How To Start Prepping For The Holiday Season

by Sarah Ruhlman

As the supermarket shelves fill up with Christmas food and decorations, it might feel too early to start thinking about the 25th December, there’s still Halloween and Thanksgiving to come first, however, Christmas can be an expensive time, and it’s never too early to start thinking about it and planning for it. It’s not too late to make some significant savings either; if you get planning now, you can get some great deals and be all sorted to sit back and relax on Christmas Eve. 

First of all, to start planning, you need to know what you are doing this year. Are you travelling somewhere for Christmas and if so, will you be driving, getting the train or flying? Perhaps you’re hosting this year and having everyone round to your house? Or are you visiting family or friends? Just one family or are you going wild and hitting up three different houses and events in one day?

If you’re not sure yet, then have a think about all the possibilities and discuss all the options with your family. If you have small children, you should also to set realistic expectations about what you’re doing for Christmas, let them know if they’ll be waking up in their own beds, where Santa Clause will be bringing their presents to, if there’ll be time to open them all and play in the morning or if they’ll be expected to get ready and go out. Let everyone know what’s happening as soon as you can so that you can all get excited about the holiday.

Book Early

If you are going on vacation for the Christmas holiday or even if you’re just planning on having your Christmas Dinner out at a restaurant or hotel, then you need to book early so that you make sure that you actually get a reservation. Booking early might also get you a good deal too. If you’re traveling then book your tickets now, look around for offers because you’re booking in advance, and if you are able to fly or take a train on Christmas day, then this might be worth looking into as you’ll find some excellent deals as many people don’t want to do that. Remember it is just a day, so if you don’t have kids and you and your partner want to go somewhere different, then you can celebrate Christmas with all the trimmings before you go or when you get to your destination.  

Budget

When you know what you’re doing, and you have your plan in place, then it’s time to start budgeting. How much will everything cost? What do you budget for your immediate family’s presents? Who else do you need to buy gifts for this year? Do you or your partner get a Christmas bonus? Think about items like plane or travel tickets, accommodation, food costs and presents. Also, make sure that you consider any extras. What extras do you have to do for the season? Do you have a birthday party in the middle of Christmas week? Do you have to put pets in the kennels for the week? Pay a house sitter? Or just take the kids out and entertain them while they’re off school. 

Make The Most Of Deals

Now you know your budget, you know how much you’re going to spend and what you need to spend it on, you can keep an eye out for good deals, you can plan your spending and spread out the cost. Know where you can get points for shopping at specific stores, where you can use coupons, voucher codes, and register for newsletters to find out about sales. There will be plenty of black Friday deals before Christmas, so see if you can plan ahead for that and get some good deals then. 

Spread It Out

You know what presents you have to get and who for and you should also know what food you need to buy, for when and for how many people. Make some lists and then make a plan which means that you buy one big thing or shop at one significant place every couple of weeks. For example, you could start now and go and buy the non-perishable foods you’re going to need, and then in two weeks time go and buy the drinks. Two weeks later go out for the presents for the kids and so on. Tick everything off as you go along and the closer to Christmas you get, you can go shopping for more perishable items and this plan can work for your baking, crafting, and posting plans as well. By the time Christmas comes, you’ll have everything done, there’ll be no last-minute panicking, and your credit card won’t have had to take a nasty hit.  

Make Extra Cash

It happens to the best of us, it’s very easy to overspend and especially over the holiday period, so if you realize that you need a little extra money to cover costs, or you just feel that it will ease your mind to have some extra cash available and it’s better to be safe than sorry, then start looking now at what you can do to make extra cash. Have a clean and a sort out of the spare room and put it on Airbnb as this could be a nice little earner for you, can you get extra shifts at work? Have a look at getting paid to do some surveys online, online focus groups or babysitting? Or could you do a seasonal job to top up your income, there’s always temporary work going at this time of year as the shops are so busy – this is also an excellent way to get some extra discount on some of your Christmas shopping.

Failing that, if you want to get rid of some of last year’s gifts to make way for new ones then how about holding a garage sale, this is a win-win for everyone as you get more space in your house, more money in your pocket and your customers get some decent second-hand products that they can give as gifts as part of their Christmas shopping. Whatever you can do to make extra cash ready for the holiday, just make sure that it goes specifically towards Christmas, remember it only comes once a year, so it’s a great time to celebrate, have some fun and enjoy time with your family. 

Plan Ahead For Next Year

For next year, plan ahead based on this year’s experience. As you plan over the next couple of months, keep a note of everything that you have been doing, keep a record of everything you have spent and then use this information for future Christmases. Once you know what you’re doing, you can start planning even earlier for Christmas 2020 and be enjoying the fun of Christmas all year round. It does pay to plan ahead, and you could end up with more than you could ever wish for just by being organized and planning a little.

Think January sales for your cards and wrapping paper, making the most of good deals all year round, spending a little each month on your Christmas goods and by the time it comes around again you’ll be set. The only thing you need to be careful of is not to forget what you have bought and where you have put everything and if you see a good deal on Chocolates in June, just don’t eat them before December comes. 

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