Birds are singing, the sun is shining, ice-creams are melting and Christmas couldn’t be further from your mind.
Think back seven or eight months, to your last Christmas shop. Do you remember how stressful and expensive it was?
We all know that feeling: our friends and family deserve the world, but once all the decorations and wrapping paper have drained our funds, all we can afford for them is a Toblerone.
The secret to having a relaxed, budget-friendly Christmas – and wowing your loved ones – is to start early. Here’s why July is the best time to start your festive shop:
Winter clothes are really cheap
Nobody wants fur boots in 30°C heat. Visit your local outdoor shop or factory outlet in summer and you’ll find shelf upon shelf of snuggly, new winter clothes at bargain prices. Why wait until November and pay the full cost? Clear a cupboard at home and start collecting presents now.
So are Christmas decorations
If cold-weather clothes aren’t wanted in July, tinsel and baubles certainly aren’t. Scour the clearance aisles and websites of homeware stores for great offers on festive decorations. Your home will be a glittering grotto this December. Just snap them up quickly – as soon as August ends, they’ll appear back on the shelves at full price.
July is the month of summer sales
It’s not only winter items that are cheap at this time of year. Every July, the big high-street retailers hold their summer sales. It’s the perfect opportunity to save cash on everything from socks and gift sets to furniture and electronics.
Buying Christmas presents for school-age kids? Look out for multi-buy offers before they return to school in the autumn. As September approaches, many shops begin selling off the last of their stationery and school essentials at low prices. If you’re splashing out on a computer, you’ll often be able to get a ‘back to school’ package including software and accessories. Just keep it well hidden until December 25th!
You have time to make something
In many ways, homemade gifts are the perfect present: incredibly special for the recipient and budget-friendly for the gift-giver. However, they can be time-consuming, so start now. Buy supplies now so it’s ready to work on over the coming months. If you’re new to crafts, try a knitted scarf – how long can you get it between now and December?
Christmas food and drink keeps well
You don’t need to pay £5 and fight the crowds for a Christmas pudding this winter if it’s on sale now for £3.50. Puds keep for years and are sold year-round. Check the bigger supermarkets near you – they’ll be hidden away in the cake or dessert aisle. Drinks, crisps and sweets keep too, so look out for deals and bag them now.
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Generic advice is not a service regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.