I looked at my calendar for this weekend and realized that my nephew's birthday is on Saturday and, per the usual for me, I do not have a gift ready to send. Nor do I have time between now and then to get him one. What's an effective way to stock up on gifts so that I'm not running around like a lunatic at the last minute every time?
One simple solution for avoiding the stress of the last minute gift scramble is to assemble a Gift Closet, or stockpile of pre-wrapped gifts at the ready. At first blush, stocking up on randomly chosen gifts may seem a bit daunting or perhaps even a bit impersonal. But the rewards (think better gifts and big savings) are significant and far outweigh any downsides. Youll quickly find that it is much easier and more efficient, economically and time-wise, to do all of your gift shopping in one day. Keep reading for some tips on how to assemble your own sanity-saving gift closet.
Making a List. The first step is to make a list of everyone you know you will need to buy presents for and for which events in the next six to twelve months. Your nephew, for instance, will probably get something for his birthday and for Christmas. So, you list him and put a two next to his name. Also, you need to make a note for yourself that designates is this someone you want to get the exact right thing for, or merely something generally considered gender appropriate - a football versus a Cinderella DVD. Finally, youll need to note the range you should be spending for each person. Once done, you have a shopping blueprint.
Economies of Scale. Once your list is complete, you're ready to go shopping. The best times to stock up on gifts for the year tend to be right after major holidays, like Christmas, or other traditional sales dates like Mothers Day and back to school. There is still usually a great selection available, and the prices are slashed. And make sure to keep an eye open for toy store clearance sales, which can come up at random. Youll compound your savings by stocking up all at once. While youre out, be sure to pick up a few rolls of wrapping paper and a pack of blank cards to attach to your gifts. That way you arent scrambling for those crucial items (and paying through the nose) at the last minute either.
Flex Time. If you are too busy to go out to shop, the internet makes it possible to stock up (and pre-wrap!) gifts. Take your gift list to Amazon.com or another online retailer during your next lunch break and point and click your way to a gift closet. And if you travel a bit on business, why not take an hour or two to peruse the town youre visiting for a few notable gifts. Without kids or husbands to worry about, you might just be able to crack through your list. Plus most stores are happy to ship goods directly to your home (you might even save some on sales tax while you're at it).