I hope you enjoyed reading about this great gift for the "staff" people in your life.
But what about the rest of them? The kids, the adults, the pets? I personally don't get presents for people's pets but maybe you do. *cough cough*nutjob*cough cough*
If you're like me, and your family contains a lot of people, you have a lot of gifts to buy. Even paring it down to "just kids" is a challenge because most for me, most of those people are kids. So far I haven't pared it down that far, but I have taken it down to "just immediate family." Unfortunately that means I don't usually buy presents for cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. Only mine and my husband's parents and siblings. And sometimes the grandparents. They most often at least get a card with a cute picture in it. It kills me to not buy presents for EVERYONE, but it's just not possible right now. So because of the sheer number of people I am buying for, I find it necessary and helpful to stick to a budget. For me, that is a set dollar amount for each person. If you do a "couple's" gift, like a combined gift for mom and dad, then that dollar amount gets doubled for the gift--but if you can keep it within the "singles" dollar amount, that's great!
The set dollar amount is why Black Friday shopping is absolutely necessary for me. I don't have to go crazy with the doorbusters....usually...but it's imperative that I find some pretty sweet deals in order to stay on budget. This year Old Navy was my saving grace. I was able to pick up gifts for all the kids, plus an adult or two, within my budgeted per-person price point. Later, I moved on to J.C. Penney and Barnes and Noble, where I also nabbed some great deals, using coupons to score even more bargains.
So really, I'm almost done with my Christmas shopping. Since Black Friday is over and I'm not QUITE done yet, you might be wondering how I'm going to stick to my budget AFTER the doors have been busted. Here are a few ideas, for me and you, on how to get some great after-black-friday-and-cyber-monday prices:
1. Amazon.com. Every day they are slashing prices on different products. You just have to watch. I suggest "pre-shopping," which is what I do in stores a lot, too. Go onto the site, scope out the product you want, and then wait a couple of days. If it doesn't go on sale for 3 days, go ahead and buy it. OR wait it out! If you have time before NEEDING to ship something, wait to your little heart's content. Also, make sure you sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime, which will get you free shipping! After your free trial is up there's a charge for it, but depending on how hooked you are after your Amazon shopping experience, it may be worth it. If you have a student email account (ending in .edu) you get a membership for free!!!
2. Kohl's. Y'all know Kohl's always has everything on sale. I have my own personal thoughts on that, but I'll save them for a rainy day. I find it difficult to sort through the racks of the sale items, so I usually find coupons online by Google searching for "Kohl's Printable Coupons" and combine that with other sales to make better deals. Also, they usually have some sort of $5.00 item at the front of the door; right now it's Dr. Seuss books and stuffed animals, and that might be an easy way to get some shopping done.
3. Book stores. Any book store is going to have a "Bargain Books" shelf. If you look hard enough, you can find something for everyone. Keep your smart phone handy so when you come across something you THINK someone might like but you're not sure, you can do a quick Google search. For example, "Was Henry Kissinger a Democrat?" "Yes." "Okay, not a good book for Dad. Let's find a Republican bargain book."
4. iPhone Apps. I'm not sure about other smart phones, but there are a few apps for the iPhone that let you take a picture of any item's bar code and it will tell you if there are any local retailers or online retailers that sell the product for cheaper. I always feel like I'm cheating when I'm using my app, but I have more often than not put the item down and headed elsewhere for it.
Alrighty, there you have them. My four biggest tips for Holiday gifts. These are the tips I'm using to get me through the rest of my Christmas shopping. Do you have any more suggestions?
What is your budget this year? How do you plan to stay within those confines?