Sunday 10 July 2016

It's never to early to mention the C word!

I acknowledge its July and that most of you will want to punch me in the face when you read this BUT we are now half way through the year and that time is fast approaching. Yes, I mean Christmas!!! Once the children return to school we are on the cost ridden slide down to the 25th December!

Wrapped Christmas gifts

Does it still seem ages away? Well, what if I said Christmas is now only twenty-four weeks away! Doesn't sound long does it. For many it is only five more pay days away! If you gasped a little like I did when I worked it out don't worry we've got this covered. Let's get things in order now to avoid stress come December. As everyone else dashes round in a mad panic you can sit and relax, sip hot chocolate in your onesie and watch Elf for the forty-seventh time.

Write a list and check it twice!
Just like the big man in red, make a list and check it twice. Consider reducing it! Do you have a friend or relative that you barely see? Perhaps you only meet at Christmas to exchange gifts. STOP!! You should really consider crossing them off your list. If you're unsure of how to approach the situation and are concerned about getting tongue tied, write it down. If you can, drop them an email or a text. I have done both and have never had any problems with the person. They have agreed but have been too polite to say anything!!

From a big family? So am I! For those of us with younger kids we only buy for the sprogs. I also know quite a few people who do a Secret Santa with their family. The budget can be high (£50-£100) but when they add up what they would spend on each individual it saves them over £500!!

You can also use your early list to make a note of gift ideas. I often find when visiting family they mention something they want that I could easily forget about later.

What I've done - I've made a list and checked it twice!

It's about the money, honey!
Yes I know it's obvious but it is all about the £££££££. If you have to crash the plastic for the whole of Christmas or just the food shop, now is the time to start putting a little bit to one side. Even if you put £20 a month away for the next 5 months, come December you'll have £100. This could give you a nice chunk off your festive food bill! Worried you'll spend it in the meantime? Consider popping into a savings account that is a hassle to break into.

Do you always use the same supermarket? How about buying gift cards or using one of the saving stamp schemes? You can also try to not use any of your loyalty cards until you start the Christmas preparations. You won't feel the knock on effect like saving money but it could still save you a chunk over the festive period.

What I've done - I'm currently trying to save thirty quid a month and I've already ordered two Christmas hampers via my Ringtons tea man. You don't have to pay up front and you can purchase gift vouchers as they do their fortnightly visits and pay with them when the hampers arrive. Take a look at their website here  and see if there's a delivery man in your area. Drop them an email or tweet if you're not as they could be coming to you soon!!

Check the sales and clearance aisles
Even now, in July, you can still spot the odd festive bargain in the clearance areas of the local supermarkets. A couple of weeks ago I spotted some Christmas mints in our local Thorntons Outlet. They were reduced to something daft like a quid and are in last years packaging BUT are still in date until the start of 2017!! Weather they last until then and don't accidentally on purpose fall in my gob is a different matter!! Check out the Thorntons website for your local store.

A lot of the shops have huge sales on at the moment and it is well worth the browse. John Lewis have huge reductions in homeware and clothing. I recently got a lovely duvet set for £35.00, should have been £70.00! Marks and Spencer also have some great deals on, including a summer wine event. Stock up now for Christmas!!

What I've done - Bagged a couple of sale bargains!

Earn money doing your Christmas shopping
I'm a huge fan of cashback sites and personally use Quidco. Just visit the site, follow the link to the retailer and Quidco records the visit, earning you cashback on your purchases. If you're already a user of the cashback sites why not leave the money to tot up and put this towards your Christmas spending.

What I've done - Grabbed some cashback whilst getting my sale bargains!

Schedule, book and arrange
So it gets to December and everyone is busy. There weekends are booked up and the result is exchanging gifts on the doorstep. Not ideal when you should be enjoy time with loved ones. Book in with family and friends, especially those that live further away or holiday over the Christmas period. Arrange to exchange gifts or go for a meal. A few years ago it got harder and harder to exchange gifts with my siblings, so we now take it in turns to host each other, along with Mum and Dad and do the present swap out of the way of little eyes. It means the stress of chasing each other around is gone and we take the time to spend a couple of hours together. We do the same with our friends too.

What I've done - I've mentioned a festive visit to the in laws!

Get crafty
For those crafty types that sew, make, create, now is the time to start preparing and making plans for Christmas Fayres and online sales. Hit Pinterest for some great ideas!

What I've done - Made a list of things I want to make (can you tell I like lists) and pinned on Pinterest!!

Don't forget to support small businesses! 
Checkout the Facebook page of the North Pole Behaviour Department for some super cute Christmas themed items available now!!

Remember it is never to early to plan!! I have a friend who has probably already done all of her gift buying and may have even wrapped them!!

Have a great week

Mummy Snowy Owl

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