Typically I am done Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving. I usually start in June and am beyond done by my birthday! This year things are a little different. For starters, I’m sticking to a budget for the first time in my life! Every year Zach and I set a budget for what we will spend on each other for our birthdays and Christmas and every year we totally blow it. For my 24th birthday Zach actually tripled it. Our waaaaay over spending last year set us up to be a little behind on where we want to be financially, so this year we both promised to stick to the budgets!
I’ve done awesome! I only spent $11 over on his birthday and for Christmas I only spent $16 over. And on Kye for Christmas we only spent $20 over! Pretty good huh? Keep in mind that we don’t count tax or shipping costs in our budgets either haha I don’t know why we just never have…kinda like how when we budget for a trip we don’t count the cost of gas! They are both things you don’t choose to have so they totally shouldn’t count 🙂
Anyway since I’ve been on this budget thing I’ve been taking my time shopping. I truly hunt for the best deals I can find. Literally, I don’t buy anything full price. I either have a coupon or I’m getting it online with free shipping or some other perk. It is SO FUN! I never thought having a tight budget would be a fun thing but it has been! It’s kinda like the Bible…people feel like God sets boundaries that limit us but in reality they give us freedom (I love comparing things to that haha). Having a budget gave me freedom in my shopping! It made me really think before buying something and it’s a rush when I add up how much I’ve saved.
For the other people we buy for (family, friends and such) we have certain budgets for them too and whatever we spend under the budget we are putting towards paying some stuff off. So that makes the whole thing even more exciting! I get to add up my savings and then see it put to good use! I’m 100% done shopping for the people outside of our immediate family and I’ve gone $143.40 under my budget total!!! Isn’t that amazing? And, on top of that, I honestly think this is the best stuff I’ve EVER bought for everyone!!! No one will ever in a million years guess what I really spent on the things I am giving them (if you’re reading this and I got you a gift you aren’t one of the ones I got a good deal on…). And, by the way, I only buy good brands as gifts. No Walmart label clothes, or stuff from TJMaxx, I legitimately get all my stuff from the actual brand name store (or outlet). Pretty impressive huh?
How do I get such good deals you ask? First of all I check all my resources. I am signed up to get pretty much all the junk emails you can imagine. I must get 3 emails a day from Victoria’s Secret alone. Is it annoying? Yes, but also totally worth it. I’m the “first” to know about big sales and I get TONS of coupons for all the major stores. I also get a million coupons in the mail. With most coupons you have to think in order to get the best savings. I love when stores allow you to use the coupon on clearance stuff (like Old Navy) because then that’s all I buy! Stores that make you buy full priced items (like NY&Co) it’s sometimes not even worth using the coupon at all. If it’s a “spend this amount to get off this amount” then I spend exactly the amount needed to spend. If it’s $10 off a $50 purchase and you spend $80 and then get $10 off it’s not really that good of a deal is it?
Before I order anything online I do a Google search. If it’s from Victoria’s Secret, for example since I used it earlier, then I Google “Victoria’s Secret coupons” and always find at least one. All the panties I own? They were free. You can ALWAYS get a free pair of panties! If it’s an exact item I’m looking to buy then I Google the exact name of the item. Then when the results come up I can see all the different sites the item is available on and I can compare prices of those stores. Yeah sometimes I buy stuff from random sites but I have a good eye for a scam (typically) so I know if something doesn’t seem right about it.
I have never gotten up at the crack of dawn for Black Friday but I do enjoy checking out the deals online. This year I really didn’t find much on Black Friday. I did, however, do awesome on Cyber Monday! I’d never heard of that before this year and I’m so glad that I still had some things to buy! It was so “busy” online that a couple of the sites I was trying to order from didn’t work at all and I had to do phone orders so they gave me more money off! I got great deals from American Eagle (20% off and free ship), Old Navy (20% off and free ship), and other sites I can’t mention since my husband reads this 😉
My best deal of the day though was on something for myself! My little brother is getting married in March and I needed shoes for the bridesmaid dress. Chrissy, his fiance, told me I could get ANY shoes I wanted as long as they were gold! I had a coupon for DSW for $5 off during my birthday month and Cyber Monday fell on Nov 30th – perfect timing! The shoes were originally $69, on sale for $30. I had a 25% off coupon plus my $5 off then the site wasn’t working so I called them and they also threw in free shipping! My total, including tax, came to only $20! Usually I wouldn’t spend that much on shoes but it’s a special event and they got great reviews. I thought I’d end up getting some from Payless or somewhere and spend between $15-$20 and instead I got great quality, name brand shoes for the same price I probably would have paid for some crappy ones! Here’s a picture but this isn’t the color, they are a bright gold!
While I do love shopping early, I think I will try to hold off buying too much too early next year. I found such AMAZING deals on things closer to the holidays (I got a fancy dress from Express for Zach’s sister originally $72 and I ended up paying $15!) that it’s worth waiting. I’m really proud of all my deals and have had so much fun hunting for them. I get super pumped for Christmas but I can’t STAND being all the way done shopping…I think the shopping is the best part 🙂
I didn't do quite as good as you, but I ended up ordering alot of stuff from Amazon and I got almost everything half price, plus free shipping. And I ordered some things from shutterfly and I had a ten dollar cupon AND a free shipping cupon. So, I aspiring to be as good as you! I'm not there yet, but I'm trying! I soak up all your posts on saving money!
You go girl! I set a budget per person this year and I think it's really helped me out… its amazing how much you can pack into like $25 if you are searching! I did almost all online too! I loved how it just showed up at my house in less than a week! I think that budget Christmas shopping is more fun because then you have to really hunt! Glad to see I'm not the only one!