Planning Christmas All Year Long

I am one of those crazy individuals that is finished with a majority of Christmas shopping by the end of summer. I purchase gifts throughout the year early on in order to find good deals, stick to a budget and to reduce stress when November and December arrive. 

So how do I keep organized with the gifts in order to plan Christmas gifts all year long?

You will need one or two of these. This depends on how many gifts you have to buy throughout the year. We do not have a lot of storage space in our house so utilizing the space under the bed is the best way I can store Christmas gifts all year long. I also can easily slide our tote out and double check to make sure everything is in there. 

This is a screen shot of my Excel sheet that I keep for purchasing gifts throughout the year. I write the name of everyone we are purchasing for, keep a space open for the gifts we will buy, columns for what the gift retails for as well as how much I spent and our budgeted goal. It is important that you set a budget for each individual. Our budgeted goal is for what we can spend on each person. This keeps me on track and makes me really think about my purchases as well. I want to find good deals on items that retail for more than what I pay as well as find something that I know our family will love. I have separate Excel sheets for Bryson's Christmas gifts and for stocking stuffers. 

When budgeting how much we can spend on each person I have to keep in account how much money we set back throughout the year to purchase gifts. We set back $75 each month for Christmas AND birthday gifts. That's a total of $900 a year to spend on all presents. I take in account how much we want to spend on birthdays and subtract that from the $900.

For example:

Total Budget: $900
Birthday Budget: $300
Christmas Budget: $600

Then I have to divide even further. How much do we want to spend on Christmas gifts for our kids and on each other? I will take that total and subtract that from the Christmas budget and then I am left with what I can divide among all other family members. 

It isn't too difficult of a concept but it keeps us on track and we do not have to worry about some very stressful events at Christmas.
1) Last Minute Shopping
2) Going over Budget
3) Putting all Christmas on Credit or worrying about where the money is going to come from

Shopping throughout the year guarantees that I will not be stressed at the end of the year plus allows me to be able to buy really nice gifts that retail for a lot more than what I pay for them. 

I do not worry about how much I actually spend on each person. If I am way under budget on one individual  I still try not use that money on someone else. Instead I can save it for next year and possibly have a little bit more budget for next Christmas and birthdays. 

There are times I go over budget as well. That's just life. I am trying to be more conscious of that this year. 

Yes, I already have gifts purchased for next Christmas. I had gifts arriving on Christmas Eve for Christmas next year. It's a system that works for me and my family. 

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