This week is all about planning ahead, and getting a start on the biggies. So, tasks for this week:
Plan Your Day(s)
If you haven't already done so, plan where you're going and when over the festive period. Get all the dates in your diary now. Decide where you will be on Christmas Day and Boxing Day - are you at home or at relatives/friends houses? All day or do you need to split your time? Talk to all concerned and get your plans set in stone now. That way everybody knows what's going on and there will be less room for arguments.
Organise Transport and Accommodation
If you need to book trains, hire a car, or book a hotel, do it now. The earlier the better to get the best rates. Print your confirmations/tickets and put them in your diary or a lovely brand new Christmas folder (any excuse for a folder!)
Book your panto tickets, visits to Father Christmas, and days out tickets (we love Peppa Pig World at Christmas). Find out the dates of any local or school events and put them in your diary. Look out for our free or almost free entertainment guide coming soon.
Start Saving and/or Cutting Back
Check your budget and work out just how much cash you'll have spare between now and Christmas. When will wages and any benefits be paid? How much isn't accounted for already with bills etc, and how much will you need to live on per week? Whatever is left over is the budget you have to spend.
Whatever you do, don't turn to credit cards and loans to pay for Christmas. If you only have £100 to spend this year, so be it. Resolve to budget better over the next 13 months and have a more extravagant Christmas next year.
When you know your budget you can start planning how much to spend, don't be tempted to do it the other way round. One trick we like is to take 10% of this total and put it in a savings account, then if you do go slightly over your budget, you haven't actually over-spent. Cunning, huh?
See our Christmas on a Budget and How to Save Money at the Supermarket articles for more tips.
You could also try generating some extra money before Christmas. Have a de-clutter and sell some of your items on eBay or Gumtree, or organise a car boot sale. Your unwanted bits could well be someone else's Christmas present! Plus you'll make some cash, our last car boot sale raised £170 profit, not bad for an early start and a few hours' standing about!
If you plan to order personalised Christmas cards, start thinking about what photo(s) you'll us, or create some great new photos to use. This is one American idea we can definitely get behind.
Nothing too serious, it is only early November after all. But if you see something on a shopping trip or at the supermarket, pop it in your trolley. A great way to get a head start on stocking fillers and bits for the kids. Whilst at the supermarket, try to pop an item or two into your trolley on each trip, things like biscuits, jars of pickles, crackers, snacks and crisps, tubs of chocolates, and loo roll will be fine in the garage if you haven't got space to hide them indoors. A couple of items each week will reduce your big Christmas shop outlay significantly and you probably won't notice a few extra pounds here and there.
Enjoy your Christmas planning, and come back next Friday for our 6 Week check list.
And don't forget to enter our competitions!