Friday, 26 October 2018

How I Prepare For Christmas.

Christmas Shopping, How to Budget, Shopping, lbloggersuk, mental health, debt money worries,

The amount of people who moan about Christmas decorations and gift ideas appearing in shops in September does make me giggle. I don't understand why it offends people so much (and yes I have worked in retail and listened endlessly to Christmas songs on a loop). Just walk past and ignore it if you're not ready to deal with it all but Christmas is coming my friends and before you know it, it will be here.

I love Christmas and always have, what's not to love about quality time spent with family, delicious food (calories don't count in December) beautiful decorations, cosy twinkly lights and lots of festive events such as local light switch ons, carol services and cheese and wine nights with friends.

Now we have Savannah I love Christmas even more; children definitely make it even more magical and presents are an important element of Christmas for children so I like to be prepared. Come December I want to be done with present shopping and enjoy the build up to the festive season, not be stressing about how much I still need to buy and how much money we still have to spend.

That's why I prepare way in advance. It isn't worth getting stressed and worried about Christmas and it definitely isn't worth getting into debt. It is on the same date each year so none of us have any excuse even when you're on a tight budget.

Here are some of the easy ways I ease the stress of Christmas costs:

SAVE ALL YEAR.

There have been times we have been on a stupidly tight budget and still I will save a little when I can to go towards Christmas. Sometimes it is easier said than done and obviously if other things are needed more urgently than saving for Christmas that would take priority but generally if you can save about £20 a month minimum that means you would have £240 come December which should be enough for food and drink costs at least.

COLLECT VOUCHERS.

Most supermarkets offer a reward points scheme so if you're not signed up to them, get signed up ASAP! We collect club card points from Tesco, saving up the points all year to go towards Christmas. They come in handy not only for buying food and drink but even toys. Even better if you buy the toys in their half price toy sale too!

I did use points earlier in the year to go towards something else but we should still have around £50 come December, I plan on using our points to do a food shop on the week Patrick won't be paid (he is self employed and not paid for being off Christmas week).

START BUYING EARLY.

It is never too early to start buying Christmas pressies and if you're unsure as to what to buy your little ones but worry you may spend the money saved up, purchase a toy shop gift card so that you have the money there ready to go when you have a better idea.

I already have most of Savannahs presents from Santa (bar maybe two more) and her stocking fillers and Christmas Eve box gifts. I just need to purchase her main present which is from us (and I am waiting for Black Friday in order to make said purchase).

SHOP THE SALES.

There are LOTS of sales on at this time of year to ensure that you can nab a bargain. If you want to be super organised you can research when the best sales are on and mark them on your calendar. I always recommend shopping the Black Friday sale especially if you're after gadgets; I do it from the comfort of my bed very early in the morning to avoid any queues or disappointment.

Toy shops and supermarkets have great sales on at this time of year too. If you are wanting to add to your Christmas decorations too, the January sales are the best time to pick up some lovely pieces for the following years festivities.

SET BUDGETS AND STICK TO THEM.

This one is really important. Yes, it is lovely to shower your loved ones with endless amazing gifts but if your budget doesn't allow for it then it isn't possible. End of. This includes your children too, don't get into debt for items they will be bored with long before you have paid it all off.

Those who love you will not want you to financially cripple yourself just to buy them a present. Also, when people are bought gifts by others they automatically feel obliged to return the favour even when they can't really afford it. Why not talk to family about doing secret Santa? Speak to friends about a spend limit or even just buying for children instead? You could even get loved ones to sign one of Martin Lewis's PRE-Christmas NUPPS too.

I know we don't want to think about Christmas when we are still hoping to get a bit more wear out of our denim shorts and vest tops but preparing for Christmas doesn't mean digging out your festive knitwear and playing Slade on a loop.

Being prepared doesn't have to be hard or stressful and it makes life a lot easier in the long run. Most importantly of all though, enjoy the festivities and time spent with loved ones.


Photo Source: publicdomainpictures.net


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