The holiday season is always a busy time, and if you don’t stay organized, you’re likely to accidentally let something slip through the cracks. To make this Christmas season the best it can be, you need to get organized right away. One of the most chaotic parts of the season his holiday shopping, making it the perfect place to start. Consider these simple tips to stay organized when Christmas shopping this year.

How to Stay Organized When Christmas Shopping

Make a List

Santa makes a list every year, and you should too 😉 The best place to start your Christmas shopping organization efforts is to make a list. This list should first include everyone you need to purchase presents for this year. Then, take some time to brainstorm gift ideas for each person on your list. It pays to listen to friends and family members for hints on what they would like this year. Your list should also include the budget for each person.

To make sure your list is always on hand, consider creating a digital list that you can keep on your smartphone for easy access. It’s also a great idea to create a wish list for each person you’ll buy for on Amazon, so you can quickly price check items before buying.

One thing I actually do is keep a list throughout the year, where I write down gift ideas for special people in our lives. This helps me so much for birthdays and around the holiday season. Even if I choose to go with something that I didn’t write down, having this list can inspire new ideas, too!

Create a Budget

The best way to know exactly how much money you have to spend this year is to set aside a percentage of your income in a holiday savings account.  But if you haven’t planned ahead, there are simple ways to curb your holiday spending and stay on budget throughout the Christmas season. To determine your budget, consider the number of gift recipients you have on your list and how much you plan to spend on each person’s gifts. And don’t forget about purchasing additional items like Christmas cards, stocking stuffers, food and drinks, holiday decorations, and possible shipping charges.

After you have your budget set, the best way to stick to it is to shop with cash. Keep a detailed inventory of the gifts you need and the money you need to purchase them in your wallet. And once you run out of cash, you’re finished shopping. Avoid relying on your credit cards while shopping by keeping them out of your wallet completely.

Make a Plan

Once you have your list organized and your budget set, it’s time to start planning how and when you will purchase all the gifts on your list. The earlier you start planning the more organized you will be during the busy shopping season. It’s best to have your entire gift list and budget laid out by mid-November to ensure you are totally prepared when the shopping season officially starts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Start checking Black Friday circulars as soon as you can so you’ll know exactly which stores you need to visit and which items you’ll purchase. In addition to outlining which gifts you can buy during these sales, it’s also important to consider which gifts you can purchase before the sales dates and which you can buy after the big sales are over.

Sometimes, the gifts on your list don’t need to be purchased at all. If you’re planning on making personalized or homemade gifts for anyone on your list, you need to schedule your time wisely. Think about the amount of time it will take to make each gift and how that time can be worked into your busy holiday schedule. Then be sure to start working on each present as early as possible to be sure you finish before Christmas.

Go Slow

There is no reason to rush through Christmas shopping. Taking small steps toward purchasing items on your list will ensure you stay on budget and can keep track of everything you’ve purchased. Once an item is purchased, be sure to mark it off your list so your list is continually up-to-day throughout the season. In addition to helping you stay organized during the shopping season, taking things slow will also make it easier to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list and ensure that you’re getting the best deal on each of your purchases.

Stay Organized After Shopping

Even when you’re finished shopping, there are items that need organized. In addition to keeping track of the gifts you’ve purchased and who should receive them, you should also keep items like gift receipts, reward gift cards, and rebates organized. The best way to stay on top of these items is to purchase a dedicated binder or accordion file for important paper storage. Also make a note on your master Christmas gift list regarding gift receipts and return policies for each gift you give. Your friends and family will be happy you thought of everything this holiday season, and you’ll be less stressed because you’ll have all the information you need at your fingertips.

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