Planning ahead will benefit you in ways you never even imagined — especially when it comes to shopping for the holidays. I always start my holiday shopping in August. Yep — I’ve already bought a gift for someone on my list! This is a tradition that I think you should start as well.
Each year I make two lists using Evernote.com. One list is of everyone I exchange gifts with for Hannukah and Christmas. I write down ideas for gifts and reference my list from last year to make sure I don’t get the person the same gift twice. The other list is of random ideas, websites and clippings of gift ideas I’ve found throughout the year with no particular person in mind.
Here’s the top reasons I do this and why you should too:
1. Save Money: One of the advantages of starting your shopping in August is that you can take advantage of all the great Labor Day and Columbus Day sales. I also collect coupon codes and subscribe to email lists so I’m the first to know when my favorite stores have sales.
2. Spread Out Spending: Waiting until the holidays hit to start your shopping will leave you broke. If you plan ahead and stretch out your spending over several months your pockets won’t be as empty come the New Year.
3. Don’t Forget Anyone: How many times have you rushed out to get a last-minute gift because you overlooked someone on your list? I know — it’s happened to me. But if you have a list that you work on throughout the year — it’s less likely to happen.
4. Get the Perfect Gift: Thinking about who you need to get gifts for now will give you more time to research and save money if you need to. Whenever I’m reading a magazine or website I keep my eyes open for potential presents. If I find something I update my Evernote list or save the page using Instapaper.com. Also — make sure you listen when your friends and family speak. I always take mental notes when someone mentions something they like or want and add it to my list so I can research it.
5. Be Less Stressed: The holidays are a wonderful time but also can take their toll with all the parties, eating and people! Give yourself a break and make it a little easier this year. Planning ahead will leave you looking forward to celebrating the holidays instead of wishing it was New Year’s Day.