In 2004 I went Christmas shopping all.year.long. I created a spreadsheet in Excel, and kept track of not only how much I was spending, but how much I was saving. Almost every single gift was bought on clearance. For example, the wallet we gave my dad cost $8.04 and if I had bought it full price, I would have paid $26.81. The best deal I got was a blouse and vest for one of my sisters. I spent $3.80; full price would have been $60.07! Oh, and one thing funny with my family, is that we like to exclaim (as the family member is opening our gift): "guess what? I got that for under $4!!! It would have cost over $60 new!" (leaving the original price tags on and taking the clearance stickers off is impressive as well! LOL) Shopping totals for 2004, for 18 persons: $99.69. If I would have paid the original prices on all these items we would have spent $381.59!
As I have mentioned before, I have a large family. Kevin and I like to get a gift for each family member, which translates into a lot of gifts! So saving money is a good thing. Interestingly, 2004 is the only year I've done my Christmas shopping in the above-mentioned manner. I don't know why. I guess I don't really like shopping that much!
So now Christmas isn't too far off, and I felt the need to get started! I actually have a few things set away that I bought last year after Christmas, and a few projects started, but not quite enough! I sat down and wrote out a list of who we would be buying for, and came up with ideas for each person. I've already purchased a few gifts since I wrote out my list. It really helps the budget to spread out the gift-buying! Plus, it is ideal to not have to "wonder as I wander" through the store, looking for a gift, any gift, on Christmas Eve! Oh, any ideas for an 18-year old brother? Brother, feel free to comment as well. ;-)
Do you have your Christmas shopping underway as well? Need some ideas? I just found this site, which has some ideas for each person on your list!