Lifestyle Money Saving & Budget

Nine Tips To Get Organised For Christmas and Make Your Money Go Further

7th November 2019
Nine Tips To Get Organised For Christmas and Make Your Money Go Further

For possibly the first time since becoming a parent, I am feeling organised for Christmas. It’s early November and I am pretty much sorted for Christmas. Most of my shopping is done, the social events are booked and I’ve even ordered my turkey! Today I’m going to be sharing nine tips so that you can get yourself organised for Christmas and make your money go further.

Order your Christmas food early

I placed my Christmas food order at the beginning of October, but there is still time to get your order in early. We’ve ordered ours from M&S (I’ve recently worked with M&S on instagram but this mention is off my own back and not sponsored in any way), we picked our turkey and a few other bits (including a Christmas Colin the Caterpillar cake which I am very excited about), we paid a deposit of £30 and our order will be waiting for us to collect in store on Christmas Eve which is when we will pay the balance.

Most supermarket delivery slots will be opening this month, the information is available on their websites so pop along to the website of your choice and set a reminder to book your slot when they open, they may fill up quickly! Bear in mind that you can usually amend your order nearer the time, you just need to place an order for the minimum spend to secure your booking (do check this with your supermarket of choice).

Book your Santa visits now!

Depending on where and when you want to go see Santa this one may be a little late, sorry. The first Santa that we wanted to book had mostly sold out outside of school hours meaning that we had to book elsewhere. If you have a certain place in mind be sure to book now to avoid disappointment, especially if you want to book outside of school hours.

Organised Christmas shopping

Most of us are living on our last pay before Christmas right now, which is pretty scary. We’ve been organised and bought bits here and there throughout the year, meaning that our Christmas shopping is almost done. That being said, I always put off the people that I struggle to buy for which results in a last minute panic because I am two days away from Christmas and still have no idea what to buy them. This year I am determined that I will have finished all of the shopping by the end of November, even those hard to buy for people! If you are struggling for ideas check out my Christmas gift guide for gift inspiration for the whole family.

If I was super organised I would have wrapped the presents as I bought them, but I like to spend a couple of hours nearer to Christmas alone with Christmas music playing and a glass of Baileys while I wrap the presents. If you do wrap as you buy be sure to write a list so that you don’t forget what you’ve bought!

The downside to buying presents early is having to hide them. Aria stumbled across her main Christmas present, she got very upset because she thought Santa was bringing her that particular toy. I explained to her that Santa knows how much she wants the LOL Glamper so he sent it to us so that we could double check he had the right thing, now that he knows it’s the right one his elves will collect it so that it can be wrapped and bought back for Christmas! The other downside to starting early is that we probably have bought more than we would have.

Make your money go further

I’m by no means a money expert but I always try to make my money go further, especially when shopping online. Before making an online purchase I always do a quick google to see if I can find any discount codes, a simple search for ‘{retailer} discount code {month} {year}’ usually brings up some results. You often have to trawl through codes, a lot of which don’t work, but sometimes they do and I’m more than happy to spend an extra 5-10 minutes searching to save a few pound.

I’m also big on cashback sites and will link to some of my favourites now, please note that these aren’t sponsored or affiliate links, they are simply referral links which may earn me commission for any sign ups generated – you too will get your own referral link if you sign up.

Boom25 is my favourite cashback site and is always the first site that I visit. If the retailer that I am shopping through isn’t listed on Boom I will try another cashback site. In a nutshell Boom25 gives everyone the chance to win their shopping back, sometimes full price, sometimes a percentage, 1 in every 25 purchases win. Sometimes they have special odds such as 1 in 20 or even 1 in 10. If you don’t win you still receive a bonus (usually between 10 – 60p) and these build up very quickly. On top of this bonus, they send ‘not leaving you empty handed’ emails giving you exclusive bonuses (usually £2 on any £30 spend). You have two hours to use this bonus or you lose it, but the timer doesn’t kick in until you click through. I’ve set up a folder in my inbox and I move these emails straight to that folder, I don’t open them, just move them. Anytime I spend over £30 on a boom retailer I will open one of these emails and get my bonus (when I remember!). It can take a very long time and a lot of transactions before you win anything, it really is luck of the draw. I’ve been using it for a long time and have only won three times but the bonuses build up so quickly I’m happy to use it knowing I’m unlikely to win often. The main downside with this site is that you can’t withdraw your bonuses until you win, which can mean waiting for quite some time, but this does mean you generally get a decent pay out when you do win. Also, you sometimes have to wait months to find out if you’ve won, depending on the retailer. They also sell vouchers which are very fast approval, just check whether they are to be used online or instore before purchasing.

As mentioned, not all retailers are on boom, the other cashback sites I use are Topcashback, Quidco and Kidstart. Kidstart is a little bit different because the idea is that you link it to your kids savings account and your cashback gets paid directly into that, you can set it up to be split between children and you can register it to go to a bank/building society rather than a specific kids ISA.

Organise your Christmas Social Calendar

Now that you’ve booked your food shop slot, your visit to see Santa and finished your shopping you need to get yourself organised. Make sure you put every little thing in your calendar as there is too much to remember. If you haven’t already, request a list of dates from your child’s school for things such as the Christmas concert, the Christmas fete and any fund raising dress down days organised by the PTA in the run up to Christmas. As soon as you know if your child needs a costume for the Christmas play get it made/ordered so that you aren’t left panicking at the last minute.

Lists, lists and more lists!

Write a list for absolutely everything. Write to do lists for everything that you need to do. Lists for the people that you need to buy for. Cross items off as you go to keep yourself motivated. Write a list of the presents that you’ve bought so you don’t buy duplicates. If you see something that you like, write it down, if anyone asks you what you want for Christmas, refer to your list.

Advent calendars

There are so many options to advent calendars, if you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about which advent calendars you want to buy, as it will be time to start opening them in just over three weeks! I recently reviewed the Beanies coffee advent calendar which is worth a look if you fancy treating yourself to something a bit different.

Elf on The Shelf

If you’re doing Elf on The Shelf start thinking of ideas now, I’ve written a guide for scatty parents which is full of simple yet effective Elf on The Shelf ideas. Does your elf ever bring gifts? Do you need props? If so, buy them now!

Pre-Christmas Clean & Clear out

I like to do a big clear out before Christmas for two reasons, 1) I like a clean and tidy house for Christmas and 2) I need room for all their new toys. Arrange to have a weekend between now and Christmas with no plans, or at least one free day, so that you can go through your child’s toys with them and pick out some to throw away and some to donate. You could even consider selling some on local selling sites to raise a few extra pennies for Christmas. I’ll also be taking a day off work so that I can do a deep clean when both of the children are in childcare.

Now that you’ve done all the prep give yourself a pat on the back and prepare for a relaxed, stress free Christmas! (or at least as relaxed as it can be with excitable children!).

Nine Tips To Get Organised For Christmas and Make Your Money Go Further

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