October has just started and we are nearly done Christmas shopping. This is the BEST time to do your Christmas shopping and we want to share the 5 reasons why you should be Christmas shopping in October.
We have reminded you in past years of why you want to jump on the July – October Christmas shopping train, but it has been a couple of years since we have shared the reasons, so it’s due time to remind you and provide you with some tools and ideas to get the ball rolling!
We have talked about how your Christmas budget should be about 1% off your gross household income. So if you make $30,000 = $300, $50,000 = $500, $75,000 = $750, etc.
Starting in January with your very first check of the year, begin saving by dividing the number of paychecks you receive each month by the total you should save in a year. So if you are paid bi-weekly and make $50,000 per year, you need to divide $500 by 26, which equals $19.23 per paycheck. This means you have money to spend year round when those great deals and shopping opportunities arise. It also helps to make a debt-free Christmas more possible.
Now you may be thinking, “there’s no way I can pull off Christmas for $300, or $500, etc.” If you are, then you’re thinking in terms of “full price.” If you had that 1% cash reserve available for Christmas shopping at any time, you can stretch that $300 to be $450 or even $525 when you can get everything for 50-75% off! Don’t think of it in terms of what you are restricted to, but rather the creative mindset of “just watch how much I can get for this budget!”
When you start off at the first of the year, you also having buying power all year, to make those great deals possible to be able to stretch that budget and even double your value!
The other tool to have in your back pocket to pull off a successful Christmas is the Christmas Planner HERE. It is a planner that I have personally used to make effective, budget-friendly, time-friendly plans for Christmas.
Now, here’s 5 reasons why you should be Christmas shopping in October
1. Clearance Sales
Our #1 reason for Christmas shopping right now is the amazing clearance sales you can find all around town. At this moment, stores are clearing their shelves in the form of rock bottom clearance prices to bring in the hottest toys, electronics and gifts of the year that will start hitting the shelves soon after October 31st. That means they use September and October to get rid of everything else as fast as possible with prices that drop at amazingly low prices.
It is this time of year that stores will clear things out at a rate of 70-80% off. And the best part is that most all of it is not themed. For an example of a themed clearance sale, think of the “after Christmas clearances,” where you can get similar discounts, but only on themed foods, themed gifts and decor. The clearances right now know no season, no holiday, no restrictions, so they are perfect gifts for Christmas or even for the gift bins for other occasions.
Here are some examples of how I accomplished most of my shopping this year:
Just this past week, I hit Barnes and Noble and they had 75% off gifts. They had beautiful stationery, journals, plaques, book-themed gifts (like a heavyweight office pen stand and fancy desk pen in favorite book series themes), blankets and throws with your favorite books’ pictures, they even had Hot Wheels and My Little Pony themed gifts. I also got some selfie photo kits that included a selfie stick, portable flash, remote to take a picture and a table stand to be able to turn your phone into a photo studio. I got these kits for $5 each for my adult siblings and my teen. This was one of my final Christmas shopping trips, but it filled in all of my remaining gaps. Not only did I get it all for 75% off, but we also have a membership (because we have a book coming out and want to be able to buy it for CHEAP!) and so I got another 10% off all gifts on top of the 75% off. I also got a number of book gifts for 50% off including sticker books, activity books, etc, plus another 20% off with my membership.
I also hit the Children’s Place 80% off clearances. I was able to get our traditional Christmas Eve PJ’s for $3.50 each set! I cannot beat these prices come Christmas shopping season, especially when considering the quality.
Toys R Us also has AMAZING toy clearances this time of year. They have A LOT to clear out to make way for the new stuff in a month. As long as you are not on the hunt for this years’ hottest toys and gifts, you will have some very happy kids and a super-happy budget. My kids have always gotten toys from the clearances or gently used second-hand. They have never known that they were last years’ toys or gently used. This is especially true when they are younger and Toys R Us has hit that mark.
Other clearances from other stores like Walmart, Target and Shopko have been things like a beautiful, high quality Pioneer Woman mixing bowl set for 60% off for my sister. I found a bamboo pillow set for my parents for an amazing deal as they were “last year’s pillow models.” These are just a few examples, but I am just trying to show why it is smart to shop now.
We have our first teen this year, and so I wasn’t sure how this was going to work with our budget. But I was able to get some great name-brand clothes, boots and handbag with the Kohl’s clearances, Bible cover, one of those selfie phone kits and journal from Barnes and Noble (in the 75% off), books (again at B&N clearance), and PJs. She already got a hand-me-down smartphone and my old fitness tracker, so she ended up being really easy to shop for because those were the “high ticket items” she wanted but we already gave them to her over the summer. The only thing she wanted that we haven’t gotten is a guinea pig – a real one. We just don’t know if we want another pet around here. 🙂
She was expected to be the most difficult, but she is done, along with the rest of the kids. Our son was one of the only ones that had a very specific request. We saved everywhere else, so we were just going to watch and compare using the Christmas Planner to beat the prices we found and planned to get it regardless. But…I was floored when we actually found the EXACT thing he wanted for 50% off clearance. That was the one item I wasn’t expecting to get that cheap, but hoping for a 20-30% off during the Christmas shopping season. So I was more than giddy to call Alex from the store and share the good news.
This year, everything we have purchased has been new, but at least 50% off. However, in past years, we have given gently used second-hand items, which leads me into my next point.
2. Garage Sales and Classifieds
It is still garage sale season here, but truthfully, this is mostly done in the summer. In the past, I have picked up a few items that were gently used, collectibles, or even new with tags with smart second-hand shopping.
Second-hand shopping is actually what helped us survive Christmas when we were initially starting our debt-payoff goals and started with being in the negative every month. We had absolutely NOTHING, but we could scrounge up a bit for Christmas and purchased early and purchased at garage sales. One of those years, we actually bought new, in package, dolls based on book themes. We bought Jo from Little Woman and Fern from Charlotte’s Web. We bought these new in package dolls at a garage sale in the summer for only a few dollars each. Right before we wrapped them for Christmas many months later, we discovered that they were collectibles and worth $85 each at the time.
We also bought our little girls a play kitchen at a garage sale for $10. It just needed a cleaning and it looked nearly new. We bought those big kitchen playsets from Toys R Us that sell for $10 around Black Friday. They had a kitchen, play food and play pots/pans/dishes for $3o total. Several years later, we sold this same kitchen in our own garage sale for $5.
These are just a few examples of our second-hand shopping, but our kids and others never knew or cared. We loved finding rare books and collectibles for my mom and dad, along with some family photos and homemade gifts. Those second-hand Christmases were some of the most memorable because we had to be so intentional and creative, and yet it was so beautiful too.
3. Cheaper to get last year’s models
If electronics are on your list, we rarely find that the newest model has so many more features that is necessitates the brand new model, especially when we can get last year’s models for a fraction of the cost. But these models will be gone soon, especially before the latest and greatest move in to the store shelves.
4. It’s done before the busy season starts and you can relax
This is really a side effect reason. The past several years, I have come to really, really appreciate being the midst of the Christmas season and have my shopping done and focus on family and friends during this time, instead of the materialism. My kids also know that basically once the tree is up right after Thanksgiving, they know I am done and don’t ask for anything because I say, “Sorry, already done.”
Overall, this emotional and mental aspect of Christmas has been a real gift to me! Alex and I will spend November and December wrapping a few things here and there in the evenings so it is all ready come Christmas Eve. When Christmas Eve comes, our job is done in just a few minutes and we finish with snuggles and a movie. It really is a nice Christmas treat for us during the season!
5. Avoid Christmas season shopping temptations
I partially mentioned this in my previous point, but it’s really true. If you are done shopping before heading into one of the most tempting seasons with catalogs, commercials, sales, ads and being in the stores themselves, then you are less tempted to buy. If you can say, “Well, that would have been cool, but I am already done!” then you spend less money, especially spontaneously. It’s really more of another natural side effect of shopping early. Also, if your family knows you are done, they can’t keep “adding to the list.” It is a great budget benefit!
Even though Christmas is around the corner at only 10 weeks away, you can still get a lot accomplished over the next few weeks before those store shelves are filled with this year’s stuff.
One of the biggest challenges for you at this point may be the fact that you haven’t saved for Christmas yet. We have shared many ideas in the past, but at this point, you really need to collect some cash fast so you can have a debt-free and great deals Christmas this year. Read the article on 14 Profitable Ways To Make $1,000 Christmas Cash Fast. These ideas get the ball rolling. Some are not as immediate, but some will generate cash this week.
There is a lot more that can be discussed about regarding Christmas. We actually have a whole section of our book, The 2% Rule To Get Debt Free Fast, on the topic of Christmas while getting debt free and after. Pick up a copy and learn more about this and many other financial helps.
Here are some resources to help you get rock bottom prices, but to also help you collect some Christmas cash fast if you hadn’t been saving up to this point. Just click on the picture below and it will take you to the article.
Here’s some additional articles to help and encourage you to have a nice, debt-free Christmas (just click on the image to be taken to the article):
Finally, we have a 17-page Christmas Planner to help you intentionally decide where you $300, $600 or $900 Christmas savings will be spent, along with planning your time during the Christmas season. You need to grab your Christmas planners to have a full plan to save time, money and sanity!