My big shopping holiday is Christmas. The food, the decorations, the presents, pictures with Santa etc. I make lists upon lists upon lists. Starting in the beginning of October. How do I want to decorate the house? Make a list. What do I need to decorate the house? Make a list. What's for dinner? Who wants what under the tree? What will I stuff in their stockings? Where are we going to celebrate? Does everyone have something appropriate to wear? What do I still need? List. List. List. List. When the WHAT is covered the HOW comes into play. Sale ads, clearance racks, coupons, lightning deals, shipping costs, secondhand, etc. List. List. List. Dinner: what can I buy now vs what doesn't exactly have a great shelf life? List. Money: how much is in the bank? What can I afford to spend? Each item, what did i spend? List.
I know it sounds crazy. My whole family thinks I'm crazy. But the way I see it, it is what works for me. Everything is written out in a clear, concise, thought out process that works for me. My life is already busy and hectic so this is what helps me put together a great holiday on a budget with little extra time.
Last year I managed presents and dinner for 10 adults, 3 teenagers, and 5 younger children. I decorated the whole house, stuffed stockings, made 24 goodie bags, made 2 trips to see Santa, dressed 3 people, put in volunteer time, met everyone's needs and wants, and had an excellent, memorable holiday for under $200. So my family can say what they want about my crazy list making but it works! Lol what works for you when you have a big holiday coming? Or a big event in general?