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This is the first day in the 7 Ways to Pile Up Christmas Money Series.

Today let’s talk about something I mention often, because it is my number one tip for saving money.  Plan ahead.

[Tweet “The number one way to save #money in almost any situation is to plan ahead. Here’s how.”]

7 Ways to Pile Up Christmas Money: Way #1- Make a List

Today’s assignment is pretty straightforward.  Consider your past gift giving.  You need to know:

Who to Buy For

On your people to buy for list, start with the obvious and go from there.

  • Your closest loved ones.
  • Any other family or friends that spring to mind as people who you’d like to give a gift to.
  • Teachers/school staff
  • Coworkers/bosses
  • Your children’s closest friends

Ok to leave off:

  • Gifts you only give out of obligation

Maybe it’s because I’ve been reading Boundaries, but I no longer feel that it’s important to keep gifts around “just in case” you forgot someone. We shouldn’t buy gifts out of obligation.  If your budget is tight and you have to limit giving to immediate family members, do it.  Don’t let anyone force you to go into debt just to buy extra gifts.

[Tweet “The truth is, it’s no longer “giving” if you aren’t doing it from a place of love and generosity. “]

The truth is, it’s no longer giving if you aren’t doing it from a place of love and generosity. If you are only giving to someone to avoid guilt or anger, it’s time to re-evaluate the relationship you have with this person.  If they truly love and appreciates you, they will sympathize with your circumstances.

How much will you spend for each person?

You don’t need an exact number yet. But narrow down a price that you’d like to spend for each person.  Or choose an overall budget to stay within.

List Events or Parties

Don’t forget extra events or parties you usually attend.  Remember Secret Santa/Yankee Swap/White/etc. types of parties.  If you’ll need to bring gifts, food, or other expenses, then be sure to budget for it.

Homework for today:

Write out your list (or create a spreadsheet…whatever you prefer) of people or events that you will need a gift for. Evaluate each name or event on the list to make sure it is someone or something you truly value.

Erase any names or events that bring up an overwhelming sense of obligation or dread.  You want to truly give in every meaning of the word this year.

How do you see gift giving?  Is it ok to leave people off of your gift giving list?

Way 2 is ways to get discounted and even free Gift Cards.

Or for links to the entire series, click here.