How to Start Planning and Saving for Christmas Now

Are you a Christmas fan?  In which case, rejoice - it's just 100 days till Christmas!!  For everyone else, the good news is that there is plenty of time to save money so you don't get into debt this Christmas and lots of ways you can start planning and getting organised so you can sit back and enjoy December rather than running round like a maniac!

I love the run up to Christmas, but I know that I definitely enjoy it more if I have everything organised well in advance.  That way December can be spent in a flurry of mince pies, mulled wine and festive fun like carol concerts, Christmas lights, pantos and visits to Father Christmas.  Much nicer than fighting the crowds in a shopping centre or supermarket, panicking because I haven't got a snazzy Christmas jumper for Great Uncle Henry.

Book Tickets

However resistant you are to the idea of thinking about Christmas in September, this is the time to start planning your days out and events.  The best Santa's Grottos will be fully booked before the month is out and some of the best times for panto are already sold out.

So make a cup of tea and sit down with your calendar now to plan what you want to see when.  Then grab your phone/iPad/laptop and book those tickets.  However un-festive you feel, you'll be glad you did it now before those tickets are rarer than hen's teeth.

You should also book your travel now.  Waiting until the last minute will cost more and potentially leave you with trains at the worst times or having to catch unnecessary connections.  Look for the best prices on trains, hotels and flights now.

Related posts:

15 Things to Do For Free This Christmas
The Ultimate Christmas Planning Guide
How to Avoid Christmas Stress

Plan Your Spending

While you're in planning mode, grab a pad or notebook and start your gift shopping list.  Working out who you need to buy for and how much you'll spend is a great way to set your budget early.  Then you can find some ways to make more money before Christmas or think about how you can start cutting back on your spending so you don't get into debt this year.  Here's how:

1. Start a Christmas fund

You can do this either by putting your loose change into a piggy bank every day or by opening a separate account and moving some money over each week or month.  With the average family spending over £750 on Christmas, starting now can make a real difference.

2. Set a spending limit

Start with that £750 figure (or less) and work out how much you will need to save each month, week or day.  Is it realistic for you to cut back on expenditure by £7.50 a day?  Or can you afford to put aside £200 a month?  Work out what you can really afford and base your budget on that.

3. Save points

Start saving your Tesco Clubcard, Morrisons More or Nectar points for the big Christmas food shop.  The more you use them the more points you will amass, plus you'll start getting more and more bonus offers in the run up to Christmas.

4. Start buying now

Once you have your budget start buying presents and food bits as you go, but make sure you keep track of all your spending.  This is the year you WILL stick to your budget!  For bigger purchases keep track of prices so you are ready to jump when a special offer is on.

5. Do it on the cheap

Check out pound shops, markets and car boot sales for inexpensive stocking fillers and gifts.  And see what you can nab on eBay, local selling sites and the like.  For freebies, ask for samples at beauty counters, enter competitions and sign up for free gifts on websites.

6. Get creative

Start thinking about inexpensive, yet meaningful presents you can give friends and family.  Don’t feel obliged to buy something for everyone if your budget doesn’t allow.  Plan some baking or make some gorgeous presents that will be appreciated more than yet another thing.  Check out this list of home-made gift ideas.

Related posts:

How to Enjoy a Fabulous Family Christmas on a  Budget
How to Get to January Without Going Broke

Christmas Shopping

100 days is definitely enough time to get all your shopping done so no hurry on that yet, but you could pick up bits as and when you see them, especially if they are in places like TK Maxx.  Take some time to look through gift guides online for inspiration too.

Here are our gift guides:

40+ Gifts for Mums
Gifts and Stocking Fillers for Vegans
Health, Fitness and Wellbeing Gift Guide
Ethical and Vegan Gift Ideas
Gift Ideas for People Who Love Frida Kahlo
Non-Toy But Fab Gifts for Kids
Best Board Games for Families

So Much to Look Forward To!

If you can't wait to start counting down the days till the most wonderful time of the year, welcome to the club!  But if you are more of a Grinch disposition, there are still things you can start doing now to save you time, money and stress this Christmas time.

While you wait, here are 15 things to start looking forward to this Christmas:

1. Time with those you love
2. Telly!!!
3. Mulled wine, mince pies, brandy butter, party food, tins of chocolates...
4. Twinkly lights everywhere
5. Christmas markets
6. Snow (maybe!)
7. Christmas trees
8. Fancy hot chocolate and all those speciality coffee shop hot drinks
9. Christmas films
10. Ice skating
11. Christmas music
12. Presents - buying, wrapping, giving, receiving, we love it all!
13. Christmas jumpers
14. Did I mention the delicious Christmas food?!
15. Joy, happiness and goodwill to all - from your kids to your binmen, everyone's smiling!

Although it may seem early to start thinking about Christmas, this is the perfect time to start mapping out your Christmas game plan.  Waiting too long to get started will leave you feeling stressed and worn out, and your wallet empty.  Not a great way to start the new year!

Right, I'm off to start the first batch of mince pies...

Related posts:

How to Save Time, Stress and Money by Starting Your Christmas Planning Now
30 Ways to Make Extra Cash Before Christmas
How to Enjoy a Fabulous Family Christmas on a Budget
Christmas Spending Tips: How to Get to January Without Going Broke

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