Whether we like it or not, Christmas will be here all too soon. Christmas is one of the most enjoyable times of the year, but it can also be one of the most expensive. If you’re like us, you have a large extended family and the costs can easily add up. We have found a number of ways to try and whittle down our costs – like not exchanging with all of the kids. However, there is often other cost cutting measures we like to take in order to save money on Christmas shopping.
With that in mind, there is the usual question of whether it’s better to buy most of your gifts in advance to get the best deals and spread out the cost? Or should you just save money throughout the year and wait until the last minute to buy presents? While there may be no one right answer, there are arguments to be made on both sides of the issue.
The Case for Doing Your Christmas Shopping Early
One of the major benefits to doing your Christmas shopping well in advance of the holiday is that it can be a good way to spread out the expense. If you pick up one or two a month as the year goes along, you won’t be overwhelmed by it when December rolls around. If you live your life on a specific budget that accounts for where all of your income goes, spending smaller amounts a little bit at a time may be more feasible than laying out all the money at once. That said, how we handle this expense is by putting aside money throughout the year so if we feel the need to spend money early in the year we have it there to access.
The other major benefit to starting your Christmas shopping early is that you will have more time to shop for good deals. If you put shopping off to the last minute, you might just settle for buying the items wherever you can find them and not paying attention to what they cost.
When time is on your side, you can shop around and make sure you aren’t paying too much for a gift. This can also make the whole experience less stressful, which is a huge win in my book as I hate shopping. By taking the rush out of Christmas you can relax and enjoy the holidays without being stressed over finding all of your gifts in time.
The Case for Waiting
Generally speaking, I don’t like to spend money when I don’t have to. If you’re like me at all, then it pains you to spend when there is no huge and pressing need. I’d much rather hold on to that money in the event something else came up. That’s also not to mention the fact that when the holiday is so far away it can be difficult to rationalize buying something so far off.
There is another element to waiting to do Christmas shopping that can be wise as well as many stores have sales in the days leading up to holiday to try and attract your business. It is not as competitive in the summer months, for some businesses, so you might not find great sales that you can take advantage of. When you shop in the last two weeks before Christmas, you might be able to track down stores that are offering nice discounts, allowing you to get the gifts you have your eye on for less than expected. With that being said though, I’m more prone to getting our Christmas shopping done as early as possible so I don’t have to deal with the crowds come Black Friday or later.
Ultimately, I believe it’s a personal decision as to when you start Christmas shopping. You need to think about what works best for you, your schedule and budget and plan accordingly. As for my family and I though, we’ll be enjoying the days leading up to the holiday at home away from the crowds.
When do you typically start Christmas shopping? Is your holiday shopping done yet? Do you hate dealing with the crowds during the holiday season as much as I do?
Photo courtesy of: Roberto Verzo