.

Make a budget

Before embarking on your Christmas shopping adventure, come up with a holiday budget. Keep in mind not only the costs of gifts themselves, but also of wrapping paper, cards, shipping costs and so forth. Allocate a price you are willing to pay and set it aside in a special account, envelope or pre-paid credit card. This will help you when it comes time to make a list and decide on the gifts you will buy.

Make a list

When you’re ready to start deciding on gifts and allocating your budget, start by listing the people you need to buy gifts for this year. Start with the closest family members and friends, and then branch out to include neighbours and co-workers. Next to each name, make some additional notes specific to that person. For example, specific gift ideas, general gift ideas (such as gift baskets for co-workers), any sizes of clothes or shoes you may need to know, and any “favourites” they have, such as colours, food, stores, hobbies and so forth. This will help a lot when it’s time to make final decisions.

If you want to really be organised this year, you can also write a list of some generic gifts that you can give in case someone unexpectedly gives you a gift, or you forget someone. For example, a gift card to a popular café or music store, an ornament, or a gourmet Christmas hamper filled with holiday treats. Have them wrapped and ready to go to avoid last-minute scrambling.

Start early

The best time to start making a Christmas gift list is immediately following Christmas! This may seem excessive, but when the months go by and Christmas begins to loom once more, you’ll be glad you did. By starting your list early you can make sure all the right people are on it.

This will also make it easier to collect gifts throughout the year and stow them away, helping you avoid the peak Christmas shopping season. Not only will you avoid the horrible mall parking lots and the grumpy crowds, but it will also save you money on impulse purchases and avoid finding that key items are out of stock.

Map out your shopping trip

Before you head out to shop, come up with a strategic plan for which stores you will visit and in what order. Write down all the gifts you will get at each store so you can avoid going back more than once. Searching through flyers, catalogues and websites is a great way to decide on your purchases ahead of time so that all you need to do is go pick up the items.

It’s not impossible to have a stress-free Christmas shopping experience — you just need to be extremely organised and committed. These tips will help ensure you get all the gifts you need in the least expensive, time-consuming and stressful way possible.