A Monday post (barely)! It’s been so long! I’ve mentioned I’m excited for Christmas and I must admit there are several reasons why. Besides the obvious ones, Christmas shopping is a big reason I’m excited. Why? Because I had majority of it done before stores started shoving Christmas decor and music down everyone’s throats. I’m pretty much a Christmas shopping beast. I’m also not near as poor as I was last year. But mostly I’m a Christmas shopping beast. Here’s how I managed to get my shopping done early.

How to beast your Christmas shopping (and save time and money)

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Keep a running list of gift ideas.

So this method of mine pissed Carl off this holiday, but now he knows what he’s up against for Christmas shopping. I’ve been keeping a list of gift ideas on my phone for months. Whenever Carl or anyone I’ll be buying gifts for mention something they would like or a problem that needs to be solved, I make a note of it. Not everything that gets put on the list still remains gift worthy a few months later, but it certainly gives me a great head start. Now that it’s Christmas time, I didn’t have to do any thinking about what to buy. Unfortunately, Carl is having a harder time shopping for me, but I think he’s going to adopt the gift idea list method for next year.

Shop all year long.

Who has a bunch of cash laying around in December they can use to buy way more gifts for way more people than they’d like? Uhm, not me. When you come across something in a store you think someone will like, buy it. Nobody has to know it’s going to hide in your closet for a couple months.  For example, when we were in Wisconsin this past August, we came across these ceramic cows my mother used to collect. They haven’t been available in South Carolina for years, so we bought two and have been saving them for Christmas. (I’m really counting on her not reading my blog.) Spending the $25 wasn’t a major financial hit, and it’s $25 I don’t have to spend in December.

Take advantage of sales and online sites.

We’ve already established shopping all year is the way to go. The biggest advantage is you are able to shop sales. Would you rather buy a sweater at full price in December, or when they’re 40% at the end of season the sale? Ordering gifts online is another great way to save money. I bought wedding gifts and a few presents for Carl over the summer using my Amazon reward points.  I also started using Ebates for cash back on gifts. My red card with Target combined with their Cartwheel app is another way I’m saving on purchases.  We also had an employee sale at my office a few months ago and I was able to get great crafting projects for next to nothing.  Keep an eye open for opportunities and be ready to take advantage.

Most importantly, keep track of what you buy and who it’s for.

That’s my biggest mistake this year. I have all sorts of random stuff and I can’t remember who gets what. I have a great printable for tracking that stuff but I slacked on using it.  Print out or make a list of who you need to buy gifts for and add each gift as you buy it.  This week I plan on writing down what I have for who, then using homemade treats to fill in where more gifts are needed.

How do you stay on top of Christmas shopping? Also, have you taken my reader survey? It’s super short!