Staying Organized During Christmas Shopping Season

Hi everyone and happy Cyber Monday.

Although I do go out and do a little bit of shopping on Black Friday, I much prefer ordering Christmas gifts online. You really can’t beat the deals and the ease of having your purchases show up at your doorstep.

As a seasoned Cyber Monday shopper, I know that it’s easy for things to get a little out of control. Sometimes the deals are so good that it’s hard to step away from a purchase that might not be 100% necessary. It can also be difficult to track what was purchased for a certain family member, where various receipts or shipping confirmations ended up, or how much money has been spent.

Enter: my tips for staying organized during Christmas shopping season.

Tip #1 – Set a budget, and don’t be afraid to go under it

Having a budget in mind is so important, or else it’s very, very easy to overspend. Rather than setting a “grand total” budget, I usually try to designate a certain amount for each person on my list. However, when I’ve purchased everything I intended to buy for someone – whether I’ve reached my monetary limit or not – I stop (or at least try to). For example, if I plan to spend $100 on Chris, but find really great deals on everything on my list and only end up spending $85, then that’s okay!

Maybe this is a “duh” tip to everyone else, but I always feel the need to continue spending until I hit my set limit. The truth is, no one is totaling up how much you’ve spent on them, so smile to yourself about your great shopping skills and move on!

Tip #2 – Create a folder in your inbox for Christmas-related emails, receipts, and shipping confirmations

Email Folders

I like to email family members for gift ideas, and then keep their responses organized to refer to as needed. The same goes for online purchases – any and all emails regarding purchases go in the “Christmas 2012” folder, so I know where to find them if need be. You could even take things a set further and categorize them by person, family, or couple.

For gifts bought in-store instead of online, I keep all receipts organized by recipient in a small envelope.

Tip #3 – Create an Excel spreadsheet to organize purchases

Gift Spreadsheet

As you can see, the first column is where I list everyone’s name (don’t worry, we’ve got more than 2 people to shop for!). In column B, I record all items purchased and then the cost in column C. If I didn’t have a visual like this, I know that I’d feel super overwhelmed at having to remember who still needs what and how much money I have spent… this method makes it easy!

Questions for you…

  • Did you do any Cyber Monday shopping? I wasn’t feeling very organized or on top off Christmas shopping, but today sort of forced me to get my butt in gear.
  • Do you have any tips for staying organized during the holidays? Please share!
  • Do you have any unusual gift ideas? I’m always looking for new and different gifts to give!

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25 comments

  1. Katie @ KatieEnPursuit says:

    Aggghhh, so needed this! Thanks Erica! I’m the worst with tricking myself into thinking I’m organized and then 2 days before Christmas I’m running around like a madwoman. I just started a list on my phone for gift ideas so doing better than last year. I’ve been too busy at work to really cyber Monday shop, maybe this evening! I always tend to steer towards gifts that are not material things but “experiences”, concert tickets, a massage, etc. Happy Monday!
    Katie @ KatieEnPursuit recently posted..Pinterest Called, They Want to Give Me My Afternoon Back…My Profile

  2. Donna Komorosky says:

    I always keep a spreadsheet and I also create a folder in my email for all Christmas receipts. Great minds think a like!

  3. Steph @ StephSnacks says:

    I purchased a really nice sweater for my dad from the GAP this cyber Monday! It went from $90.00 to $62.00 so that was kind of a no-brainer. He’s going to love it. I generally write down what I want to get everyone and just check it off my list as I go. I’m going to try to cut back a little this year, if possible.
    Steph @ StephSnacks recently posted..Where Are You Christmas?My Profile

  4. Anna @AnnaTheApple says:

    Sounds like some really good plans! I get about as organised as making a spreadsheet, but this sounds really good. I’m starting to panic that time is running out!

  5. Stephanie @ My Freckled Life says:

    My husband and I have also started a google docs excel spreadsheet for our presents for people. That way we can both check it at any time and see updates from the other person! It has made it a lot easier this year! (I say that like I’ve really started Christmas shopping yet… NOT!)
    Stephanie @ My Freckled Life recently posted..Out of the HabitMy Profile

  6. Baking Serendipity says:

    I love the e-mail folder trick! I used to do a lot of online shopping and ship to my parents’ house so gifts were already there and I didn’t have to travel home with them, but I’m excited this year to shop in person and not worry about shipping gifts :)
    Baking Serendipity recently posted..‘Tis the SeasonMy Profile

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