Saturday, July 6, 2013

Christmas Shopping Year-round

So, we recently got through the Christmas in July sales, and I believe I even saw some summer “Black Friday” marketing attempts by a retailer that rhymes with Farget.  Is this crazy?  Yes…and no.  Although I am not alone in being someone who shops for Christmas gifts all year long, I know that folks who join me in this madness are few and far between.  Most of the time, I get comments like “You’re crazy” when I tell people about my early Christmas shopping habit.  However, if you’ve read my blog about grocery shopping and dinner lists, you can probably understand a little bit more that budgeting is something I do on a regular basis.  And no, I am not a cheapskate.  I budget so that I can overindulge on things that really matter to me.  

Christmas shopping throughout the year is just another form of managing my budget.  I know most people start buying gifts in November and December.  This is considered normal.  But what I find abnormal is spending a large chunk of money in a very short period of time(unless you have a specific savings account stored away for the holidays) during a time of year when everything is bound to be more expensive, even with the “sale” pricing available during the Christmas season.  Last year, I added a specific toy to my Amazon Wish List at the beginning of the year and made a note of the price when I added it.  The toy was least expensive in the month of June (not really sure why).  As the months progressed, the price increased.  By the time the real Black Friday rolled around, that particular toy was $5 more than it was when I originally added it earlier in the year.  I know this doesn’t work with everything, but sometimes it helps to pay attention to the month to month pricing of something that grabs your eye.  

Buying a few gifts every month, starting in January or February, doesn’t leave a big dent in your wallet come Christmas time, and it also offers you a less stressful shopping experience when the official holiday shopping time arrives.  While everyone else is punching each other in the face and crawling over each other in the aisles on Black Friday, you can just sit back and relax.  

Another benefit to early Christmas shopping is keeping the people you love in mind all year, rather than just during the holiday season.  I live in Florida and most of my family members live up North, so shopping for them throughout the year keeps me connected to them without using social media. While shopping, I think about them and what they may be interested in or what they may find useful.  Sometimes, I’ll shop without any intention of buying anything, and then I’ll see something that is just the perfect gift for someone I love!  Shopping earlier in the year with thoughts of them in my mind is peaceful.  I know that if I left my shopping until the end of the year, it would be a much more nerve -wracking experience, and my family would probably wind up with gifts that aren’t nearly as heartfelt. 

I know early shopping isn’t for everyone, but I urge you to try it at least once.  I promise you that it will be worth it, both financially and mentally!