Only two sleeps until Christmas!  Why is it that every year it’s always the same – a mad rush to finish work for the year and then there’s getting the Christmas shopping done.

Decisions await us, like, organising the food for Christmas Day, did I remember to invite Aunty Jill, do I really want to spend this much and will the unpredictable Kiwi weather let us eat outside this year.

For many Kiwi’s, Christmas also signals the start of our summer holidays.  After all this rushing around, countless numbers take to the roads and battle the holiday traffic as we head off to our favourite holiday spot for a bit of R & R in the sun.

This time of year is also the perfect time to do what a lot of people love to do – shopping!!  So, for me Christmas shopping isn’t a chore.  It’s an event that requires planning and usually starts around October and runs right up until Christmas Eve (and we may even duck away for the Boxing Day sales!).  I always seem to find that little extra something for someone in the family (okay, sometimes for myself as well).

Christmas shopping funds

While this is all great fun, it does tend to put a big strain on the Christmas shopping funds.  So, this year I resolved to do things differently.

I wrote my list (yes, I know it’s a bit pedantic, but I can’t help myself) of who we need to buy for.  We usually try and have an certain amount that we allocate for each person, but this year we opted for a different approach and decided on a total Christmas shopping budget.

Yes, I did the quick maths to work out roughly how much per person and then off we went.  I still started in October, more by accident really.  We were out of town at a conference and it is always fun to have a wander around shops in another city, you never know what you will find.

Changing our thinking worked really well for us.  Instead of being driven by how much each gift was; why do stores bunch them by value?  We were really thinking about who we were buying for and searching for interesting and different gifts that still fit within our overall budget.

There were some amazing pre-Christmas sales and we were able to pick up some real bargains.  We added a bit of online shopping and finished off with a few homemade gifts as well.

Home made gifts

If you’re into home baking, things like preserves, spreads or Christmas cakes can sure a real personal touch to gifts.  With plenty of lemons at this time of the year, Lemon Curd is a big hit!

We are really pleased with our efforts and guess what, I came in slightly under budget.  So, I was able to pop out and get a couple of extra gifts for some other friends who are joining us on Christmas Day.

Everything is wrapped and under the tree (apart from the edible gifts); Coco our Labrador can hunt out food even if gift wrapped (she still hasn’t been forgiven for eating the Christmas cake last year).

I guess we will know how successful our new way of shopping has been on Christmas day when family and friends are here to open them.

With shopping over for another year, it’s time to sort out Christmas dinner.

From the all of us here at Money Mentalist, have a very merry Christmas, safe holidays and we look forward to talking to you in the New Year.

If you have any questions around this or you would like to discover how you can change the way you think about your money, then drop us an email or click on this link to find a day and time that suits you to have a chat with us.  Best of all – it’s free!