Christmas in July
Christmas in July – does this sound strange to you? It’s a gathering theme for advertisers, bloggers and savvy shoppers. I’m becoming a big fan of starting Christmas preparation early. A few things have happened to me this week that have provided inspiration for preparation, gift ideas and money saving ways.
If you’ve read my about me, you will know that I am happily retired from a senior nursing position in the NHS and now live on 50% of the money I had pre retirement. I do not wish to compromise on quality of life and enjoy finding new ways to maintain my lifestyle by being savvy and looking for offers and bargains, after all I have the time to do it now.
So here are 5 tips I have about preparing early for Christmas – July is not too early!
Watch out for sales
This may seem obvious but many shops are selling Christmas goods now – many people purchase Christmas Cards and wrapping paper in the January sales, however not everybody has spare cash at that time. If you were unable to shop then do not worry July is a good time. I wondered into my local shopping centre and The Works had a sale on – inside I bought some fabulous quality Hallmark Christmas Cards for £1.50 for 10 luxury large cards. I purchased 3 boxes of 3 different designs for £4.50. That will be enough for me. They can also be bought online . If you look there are also many stocking filers and gifts also in the sale.
TV Shopping Channels
The fabulous QVC has a full month promotion in preparation for the festive season. You can pick up some fabulous decorations to spread the cost and avoid the strain nearer the festive season. Products are not always reduced but they have some fabulous lights and home decor items. Some are offered with the opportunity to spread your payments. I bought some Bethlehem Lights wreaths and trees a couple of years ago in July. They are fabulous and last.
Make homemade gifts
Really by this I mean alcohol or preserves. This idea was brought to my attention by my neighbours. They have an abundance of plums growing on their tree plus a loaded pear tree. They have been harvesting the plums this week as the wasps are beginning to eat the fruit. Many of the plums are falling on our lawn. They use the crop to make Plum Gin but Plum Vodka can also be made the same way. As myself and my friends enjoy a good gin or Vodka I thought that this would be a great cheap gift. Aldi do very reasonable spirits which can be used for the base. If you have access to these fruits too then you too can do the same. Other fruits can be foraged and made into jams and chutneys for nice homegrown gifts. Kilner jars are reasonable to buy especially on Amazon and pretty labels can be bought to decorate. Making these gifts could be a great activity with the kids. Older relatives will love receiving these gifts made with love.
Save your loose change
Again this is not rocket science, as I know many people save loose change anyway but I try and make a conscious effort to do this. I have a set allowance that I give myself every week, in cash, to use for fun and living expenses such as travel (I’ve ditched the car and walk or I use the bus now). At the end of each week, usually Sunday evening any money that is left I take out of my purse and put aside. Believe me ,when I worked full time I never had any money left – if I did I found a reason to spend it. Now I’m more careful on what I send I nearly always have something left. I put my coins in a pot and if there are any notes I save that too in a wallet for more expensive treats. By doing this it soon adds up and can be used for Christmas gifts. For my bank account I always transfer a set amount very month into an online savings fund for Christmas and Birthdays. If this is not something you usually do, then July is a perfect time to start. Once your holiday is over the next biggie is Christmas. Any amount saved is a help – even if its only to buy yourself a bottle of fizz!
Buy gift cards
This is something I have started to do. It maybe just my family and friends but a lot are mature i.e. over 50 or teenagers. Most of these 2 age groups prefer to buy what they want for themselves. Novelty gifts bought on a whim often end up unused. They would prefer cash but some people see giving cash as showing a lack of imagination. I don’t personally subscribe to that train of thought. However I do think gift cards are nice, in fact one of my favourite presents. There are so many on sale everywhere you go. Not only the specific stores but in card shops and supermarkets. Plus the website Zeek where giftcards can be bought at reduced prices. This is a website where giftcards can be bought and sold. If you are interested please feel free to use my sign up code https://nv63b.app.goo.gl/SCQo
You can purchase gift cards each week or month when you are out shopping, not only can you save this way either to make purchases at Christmas or give as gifts, you are less tempted to dish into this type of saving when you are short of money. By buying regularly between now and Christmas you can spread the cost. The only caution with this is that some types of company’s could go bust. Hopefully by choosing popular retail brands you can avoid this and of course you can also purchase pre paid Visa, Mastercards or Amazon gift cards that do not tie the recipient to any store
How do you prepare for Christmas – are you an early bird or a last minute Annie – let me know your hints and tips
Why not pop over to Becca’s blog – another early bird and see how she prepares for Christmas in July