Thanksgiving is coming up, which means Black Friday is right around the corner. I am too much of a wuss to actually go shopping that day (I don’t want to be trampled and I don’t enjoy crowds) so I will fill you in on my secret to successful, budget-mindful, stress-free holiday shopping.
Step 1: Assemble Your Spreadsheet
Stay with me here – I create an Excel sheet (or a Google Doc) for what I want to get people. I usually start this in November, but you could do it much earlier if you were so inclined. The first column contains the names of the people I will be shopping for. The second column contains what I intend on buying/making for them. The third column is optional and generally contains either a link to the product, the brick-and-mortar store from which I can buy it, or additional information like size or color. Sometimes I throw in a fourth column detailing price.
Step 2: Plan Your Attack
Most online shops will have Black Friday sales, and most start at midnight. You can see lists of participating online stores here. Since you already have your spreadsheet with what you want to buy and where, this part is easy. In the past, I would stay up until midnight to get all the sales right as they went up and was usually done in about an hour or two. You don’t have to stay up though… this year, with the baby, I probably won’t.
Step 3: Bringing It All Together
Make your purchases! Amazon.com often has great deals that day; many stores will offer free shipping or greatly discounted shipping. (This is where Black Friday sales have the potential to save you a lot!) I also hit up Retail Me Not to see if I can get any further savings.
Step 4: The Remainders
You probably won’t end up finishing everything all at once. I typically make a few Christmas gifts, which takes time but doesn’t involve Black Friday deals; you’ll have to find time to hit the brick-and-mortar stores still on your list; you might be totally lost on what to get Great Aunt Tillie. That’s okay. Due to your awesome planning, you’re not worried. You now have time to finish those items and visit those stores and bug your family members for additional ideas for Great Aunt Tillie.
Step 5: Reap The Benefits
Sit back and wait for all your holiday shopping to arrive! Yes, doing your shopping (mostly) in one go and (mostly) online takes a bit of upfront planning. There’s not really a good way to browse the collective internet for the most amazing present ever, so you brainstorm ideas ahead of time and see what you can come up with that day based on deals and what your instincts tell you.
This has worked spectacularly for me in years past and removes a ton of holiday stress. You’re basically done and it’s not even December yet! Look at you go!
Now if someone could let me know how to manage getting Christmas cards done and mailed in a timely fashion…