Yes, you read the headline correctly. It is not yet the end of October and I have all my Christmas shopping done!
It feels so good to not have to worry about fighting the Christmas Eve rush, or accidentally spending three times my budget on useless toys. I must also admit that this isn’t the first year that it’s happened. Are you intrigued? Good, because I am about to tell you how I did it.
The key to this grand plan is starting at the beginning of the year, so start taking notes for 2020.
Dave Ramsey got it started
I found Dave Ramsey sometime in 2018 and started to experiment with some of his baby steps. I knew carting around 15 envelopes wasn’t going to work for us, so I contacted the bank and set up a series of checking and savings accounts that we could easily transfer money in and out of. One of these was my coveted Christmas fund.
I sat down in January and set a reasonable budget and then divided it up between our annual paychecks. After some calculations, I decided that putting around $50 a month into the account would leave me with plenty of wiggle room for our annual Want-Need-Wear-Read and a few stocking stuffers I inevitably pick up on impulse. But hey, it’s all about planning.
I was really shocked at how low the cost was once spread out over our paychecks! Definitely something we could do. I decided to front the last few months of the deposits so I didn’t have to wait for the last minute. Christmas fever is coming and I just want to be able to selfishly focus on Hallmark movies, crockpot soups and my personal Cyber Monday list.
The trick is Amazon
This is kind of where you have to be careful. I made my plans for not just Christmas, but other expenses as well, including long weekend trips. This kept us from dipping into our Christmas account, and as you probably guessed, Amazon played a large role.
With two kids, a part-time job, attending college and a growing photography business, finding time to sneak out and shop for two kids, without said two kids, is pretty difficult. So I always have a running Amazon list for Christmas, birthdays and for general need or want.
Stocking stuffers are more fun
Since I’m not scrambling to get the presents last minute, I have time to get creative with stocking stuffers. We usually do some smaller gifts, like fun makeup sets, favorite fruit, and some fun craft/activities to keep them busy on Christmas Day. The rule is, it has to fit into the sock and can’t exceed the budget. Stocking stuffers also allow me to still engage in the Christmas shopping experience if some friends or family want to get into the spirit and spend a day shopping.
Like I said, it is October 28 and I am officially done searching and buying for presents. Want-Need-Wear-Read has been pretty popular on Pinterest and fits our semi-minimalist lifestyle. So the boxes pictured have a few amazing and perfectly chosen gifts. Two bath robes, some books, a karaoke machine, some toy cars and a long requested “Hey Google.”