I've spent this week wrapping gifts for my extended family--nieces, nephews, in-laws--and I have had most of this bought since early this year.
Since some of my family members actually read my blog, I can't post what these gifts are...but I can share the amount of savings.
I start buying gifts for Christmas next as soon as Christmas now is over. Yes, this does mean that I have to have a place to store them for a year, but the savings is well worth the small amount of space that I have to give up.
I've shared before that I buy for 7 nieces and nephews as well as parents and brothers and sisters (we do couples gifts for our brothers and sisters and their spouses) in our extended family.
I still need to purchase something for my dad...he's the man that has everything and needs nothing, has no hobbies, can't think of a thing he needs or would like to have..you get the picture..
Anyway, to date, like I said I have all gifts bought except my dad's and I've spent $63 on18 people. Not too bad. Now, I've been buying all year, hitting sales and clearance shelves. If I had paid full price, I would have spent $111.90--a savings of $48.90! I'm pretty tickled with that!
I have a notebook, complete with Christmas scene on the cover, that I keep especially for Christmas purposes. I take this with me when I go shopping throughout the year. When I buy a gift for someone, I write the person's name in the notebook and what the gift is. That way I don't end up with 3 gifts for the same person. (Anyone who knows me, knows that this would happen!) When it is time to wrap, I just bring out the gifts and the notebook to remind me who gets what, and I'm in business!
I would also encourage anyone who can to begin a Christmas club at their bank. DH gets paid every 2 weeks and we have $15 taken out of our checking account and put into this Christmas club. We never miss the money (you don't miss what you've never had). The first week in November the bank sends me a check for around $400! Usually we use this to purchase for the kids and ourselves and maybe anyone that we just couldn't find something for throughout the year...Dad....
If you're fortunate enough to have everything bought before that check arrives--that never happens here--then just deposit it in your savings account or pay it toward some debt you may have. It's a win-win situation.
I'm all about trying to eliminate stress and especially around Christmas. A little pre-planning and time throughout the year really helps with that.