This is a collaborative post by Ellie Jo.
With Christmas and New Year firmly out of the way, it’s about time to start thinking about the year ahead. Even though next Christmas is basically still 12 months away, it’s a good idea to start preparing as early as possible, especially if you’ve got a lot of people to buy for. Christmas can be a real financial burden, so saving and planning throughout the entire year can really take the pressure off, and leave the month of December a little bit more stress-free.
Make a plan
Decide early on who you will be buying for next Christmas – you can always change it at a later date – and even start thinking about what you’d like to get them. This is made a whole lot easier when last Christmas is still fresh in your memory, as you can more easily recall what you got each other, and what they might like next time. Once you have a good idea who you’re buying for, and what sort of things you’re getting them, it’s a good idea to work out a budget. Look at the amount you spent last year, including things like food and decorations, and add a bit more to it – after all, when you’re better prepared you’ll have a little bit more to spend too.
Put money away for Christmas from early on, perhaps increasing the amount as you get through the summer. Decide on a basic amount that will mean you’ll reach your minimum budget by December. It’s always worth putting a bit extra away if you can afford it. It won’t hurt for it to roll over into January. Whatever is left over can be put towards a Christmas treat for you and your family, or even pushed into next year’s budget. The key is to start saving as soon as possible, so you’re not scrambling around desperately looking for money behind sofa cushion by next November.
Buy in advance
The great thing about being prepared is that you can take advantage of sales throughout the year to buy presents at a discounted rate for next Christmas. All you need to do is ensure you’ve got a secure and secret hiding place for them all, to keep them away from tempted prying eyes. Planning ahead allows you to buy presents at the best prices, meaning you get more for your buck, and you can watch as trends take off. Visit Hottest Toys For Christmas to see their predictions for great gifts for 2017, and find yourself some bargains.
Adapt to changes
Sometimes relationships change, people come and go, and gift-giving necessities need adapting. Planning ahead leaves more room for change, but also more time to adapt. Make sure you’ve got some flexibility in your budget to buy last minute gifts for new friends, and it’s as easy as that.
Preparation is the key to success, and with a little bit of forward thinking, planning throughout the year, and prudent saving, next Christmas could be almost stress-free.