Super simple Christmas gift shopping planner

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Here’s a simple guide to planning your Christmas gift shopping, complete with a link to a free downloadable Christmas gift shopping planner you can print out or use online. 

How to win at Christmas gift shopping

Shopping for Christmas gifts can be time-consuming and sap your brainpower.

Badly handled gift shopping can also be super expensive.

In short, the whole thing can be a complete pain in the backside.

No matter how much you love the ones you’re buying gifts for.

But there is a way to take the pain out of it.

A way to get all your Christmas gift shopping done and dusted in a pain-free manner.

It just takes a little bit of planning and organisation.

Let me take you through the simple steps you can follow to get your Christmas gift shopping done this year.

Super simple Christmas shopping plan

1. Create a plan

I tend to give myself an hour to sit and write out a plan.

It keeps me focused on getting the job done.

Want to nail your gift plan?

Grab your laptop or computer and use this link to grab a copy of the Christmas gift planner I’ve created: Access the planner here: Christmas gift planner

You will need to have your own G:Drive, as you will be prompted to sign in to it. Then click ‘MAKE A COPY’ to save a copy of the planner to your own G:Drive and use.

Don’t worry, there’s no email sign up to access it.

But if you do find it useful and want to keep in touch I’d love you to sign up to receive emails when new content comes out.

There’s an email sign up form in the footer of the site.

Once you have the planner open it’s all pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll give you a quick heads up.

How to use the Christmas gift shopping planner

  • First up, you need to set an overall budget.
  • Then in the first column list out everyone you need to buy a gift for
  • Add detail of the exact gift or the kind of thing you want to buy into column two
  • Jot down any ideas you have for where to buy the gift in the third column
  • In the fourth column, you can set a budget for each person’s gift – that way you can easily check if you’re likely to blow your overall budget before you’ve even started shopping
  • You’ll keep a running tally of your spending by adding the cost of each gift into column five
  • Finally, column six is set up to show the balance against the set budget

The balance will keep you on track and if you end up making savings on one gift, you know you have that money to spend on another gift – or to simply bank as a saving.

2. Book some shopping time

Book time into your calendar to do your gift shopping.

It’s far better to do it in manageable chunks than a little bit here and there.

It takes less time and less brainpower.

I always tend to go for the end of November, ideally at some point in the week leading up to and including Black Friday.

I’ve got some tips on how to win at Black Friday shopping you can read up on.

That way I know two things:

  1. all my gift shopping is done and dusted in plenty of time for Christmas
  2. I’ve given myself the best chance to snap up bargains and get the best deals

You should have a rough idea from the Christmas gift shopping planner what the ratio is of online shops to shops you’ll need to visit.

So plan the amount of time you think you’ll need accordingly.

I usually allow a good half-day for online shopping and a day for visiting the shops.

3. Go online before you head to the shopping mall

My big piece of advice is to do the online shopping before you head to the shops.

It’s far easier to suss out the bargains online.

Plus there is the benefit of having it everything delivered versus having to carry heavy bags around a shopping mall.

Online Christmas gifts shopping tips

Your online shopping will be part reconnaissance mission and part buying.

Start with the gifts where you know exactly what you want to buy

For example, a particular lipstick from a beauty brand or a particular kids toy.

I tend to follow this process for each gift:

  1. Do a quick google search to see if you can spot any special offers
  2. Establish which online stores stock the product and at which prices
  3. Compare shipping costs
  4. Visit a couple of voucher code sites to see if there are any special Christmas promo codes. I tend to always visit one I know I can trust, which is I’ve also got the Vouchercodes App.
  5. Update the shop column with the online store you’re planning to buy from and note any voucher codes
  6. Don’t buy until you have noted everything you’re going to buy from a particular store, to maximise on free or reduced shipping

For gifts where you need to find inspiration

When you know the kind of thing you want to buy but don’t yet know the exact gift, your first mission needs to be for inspiration.

Here’s what I tend to do to nail down a gift idea:

  1. Quick trip to Pinterest to search for gift inspiration – create a gift board, you can make it a secret board to keep prying eyes away.
  2. Google search phrases – ‘gift ideas for mums, wooden toy gifts for 2 year old’ – I also tend to pin ideas to my Pinterest board
  3. Visit favourite blogs and magazine sites for gift ideas – again I usually pin ideas to my secret Pinterest board
  4. Make a note of the gift ideas on the planner along with where to buy them
  5. Revisit the steps for buying an exact gift above to double-check for best price / overall cost including shipping

Once you have your plan complete for all your online shopping, get buying.

Group gifts by online store to maximise on free or discounted shipping.

Finally, make sure you’ve updated the actual cost column and check the total amount in the balance column.

Then you’ll have a clear idea of whether you’ve overspent, underspent or are on target.

4. Go on one big Christmas gift shopping trip

Book this into your diary as far ahead of time as possible.

Make sure that there’s someone to look after your kids.

This trip needs to be solo if you really want to get everything in one trip.

You can always head out another day for a more fun and social Christmas shopping trip with friends and family.

Get prepared before you head out

Revisit your Christmas gift planner.

Either print out a copy of the planner or write out a list of every gift you need to buy and where you need to buy it from.

Head to the big department stores first, where you can buy a bunch of gifts in one place.

Aim to keep a note of the prices as you buy.

Try and keep all receipts in one place, rather than in each shopping bag.

Make sure you get a gift receipt if there’s a likelihood it might need to be exchanged.

Once back home tally up the final cost of each gift and do one final check of the balance column for your big total.

Congratulations if you come in under budget or on budget.

I hope this post is of use, I know that sometimes life is so hectic it is useful for someone else to spell out a simple process rather than you having to think too deeply about it yourself.

Download the gift shopping planner

Don’t forget you can download the planner to print from this link: Christmas gift planner


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Free Christmas gift shopping planner