The older I get, the more I love Christmas. It does help that I have two young children who look forward to this magical time of the year as much as their birthdays – the anticipation of Christmas is unavoidable in our house. I have also worked in retail for many years, where Christmas planning starts months in advance and perhaps it is this planning that kicks my excited anticipation of Christmas into overdrive. On the flip-side, I am fully aware of how stressful Christmas can be – financially and emotionally. Just thinking about how many presents need to be bought, what food needs to be purchased and prepared (and how much money this all costs) can send anyone into a state of overwhelm. Not to mention spending precious holiday time with challenging relatives. The only solution is to plan early. By getting all the boring (and expensive) stuff out of the way, you free yourself up to enjoy the fun festivities of Christmas, like parties, carols, etc.
Do these five things NOW to make your life easier in December:
1. Plan what you need to buy for who
Think of at least a couple of options for your recipients so you have a back-up plan if your first gift isn’t available, or ends up being out of budget.
2. Set a budget (for gifts, food and decorations) and spread out the cost over the next couple of months. Don’t leave all your purchasing until December (unless you think some of your purchases will go on special), or your credit card bill will be insurmountable in January. Once you’ve worked out your budget, this will also motivate you to stop spending money on things you don’t need until after Christmas (or add them to your Christmas Wish List!)
3. Get overseas gifts in the post by beginning of December
Posting a parcel to the UK usually takes 6 working days to arrive, but over the busier Christmas period delivery time will increase. The best bet is to get your parcels away at the beginning of December, when hopefully the queue in the post office is also shorter. This means that the sooner you start shopping for gifts for family and friends overseas, the better chance you have of meeting this deadline.
Use Australia Post’s Delivery Calculator to work out delivery times for overseas and in Australia. https://auspost.com.au/parcels-mail/calculate-postage-delivery-times/#/
4. Shop around and save
There’s nothing worse than running around, fighting the crowds trying to purchase gifts days out from Christmas. This is when the risk of impulse buying is at its highest. The earlier you start your shopping, the more time you have to browse shops (local and online) to get the best prices for the gifts on your list, and maintain your budget.
5. Don’t limit your shopping to gifts
Stock up now on other Christmas purchases, such as food, booze, gift wrapping, cards and decorations – even your outfit for the Christmas party.
The more you can purchase now, the more free time you’ll enjoy in December so you can actually make the most of the Christmas festivities by being able to relax, socialise and stay away from the shops.
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