Christmas is officially one month away!
This year, my sisters, my good friend and I decided to get together and celebrate Christmas together. As four of us are living in different countries, December has become the month we most look forward to–such a rare opportunity for four of us to be in the same country and celebrate our favorite holiday.
When I start hearing Christmas songs playing in the shopping malls, I know the time for me to do my Christmas shopping has finally arrived. Apart from the Christmas get-together with my sisters and friend, I was nudged to attend my office’s Christmas party where Secret Santa will be involved, which means I will have to put additional gifts into my shopping cart. Christmas shopping is something I both love and hate–I love the idea of buying gifts for my loved ones to lighten up their day (Christmas, in this case) but I hate wreaking havoc on my wallet. My previous years’ Christmas spending has gone a little over budget simply because I was way too excited about the massive year-end sales and having no solid plan to help combat my impulsive buying. (Those ornaments on a non-existing Christmas tree have to pass this year, thanks but no thanks.)
So, this year, I’ve decided to put in place a strategy to help you with your Christmas shopping so you don’t have to go over budget and kick yourself later like me.
Step 1: Allocate an amount of money for Christmas shopping.
Before you finish spending all your money on crazy year-end sales, start putting away a specific amount of money and dedicate it to buying Christmas gifts. Now is a good time to start saving that money if you haven’t done so earlier. You are free to decide that amount based on your financial situation. Say, you want to put RM500 away for your Christmas shopping.
Step 2: Make a list of people who will receive your Christmas gifts.
Your friends–Mandy, Sally, Derek; your loving parents; your annoying sister; your cute grandpa and grandma; your handsome husband/boyfriend; your demanding boss; your kepoh colleague; your celebrity crush–Jennifer Lawrence, whoever those are. Write them down on your list. BONUS: I’ve created the printable planner for you which you can download for FREE below. 🙂
Step 3: Decide how much you want to spend on the gifts for each person on your list.
RM100 for dad and mom each, RM50 for sister, RM50 for your partner… you got the drill. Just having a place where it’s all written will almost always guarantee to keep your spending on track. After those decisions are made, it’s time to think about the gifts you want to buy for them based on the budget for each person. Remember the reason for this season. You don’t have to buy expensive gifts for your loved ones to show them you love them. As cliché as it may sound, it’s always the thought that counts.
Step 4: Go hunt.
Now that you have your budget and list, it’s time for you to shop. If you plan to visit shopping malls, make sure you go early. First, you want to avoid the crowd. Second, you want to make sure things you plan to buy on sale doesn’t sell out. I personally like to shop online. My life is easier when I don’t have to shop in the hustle and bustle of the malls, also I tend to get better deals online with websites like Shopback, Lazada, 11street, Fave etc. When you shop online, it actually gives you time to pause and think if the thing you are buying match up against your budget and your list as opposed to going to stores and have the urge to put something extra into your cart especially when you see others trying to “attack” the sales rack a.k.a. impulse buying. Don’t get caught up in the hype, though it’s great to visit the shopping malls for its festive decorations and display.
These are my top 10 favorite gift ideas that are budget-friendly and practical (in no specific order).
- 2018 planner for the organized type-A friend
- Tea set for the tea lover
- Cookbook/recipe book for the master chef
- Makeup products for the beauty junkie
- Personalized necklace for the special friend
- Powerbank for the friend who always yells “my phone is dying!”
- Portable Bluetooth speaker for the music lover
- Travel kit for the globetrotter
- Sheet masks for the friend who loves skincare
- Electric toothbrush for.. everyone (like, who doesn’t brush teeth?)
Celebrating Christmas doesn’t necessarily mean spending a fortune on gifts. With a budget and list on hand, you’re always good to go. The last thing you want to do is to find yourself appalled by your bank statement by the end of month.