It was too good to be true! I'm tempted to shop online for these last two gifts, but already the gifts I ordered last month are slowly trickling in now, December 12th. I don't think I want to risk it.
You can thank Walmart for that. They offer "free shipping" that is supposed to arrive in five business days, but what they don't tell you is that it takes 5-10 days for them to assemble your package and ship it. Then it's FIVE MORE DAYS on top of that. I have gifts I ordered November 30th and December 1st and they won't arrive until December 20th!
This year I got some great deals on gifts though! As a freelancer, you have to be savvy with your money year-round and especially during Christmas shopping. I set a budget per person every year and my goal is to stay under it. We ended up going $30 over on one person, but saved $25 on another, so really we were only $5 over.
Planning Starts January 1st!
I use a planner, but I actually start my Christmas budget in January. So January 1, 2014 I will start budgeting for Christmas shopping 2014. I'm on the Dave Ramsey plan -- I'm sure you've heard of it. While I dont use cash for everything (debit card instead) I follow the rest. Christmas is considered a "big expense" so I start putting money aside in January. Usually I try to put aside $30 per month. By the time December comes around I have $360. I have the man put aside $25 to $30 per month too and we combine. If I see a great deal on something throughout the year for Christmas, I pull from that fund and buy.
For my son I already bought three toys at the start of the year at Target's big toy clearance -- 80% off! Then I saved them. Cyber Monday I got my daughter's kitchen set (or should I say Santa got it) for 40% off. I got the man's gift for 60% off. I love deals.
How do you plan for Christmas expenditures as a freelancer? Since income can vary month-to-month for us freelancers, I always feel it's safe when you plan throughout the year rather than try to come up with $500 to $600 in one month. I usually try to work extra November and December to save even more. What about you my fellow freelancers?