I spent some time at Toys R Us this week; I needed to buy a birthday gift for my nephews and also do some Christmas shopping reconnaissance.  As I perused the aisles, I started thinking about all the reasons why it's so much better to start your Christmas shopping early.  So I made a list!  I love lists.  Please enjoy!

Reason #5:
It's kinder to your budget

Christmas is expensive.  And if you wait until December to do all your shopping, you will either end up with a whopping credit card bill or a depleted bank account.  Or both.  Don't do this to yourself.  Set a budget, make your shopping lists, and tackle them a little bit at a time.  Buy one or two things a week.  You'll thank yourself later.

Reason #4:
You can take advantage of early sales

A lot of people wait to start their Christmas shopping on Black Friday, because that's when they think they can get the best deals.  And while it's true that there are always some great sales on that day, items are usually in limited quantity and you have to fight major crowds to get to them. 

The truth is, if you keep your eye on the sales now, you could end up saving yourself more money and lose the stress of Black Friday shopping.  A couple of weeks ago, Toys R Us had all their Barbie dolls and accessories on sale for 50% off, but the sale only ran for two days.  I would have missed it, if it were not for Southern Savers. She posted about the sale on their Facebook page and I was able to take advantage of it.  I recommend following money saving blogs like Southern Savers so that you won't miss these sales when they pop up for a day or two!

Reason #3:
You can get it before it sells out (and gets more expensive)

Have you noticed how prices fluctuate on Amazon.com?  They can change not only from day to day, but from hour to hour!  Last year there was a particular toy that I wanted to buy for my youngest.  It was around $40.  I waited too long to order it, and one day I pulled it up and it was $200!  The reason was that it was in demand and it was close to Christmas.  And when it's close to Christmas, people will get desperate and pay ridiculous prices.  (And no, I didn't buy it.)  Don't be like me.  Get them now before they sell out.

But what if you can't afford it just yet?  Toys R Us offers a Hot Toy Reservation which allows you to put a deposit on certain toys so that you are guaranteed to get it later.  I just reserved a couple toys yesterday.  But you have to act quickly, because this ends on Halloween.  Toys R Us is also offering free layaway through Halloween.  Lots of other stores offer layaway as well-- just be careful about what fees they charge.

Reason #2:
If you buy it early, you can wrap it early

A few Christmases ago, I was pregnant with my youngest child.  I was tired and scatterbrained.  For some reason, I waited until Christmas Eve to wrap all the presents.  It was the worst Christmas Eve ever.

Do not wait until the week before Christmas to do all your wrapping.  You don't have to wrap them as soon as you buy them, either.  But make a point to do some wrapping here and there.  (Just make sure you label who it's for!)  You won't regret it.  Especially when you realize how much stress you have saved yourself by doing it ahead of time.  Which brings me to my final point...

Reason #1:
LESS STRESS for the holidays

Whenever I hear someone say, "I dread the holidays" or worse yet, "I hate the holidays," it makes me sad.  Christmas should be a joyful time for you and your family.  When you plan ahead, you are giving yourself the gift of a less stressful holiday season.  Remember that. 



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