Sunday, January 4, 2009

Spend A Little Now, To Save Latter

It’s the new year, and if you haven’t already done it, it is time to wrap up Christmas, and start getting ready for Christmas 2009. Yes that’s right I said it is time to start preparing for this years Christmas, which now only 51 weeks away. My husband and I both come from big families, which means that I have a long gift list. Of course after you get all those gifts there will be late nights of wrapping. Oh and than you kind of have to make the house look festive, ok you feel the need to keep up with the neighbor, who really does it up every year. So let me give you a few ideas, and tips to make next December’s Holiday Season a little less expensive and stressful.

Let’s begin with the importance of lists. Since your reading this on line, I’m going to assume that you have a computer. This makes list making easier and keeps them in one place. And yes I said lists plural. If you send out Christmas cards, this is the time to set up an address book of people who you send to. Than at this time every year, add people to and take others off your list. Make a list of people you buy gifts for. I use a spread sheet for this including name, age, and size of recipient, and a space to for the gift I buy them. Print this one out and carry it with you all the time [you never know when you find a great gift]. Again this is the time of year to make changes and update your gift list. The last of my lists should have been written already, and I know that next year you will, but for now wing it; keep a running list of wrapping supplies as you run out of them or are getting low.

Now you are going to go shopping and save some money. On December 26th every year, no matter where you live all Christmas items lefts on shelve in stores get marked down 50% or more. This is the time to take lists in hand and buy, because trust me Christmas will be back. First buy your Holiday cards, since you now have a list of how many card you’re going send out next year, you know how many boxes you need. Actually boxed cards go on sale usually about a week before the 25th, but individual cards [like the really nice one for the in-laws] don’t get marked down until after. Same thing goes here for wrapping paper, gift boxes and bags, ribbons, bow, etc. With the list you kept while wrapping you know what you need for next year, so stock up. This goes for lights and other decorations, all also now 50% or more off.

Don’t forget that this is the perfect time to start buying next years gifts. In the bigger chain stores you will find toys, and outdoor wear and children’s PJ’s on sale. Book stores drop the price on seasonal titles, and many of their gift boxed sets. The only things that I wont go for; is buying cosmetics and food related items, a year is way to long to keep these items [however if there is a birthday coming up in a month or two, go for it]. In case your wondering I’m already 16 gifts into Christmas 2009.

Of course none of these things will save a dime if next year you can’t find that great sweater you bought for your sister, or those cards got wet when the shower leaked through the ceiling. You need to spend a little money on storage. There is no right or wrong way to store things, it really is what ever works best for you, but there are a couple of things you should keep in mind. A big tub with an easy to open cover, that you can’t see through, makes the best place to store gifts as you buy them [and keep all gifts in the same place or you’ll never be able to remember where you hid that truck for you nephew]. Your storage item should have a cover that will keep dust and moisture for getting in, and keep little crawly things out. I’ll tell you that I love those Giant Zip-Loc bags [click here for a coupon] for keeping my gift boxes and bags in, I have found that if I place a coat hanger through the handle, I can hang them in my coat closet. I also like just a plain old black heavy duty Construction trash bag to keep my rolls of wrapping paper neat and clean and ready to use next year.

Anyhow with a little planning and a little money spent now, you’ll be ready for an easier less expensive Christmas in December. Just one more money savers for you, never throw out the Christmas cards other people send you, because they can become next years gift tags [trim around the design, punch a hole in one corner, write name on the back added a ribbon and tape to your package]. Have a Happy New Year, and a Merry 2009 Christmas [bet I’m the first to wish you that].

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