Friday, March 13, 2009

Free-for-all Friday: Gifts Galore!

I LOVE TO SHOP! Ask anyone that knows me. This is one "talent" that I feel has really forced me to stick with a budget especially when it comes to clothes and gifts because gifts are the sneaky expenses on which you can never count.

I find that since I love to shop, it is so rewarding for me to shop for others through out the year and not always myself. I have been able to deliver wonderful gifts at bargain prices at Christmas and people can not get over the deals that I get.

Galatians 6:10 says "As we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." I feel that this service of giving gifts can allow us the opportunity to share God's love to others. I know that when I receive gifts, if brings joy to my life that someone spent their effort, time and money on something for me.

Here are a couple of hints for gift shopping success with a budget:

First - At the beginning of each year, make a list of gifts you will need to give for the whole year. Beside each name, list the dollar amount you would like the gift to be. Example: For both my sisters, I like to give gifts worth $50 at Christmas and $25 at birthdays. This is not the actual amount I spend but deciding this amount limits your spending. You will see how in a minute.

Second - Shop all year long for these gifts beginning w/ the after Christmas sales from the previous year. This allows you to put thought into good gifts at a great price. It is really amazing the deals you can find for the special people in your life.

When you go on vacation in the summer, there are usually outlets located around major vacation destinations. I may not have the ability to spend a ton of money on myself, but what a great time it is going on this treasure hunt for others at outlet prices. For example, last year in Hilton Head, I got both my sisters Coach clutches on sale for $25 each. Now these were normally $50 at the outlet and even more in the stores. So, I saved $50 and had them both checked off my list for the year. When you go back to your list you will see that you listed a $50 gift and only spent $25. Do not let this deter you into thinking you need another $25 gift because I feel this discounts the nice gift you already purchased.
Also, I have a two year old son and he has a group of friends for whom I know we will go to parties throughout the year. After Christmas, Walmart puts their craft boxes on sale for 75% off. I wanted to spend around $15 for each present and got these boxes for $5. I saved $60 and the kids will love these presents.

Third - You need to have a gift box and wrapper storage.
If you have a gift box this allows for you not to forget what you have purchased. Also, keep a copy of this list you made in step one in the box so you do not double buy for one person. If you have been given a gift that you will not use, you can put it in the box to give to others (might wanna write who gave it to you on there so you don't regift it...EMBARRASSING!).
Wrapper storage allows for you to always have these supplies at hand because you will spend around $5 for a bag and paper at your local stores if you are in a hurry for wrapping. If you prepare, you can spend as little as $5 a year at the dollar store on wrapping and bows. You will also have a place for bags to reuse at the appropriate time.

Fourth - You will need a box to organize cards that you will send through the year. Cards can run almost $5 a piece at the grocery store and other stores. Hallmark has .99 cards, Walmart has .49 cards, and your dollar store has .50 cards. This way, you do not get stuck spending this $5 on a sympathy card at the last minute. I also shop for cards year round. This allows me to get good cards at bargain prices and eliminates the stress of being in a card shop for an hour looking for the perfect card, which I have done more than once in the past and never will do again with this system. You can also visit your local Christian stores and get great bargains on Christmas cards and Valentine Cards. For Valentine's Day, I got a pack of eight cards to mail. They even had scripture on them and were under $2! They were a hit at a bargain price and it allowed me to spend the money on stamps and surprise a couple of people I would not have normally sent a card to.

Psalm 138:8 says " not abandon the works of your hands." By shopping this way, you will avoid the pit of overspending on last minute gifts and the time that shopping under pressure takes away from your family. I hope this helps you be a good steward in shopping...especially if shopping is one of your loves, like it is mine!


Momofgirls said...

Great tips! I shop all those sales too, but I never make a list-what a great idea!! I find that I often forget "that awesome" gift I have already purchased and buy another one!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE the list idea!!! said...

I LOVE this post! What a great idea to make a list of all the gifts you need to purchase throughout the year. You're right, it does sneak up on you. I do already have a gift wrap box. It's complete with scissors, ribbon, tissue, boxes and wrapping.

Carolina Clipper said...

Love your ideas! Where did you get the file organizer in the picture?

Karen said...

Great tips! I have bought boxes of really nice (the 3-D kind) greeting cards at Costco. I think the box runs around $15, but you get 20+ very nice cards. Granted, on some of them you have to pay extra postage, but that's OK with me. I also have two gift-wrap boxes (one for Christmas, one for other occasions) under our bed. I used to have a little problem buying too much gift wrap, ribbon, etc. ;o) I also buy tissue paper for the whole year after Christmas at 75% off. I try to remember to request gift boxes when purchasing gifts as well. Target has two major toy clearances a year, and I try to stock up on birthday party items and such then.

Dolly said...

I love these tips too! And I LOVE the list of people to buy for idea. With big families on both sides there is ALWAYS a birthday to buy for. I really need to stock up with your tips. Thanks!

Dolly said...

I love these tips too! And I LOVE the list of people to buy for idea. With big families on both sides there is ALWAYS a birthday to buy for. I really need to stock up with your tips. Thanks!

Aundrea-aka Zerbert Baby said...

Thanks for the tips. I guess now I know when you got that art set that Nathan and Peter are obsessed with. Love it!

Amanda said...

Great tips! I try to shop for Christmas throughout the year, but making a list with $ amounts is a great idea! All of the tips were very helpful. Thanks!

Ashlie Miller said...

Love the list idea. I buy gifts without a I need to keep a list! Oh, and last year I bought the canvas bags at Target (they had them for 50 cents each) and used those as gift bags for some of my family. They loved them b/c they can use them when they are shopping!

noe said...

Ha! I knew by doing this post I would be giving away some of my secrets on the presents I got your little ones! Rachelle - I got that file organizer at Target and it came with 24 cards at the bargain price of $5 on the end of an isle. I can get you one at Costco with 32 cards in it for around $15. Just let me know.