it’s that time of year
I recently shared my holiday shopping guide for kids over at the Etsy blog. Check it out here. It’s a pretty little list full of wonderful handmade and vintage goods with a variety for different budgets. I did get a few things from that list and I’m happy to say that I am pretty much done with my Christmas shopping. Woot! Woot! I have about 3 things left to order, and then get some little stocking stuffers for the girls (and Ben), Ben and I are doing another handmade gift for each other, and the girls and I have to do a little bit of baking and making for our friends. For our girls, we typically give them two smaller gifts each, and then one community one from “Santa.” Honestly though, Glow will just get one because she is still little and she has 3 older sisters who already have a lot of stuff, so she has plenty of stuff to choose from for wear and play!
I have some shopping rules that I try to stick by that definitely help me in evaluating a purchase…
1. I only buy something that makes me wanna dance. I think I read that on an article on A Cup of Jo eons ago. It’s true though, if something just makes you go “eh,” well, don’t get it.
2. Along with #1, I only buy something on sale that I loved enough to buy it full price. I think store sales are a mental game retailers play with our minds, but I try not to let them win. Before, I use to see something on sale, think it was cute, and since it was on sale, it felt like it was a deal I couldn’t pass up and the fact that it was on sale made it cuter, and I would buy it. I’d have the “it’s on sale, why not mentality.” Then, I started realizing the sale items I got were kind of unnecessary items that I didn’t love and only bought because it was on sale. I don’t know if this makes sense or if I’m clearly explaining this rule I made for myself correctly, but it has worked for me and has eliminated some impulse purchases.
3. Be careful when looking Fab, Gilt, and other sites that work in a similar fashion. I subscribe to all their emails (and have made purchases in the past), but I won’t click on it unless they have a brand that I have been waiting for. For example, Fab had Monchichi dolls recently and that’s on the wish list of two of my girls, so I checked it out. Other than that, I never click on them because those sites are so smart and know how to get us where it hurts… our wallet. If you peruse regularly, chances are you see something nice and then with a place like Gilt, they time you from the time you put the item in your cart, then you feel like you need to make a decision right then and there or someone else will snatch it, and heaven forbid they run out because then you’ll want it even more. Am I right?! Those sites have great deals, but they’re also dangerous.
4. I have a list and I stick with it. I make sure I know what I want, so I don’t come out with a lot of things I don’t really need. When I go to the mall, I don’t just wander from shop to shop (for me, that takes too much time and it’s too stressful with kids). I know where I want to go, and I go in and get out. When I have wandered from shop to shop, I find lots of things I like and all of sudden start really wanting those things and fooling myself to think I need those things, but reality is I don’t need them.
5. What I don’t know, won’t hurt me. I use this when I go to the flea markets. I used to like to go really early, but these days with the 4, it just isn’t as realistic, so I figure if I don’t know what I missed, I won’t feel so bad and end up with more cash in my pocket. Also, steering clear of the flea market (or thrift shops) helps in the savings department too. I try to stay away from my fave online shops too, but that’s a little harder to do.
I love shopping! It’s fun, but also dangerous, so I made rules for myself. We budget, so that helps keep me grounded, but it also involves working on contentment, which can be tough. It’s definitely a heart issue. There will always be something I’m wanting, but I’ve got to check where I am really placing my joy. I love my friend Frances’s motto, “appreciated, but not coveted.” I think it’s good to appreciate things because it’s fun and we should always have fun in life, but be careful of not coveting it.
How do you handle holiday shopping or shopping in general? I know some of you do the three gift rule… want, wear, and read, which I think is a great rule. Do you have a set budget each year? Do you have lists or just enjoy walking from shop to shop to see what you may find?