Good Morning everyone! Are we all feeling refreshed from having an extra hour in bed last night?
Good! Savour that feeling because I’m about to talk about the thing, the thing that some people don’t like talking about so soon, the thing that is coming and we cant stop it, the thing we call With it being the 25th of October today, I figured we could have a chat about the big day that’s officially just 2 months away!
As most of you will know, I am a lover of Christmas, I start my countdown somewhere in the middle of the year, about July-ish. I cant help myself, I just love Christmas. Just this morning I was considering putting on a Christmas song! I mean Two months to go? Lets celebrate!!
What I thought I would do is share my Christmas method, how I shop, how I save money, what I do to make it a little less stressful (Christmas, stressful? NEVER!)
So what’s my secret for having a stress free Christmas?
Well, first of all, from August onwards I start writing down anything I think Miss Kaboodle and KaboodleDad would like, things I have heard KaboodleDad mention gets written on the list, things Willow gets excited about on TV adverts get written on the list. I’m not saying I’m writing them all down because I am going to buy them all but I always think that a Christmas list about 10 items too long always gives people something to work with. My personal Christmas list is massive but I only ever expect two or three things, I would rather have three things off a list of stuff I want, than lots of things that I didn’t want. That’s how I prefer to look at things.
Next, I start to think about the day itself, are we going out that day? Are people visiting us? I try to get the day organised in advance, our family tend to meet up at a restaurant at Christmas and this year we’re heading somewhere for breakfast on Christmas Eve. We are planning to stay home this Christmas day and some family members have said they are visiting us. Now I know what is happening, I am able to write out what I want to buy in terms of food.
I know that all the dinner foods will be needed this year because we’re cooking our own lunch. I know family are coming to us so I know to buy in snacks, crackers, cheeses, pâtés and drinks to suit everyone so i’ll buy a selection of non-alcoholic drinks for me and others who don’t drink, kids drinks for the kids, alcohol for anyone who wants it. I’ll also be doing a cold meat platter for boxing day so things like Bread sticks, pickled onions, a little salad. Then there’s the treats, gingerbreads, German foods, I love me some German Christmas foods! All this gets written on a list and as soon as November comes around, I start buying the food. I work my way down the list buying things that don’t perish as quickly first, so biscuits, crackers ETC stuff with long ‘best before’ dates get Bought first and as the weeks go by I add more and more until I’m done. I tend to budget an extra £10 for foods each week in the lead up to Christmas, some weeks I don’t spend that much, some weeks I spend more, that’s just how it goes.
Lastly, I clear out a kitchen cupboard and use it to store all the foods that we’re saving for the big day.
The next thing on my To Do List is digging out what I like to call my Christmas Bags. I have a big bag full of other big bags that I only ever use at Christmas time. These become my storage bags to fill with gifts as time goes by. I keep them in a cupboard upstairs and fill them as time goes by. So far this year I have one filled up already, which brings me onto my next step…
I start buying at the end of the summer. Normally, you will find that as the winter stock gets brought in, the summer stock gets sold off cheap. We have managed to pick up Willow a Barbie hairdressing head and loads of my little pony playsets that were reduced to half price at the end of August. Bargains. I also check the discount and cheaper stores for stuff. We have a Home Bargains near us, If I see something in there that is marked up for just 20% of the RRP and I think my Moosie will like it, I will buy it, there’s no point hanging around when it comes to stores like that, they’ll be gone before you know it. Most of the time, I manage to find things that are for sale at £5 when they’re normally on sale for £20, cant walk away from a bargain like that!
A lot of my Christmas shopping is done is this way. Every week when we go shopping I will check the reduced sections and the sale areas. If there is a bargain and I can spare the money, I will buy it. A few weeks back I managed to get willow a plate and bowl set for just £1!
I also do a lot of this when it comes to the food shopping too, a lot of the time things like chocolates, biscuits and foods similar get put on offer, I take advantage of the offers.
Next up I text around family to get a feel of price range, we tend to go for £20 on each other and the kids. I will find out what the kids are into and if there is anything specific anyone wants. I then write a list of things that could come under the budget and suit the want, this year my nephew is way into Lego, I’ve now got my eyes open for anything Lego related that is affordable and in budget.
I do this over the months leading up to November.
In November I pick out a catalogue and start looking online with willow. Trying to decipher what will be her main present. This year I have already discovered that she wants something to play music on, a kids CD player. Since I already know what she wants as a main, I only need to work on what to get her as secondary presents so letting her flick through an Argos catalogue always gives me ideas for things that are going to bring a smile to her face.
Over the weeks I also pick out lots of small things for stockings. I tend to put all the sweet treats into the stockings, that way I can’t go overboard on chocolates and stuff. This year, We are doing Willows stocking with her favourite surprise eggs and stuff that she collects. Instead of buying the bigger sets for under the tree we’re just going to stick to the small ones, That way she’s getting her fill of all her favourites but we’re saving money because were sticking to the smaller sets.
Lastly, each year I take Willow out to the city centre and buy her a selection of new clothes, pants, socks and pyjamas, I buy them all in the next size up so they will last her.
Once December arrives, I buy the cards, make a list of people and get those out. Then I get the gift wrap. I always save the gift wrap until last because it’s my favourite thing to do. I don’t start wrapping until the week before Christmas. In fact, I only gift wrap other peoples presents during those days. I save all of KaboodleDad and Miss Kaboodles wrapping until Christmas Eve! I always wrap as much as I can on Christmas eve because I cant sleep! It fills my time and gives me something to focus on and keep me busy. (*I know other people choose to do this part much earlier to save stress but for me, doing it last is a stress saver!)
So there we have it, my Kaboodle Christmas Plan, there are other things I do that tie in with all of the above but if I had to break it down I would say this
- plan way in advance
- make a list of everything
- sniff out the bargains
- stick to the bargain stores
- Stick to the lists
- Get stuff people want and agree on a budget
- take advantage of in-store offers
- keep an eye out for offers into your inbox
- don’t be afraid to ask what people want
- if you don’t know what to get someone, go for a gift card for a store they like
- always buy more gift wrap than you need in case of rippages!
- always buy more cards than you need in case of misspellings!
- make a plan and stick to it
- Enjoy it!
We don’t set a specific budget for Christmas itself, we tend to think that what we spend is just want we spend, every year is different. Each year we work out our financial situation before going into things, that’s how we manage. That’s what works for us. We feel that spreading the cost over the months leading up to Christmas means we don’t have to scrimp and save, we can have a bigger Christmas because we plan in advance and buy as we go.
Okay, so I’ve got my methods, what about you? Anything you totally disagree with in there?
Let me know!
As always, thanks for reading!