Now Bonfire Night is over, I see the shops are going full on for Christmas. All good stuff – especially as I started my Christmas shopping before half-term. Nice little three-for-two offer at Laura Ashley sorted the cracker and napkins requirement.
I suppose it’s a bit pre-emptive. Non-festive, even, being so prepared. Everyone moans about Christmas coming earlier each year and the end of August is just plain wrong. But how else can you spread the cost?
Team Minted runs on a monthly budget and I’d be daft to lump all the Christmas spending into December.
If I was better prepared, I would buy supermarket saving stamps through the year. You trade them in for your shopping in December and the supermarket gives you a bonus too (see http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/savings/extra-christmas-cash for more details).
Another option would be to put away a couple of hundred a month from September or earlier if possible. This is easy to do if you have an online bank account: you can set up a savings account pretty much instantly that runs off the main account. I have various of these already for certain savings goals. However, they do get pilfered for other bills or emergency overdraft avoidance.
So shopping early - and shopping clever - works for me. But you need to know what everyone wants. Long ago I committed the cardinal sin of telling the children that I was Santa Claus, it wasn’t some random bloke in a red suit. No letters from this house to Lapland; there is one list, finalised at the start of November. No hassle: I can sit on the internet sidelines and trawl for the best bargains on Black Friday and Cyber Monday which is 25 and 28 November this year, get it in the diary!
In between bouts of shopping, I’ll be writing the Christmas cards that I bought discounted in January. I’ll post them on 1 December (I bought the stamps already) or give them to people as I see them within a quite a long timeframe. It’s all a bit previous but then everyone’s got enough time to send one back, right?
Christmas doesn’t have to be a marathon if you give it a bit of planning. There’s always room for error though and that’s why credit cards were invented – check out our guide here.