Monday, 26 August 2013
Planning for Christmas!
Yes I know it's only August and I know that most of us are still recovering from all the cold and snow that we had last year but I have always felt that the end of August is the perfect time to start planning for Christmas. After all the season of good cheer is also the season of high stress and expensive times but that can be overcome with just a little bit of planning and preparation. So here are some tips on how to make Christmas slightly less stressful:
1. Buy gifts in advance
I think that if you have children Christmas can sometimes end up as a very expensive event. There's nothing worse than leaving it to the last minute to buy your presents and then ending up with a huge credit card bill in January. So what I try to do is buy small gifts throughout the year which I keep in my secret (and very high up) present cupboard. This spreads the cost throughout the year and also means that I don't have to make those panicked trips to the shops on Christmas Eve. To make life even easier why not shop online and get your gifts delivered to you. A site such as Hawkins Bazaar is great for stocking filler gifts and has a summer sale on at the moment. They have a good selection of toys such as this robo fish that my daughter has her eye on (much easier than having to look after a real pet!).
2. Use your loyalty cards
Most large supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsburys have loyalty card schemes where you get points that convert to money to spend in-store. I always treat these as the perfect way to save for Christmas and at the start of every year I begin to store them up to use for the Christmas shop. We seem to spend a lot on food so we can usually get around £50-£60 of nectar points saved up on our card over the year which makes a real difference to our Christmas food shop - and means that we can treat ourselves to a few extra luxuries without feeling guilty. As it is points and not real money it's a very easy way to save for the cost of the festive season.
3. Your freezer is your friend
I have said this before in other posts about Christmas but your freezer definitely is your friend when it comes to planning for Christmas. Veg, meat and cheese can keep for around 4 months in a freezer and so now is the time to start getting some bargains and storing them away. If you see a food that is reduced and would be great for the Christmas table you can just freeze it. You could also choose to buy 3/4 freezable items each month to spread the cost. It's also a brilliant feeling to know that you won't be fighting in the supermarket aisles over the last slice of Stilton or pack of parsnips as you will have them safely stored away.
Look out for more Christmas tips on my blog over the coming months...