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This week, we’re talking about why — just why — it might be a good idea to think about your Christmas budget in September.
No sooner than you’ve dug out the BBQ and soaked up the glorious 3 days of British summer, it seems like the sunshine has decided to pack its bags and say farewell for another year.
In fact, quicker than you can say Hark the Herald Angels Sing, you’ll find yourself digging out your novelty sweatshirts, bopping to Slade and Wham and eating your bodyweight in an array of things that all taste like cinnamon and brandy.
But, even if it’s going to arrive quickly, should you start budgeting for Christmas in September?
Should the start of the school year also be the time that you start thinking about your Christmas budget?
Recently, we’ve been thinking it might not be the worst idea…
Hear us out on this, because we know that planning for Christmas in September sounds like a crazy idea, but we have our reasons…
Reason #1: It gives you plenty of time to find the perfect gift for everyone
One of the trickiest things about starting Christmas shopping in late November/early December is that inevitable panic when you realise you don’t have a clue what to get somebody you’re close to.
Soap? Toiletries? A gift set? Money in a card? A DVD? A mug? Socks?!
Suddenly, you find yourself scanning the Argos catalogue, scouring the gift aisles and scrambling to find something — ANYTHING! — that ticks all the boxes.
But getting started in September means that you can be in full-on spy mode for a good month or two, listening intently to conversations to find the perfect present for everybody on your list.
In fact, spending a few weeks in September listening to what your friends and family are interested in and putting together a list of The Best Presents Ever for everybody you know is a complete and utter game-changer.
Trust us. This technique pretty much guarantees that you’re going to buy the kind of presents for people that get them saying “how did you know I wanted this?!” and “oh wow, I can’t believe you remembered”.
Not only will everybody have huge smiles on their faces come Christmas Day, but you’ll save yourself a tonne of stress and time during the Yuletide period too.
Reason #2: You can spread the cost out
This is another huge benefit to starting early, because, however you cut it, Christmas isn’t cheap.
We’ve talked about that a lot over on the Bamboo blog for the last couple of years. (Last year, we noted that lots of people struggle with their finances in January because of Christmas, which isn’t a fun start to the year for anyone.)
But by starting early — and by doing your spy work like an MI5 Santa to put together The Ultimate Christmas Present List — you can spread the cost of buying those presents out over 3 or 4 months, massively reducing the financial burden of having to spend a large chunk in December.
It also gives you lots of time to work out your Christmas budget. How much do you want to spend? How much does that work out at each month?
And, more importantly, it lets you make a rational decision about how much you can afford to spend (and want to spend) and make a plan for how you’re going to afford it before all the festivities kick in. (We all know how easy it is to overspend when December rolls around!
There are other benefits to starting early, too…
Reason #3: You can buy before everything gets expensive for Christmas
Everybody knows that things get more expensive in December. Whether you pay a little more for the in-store wrapping service or the optional extras or the Christmas-themed gift set, shops become well-oiled money-making machines as soon as the first chords of Last Christmas play through the store speakers.
Getting started early means you can dodge all the seasonal upsells and Yuletide temptations and just focus on making your way down your Ultimate Christmas Gift list, keeping your Christmas budget on-track.
But wait! There are more reasons to start early too!
Reason #4: You can be prepared for Black Friday
This is a huge reason to start planning early!
If you can have your Ultimate Christmas Gift List ready by the end of November, you can take advantage of all the great Black Friday deals on any of the presents you’re planning on buying, saving yourself a fairly hefty chunk of changes.
We’ve talked before about how Black Friday can tempt you into spending money you didn’t want to spend, but if you head into it with a plan to only buy the things on your list, you could do your Christmas budget a huge favour by saving a fairly substantial amount and buying everybody their dream present at the same time.
Reason #5: You can avoid the Christmas crowds
Need we say more?
When December arrives, you have two options: to fight through busy shopping centres playing bad cover versions of Christmas songs or to sit at home, mince pie and mulled wine in hand, binging your way through Home Alone, Love Actually and It’s A Wonderful Life? (Perhaps even Die Hard, if that’s your thing.)
You went with Option #2, right? Us too. We’ll toast our mulled wine to that.
While you might not want to start planning Christmas in September like some of us, it’s always a good idea to have a Christmas budget in mind as we get closer to the festive season. That way, you don’t overspend and can make sure you’re in a good financial position once 2020 rolls in.
- Author The Bamboo Team
- Posted 3 September 2019