With 7 weeks to go until Christmas is upon us, we may not want to start thinking about that snowy, once a year, gift filled event, but we might just have to.
To make sure that your Christmas is fun filled and as relaxed and un-stressful as possible each week I will be filling up a blog post full of tips and tricks to keep you merry this Christmas season.
This week > Start your Gift List
With numbers increasing year on year of those buying online it is more important than ever that you get in ahead of the crowd.
The closer you get to the 24th the more chance their is of your gift arriving late. No matter how great your online seller is or how much you plan with final postal dates in mind, the busier the post office the bigger the chance of things getting lost, or arriving late.
Step 1 > Get organised
Use Google Docs, Evernote or just a plain old notebook and list down everyone you want to give a gift to. Whatever you use, make sure it’s something that is easily accessible, you never know when a present idea may come to you.
List out all the people you will be giving gifts to and then divide them up geographically. Look at whatever postal service you will be using and check to see their final postal dates. For example if I am posting from Ireland I would list them as follows.
|1 USA, Rest of World|
|3 – Europe|
|4 – UK|
|5 – Ireland (posting)|
|6 – Ireland – seeing them in person|
(eg If you are posting your gifts from Ireland to USA then you will need to have them ready to ship by the start of December. In 2013 the cut off date for postage to USA was the 6th December)
Step 2 > Brainstorm
A Mark down if you are buying the present with someone else, or if you have a set budget for certain people. This will help stop you from getting carried away and spending all your loot on one person. (This is also a really good record to have from one year to the next)
B Brainstorm ideas, if you do this early enough then you can gather ideas while you are out shopping, online, with friends (if they mention something they like) and take snaps when you see things. This is where an online app like Evernote comes in really handy as you can add tags and put things in different notebooks.
C Sort through any gifts you might already have bought, I have a gift cupboard that I add to during the year. Get your list and make sure that you haven’t already got the perfect gift already.
Step 3 > Clever Online Shopping
* Sign up to websites such as Etsy – Not on the high street – Folksy – Hatch If you are on their Mailing Lists you will often be the first to know about Special Offers and sales. And all these sites will be trying to entice customers to buy coming up to Christmas so they will all be offering you something. Also if you find shops that you like on these sites follow them on social media, whether it is facebook, pinterest or twitter, again you will be exposed to more special offers and deals in the run up to Christmas.
* Any time you are buying on a website before you click confirm go to Google and type in “promo code” followed by whatever website you are on. So for example “promo code etsy” Then so to search tools > any time > past month (this reduces the chance of the codes being out of date). Play around with the search terms, maybe use coupon code or discount or 10% off.
You will probably need to try out quite a few, but you can often find a nice little discount. Also if you are buying from an independent seller shops (like mine for example) sign up to the Mailing List before you buy, as I often give new subscribers discount codes. Or check out their facebook pages to see if there were any recent coupon codes.
* Batch order. Try to buy as many things from the one seller as possible to combine on postage. If postage looks expensive, look into using services such as Parcel Motel . I use this all the time to save on postage from the UK or sometimes when some sites do not offer postage to your country.
* Often small hand made businesses (like mine) sell on several different sites, look at all of these platforms as sometimes things like exchange rates can give you a better deal on one site versus another. I also always try to buy directly from their own website, for example I offer free shipping on my own website.
Step 4 > Get Started
The number one step to getting organised is to take action. So you’ve read this blog post, now you need to take action. Decide how you want to record your list, make yourself a cup of tea and spend just 30 minutes on step 1 and 2.
Then check out some of the sites I mentioned above, with your list in mind you now have more targetted search ideas so you will spend less time aimlessly looking.
I hope this was helpful and if you have any questions pop on over to my Facebook page and ask away.
In next weeks post we will look at
– Making your own presents