Saturday, 19 October 2019

Why start your Christmas shopping early

It may feel like Christmas is ages away, but I hate to break it to you: there are only 9 weeks to go.

Every year I say I’m going to start my shopping early and every year there I am on Christmas Eve, elbowing my way through the crowds of Oxford Street in search of a pair of socks for my dad. My dad must have the best sock collection in London.

My December wages tend to hit my bank account on the 22nd of the month and I don’t get paid again until the end of January. That makes for a pretty depressing and stressful start to the year.

So, this year I’m going to change things up and try and get organised early on. I’m hoping that by spreading the cost of Christmas over a couple of months, I won’t be left doing an
enforced dry January.

Here are a few ideas to prevent a festive financial hangover.

I know the sight of tinsel and mince pies in the shops in October can leave you tutting around your local Tesco (just me?) but if you can’t beat them, join them.

You could stick a box of Christmas cards and some decorations in your trolley during your next shop. Just don’t forget you’ve bought them when it comes to getting them out in December.

Another tip is to stock up on sweets and chocolates the day after Halloween when they’re on sale in most supermarkets (just check the use by date). That’s presents for the teachers sorted.

It’s also a good idea to write your gift list now so you don’t end up having to make last minute, online purchases, which could come with sky-high delivery charges.

A lot of popular gifts are marked up in December so you could save some money buying early. Starting the present search now also means you can shop around and find the best price. Check out PriceSpy, which compares prices of products from a range of
online shops.

You could buy your presents on Black Friday (29 November) or Cyber Monday (2 December) when prices are often slashed on popular items. But a word of warning: do your research now to make sure retailers haven’t artificially bumped up their prices in the lead up to these mega sales days, only to claim they’ve made massive reductions.

Finally, set expectations now. Tell your kids they can ask Father Christmas for one main present, for example, or have a conversation with your friends and family about setting a budget for gifts or doing a Secret Santa.

And finally, finally, don’t get carried away. Just because someone on your Instagram feed turns their house into a Winter Wonderland from November onwards doesn’t mean you have to. If you can’t resist, Poundland is your friend.



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