It might feel like Christmas is still far off, but the time is going to fly by just like it does every year. Before you head out to the stores to buy the gifts your children are begging for, make sure to cross these off of your to-do list.

1. Take Stock

Your children likely have a ton of toys and items they no longer play with or use. While they’re off at school or on a playdate, take inventory of what they have and what they need. Are new sheets in order? What about clothing? Little children would love to get these everyday items as gifts if they have their favorite characters on them. If they have way too many My Little Ponies, you can take note and remember not to buy them anymore of those.

2. Donate

Make room for the new items arriving at Christmas by donating the old. Make a pile of items that are too broken or worn to be donated and recycle or trash the rest. Make another pile of items in good condition that can be donated. Your children will likely never even notice they are gone.

3. Set Your Budget

If you head into your holiday shopping without a budget, your bank account is going to tank. Set a budget per child and stick to it. It will help you to not overbuy, overspend, or spoil your children.

4. Make a List

Once you know what your children have and what they need as well as what your budget is, make a list of items along with their prices. When sale flyers begin to arrive, you can cross reference your list so that you find the best deals. Be sure to stick to your list when you head out to shop.

5. Talk to Family and Friends

Our family and friends have the best of intentions when they buy gifts for our children, but sometimes they buy items the children already have or would never use. Other times, they buy too much stuff and the children are totally overwhelmed. Send a specific wish list to each family member so that gifts aren’t duplicated. You can ask them to stick to gift cards or a promise of a day of a fun with the kids.

Happy Shopping!