Planning Ahead for Christmas and Birthdays
This year in our family we have had 2 big birthdays. In April my mum turned 60 and in a few weeks, my sister will be hitting the big 3-0. But the major problem is all of the birthdays come really close together. The only respite being that mine is on its own in July. Other than that, we run the risk of falling flat upon approaching the birthday season come March/April before the mini rush come the end of September/October. It really is in our best interests to make sure we are planning ahead for Christmas and Birthdays.
The birthday season starts on March 2nd and ends on 20th April. In that time we have 7 birthdays, Mother’s day and Easter usually too. 49 days and up to 9 events. This on average gives us something happening around every 5.5 days. Of course, this isn’t the case and with birthday parties too for the kids and this year throwing a surprise party for my mum’s birthday, things can get slightly crazy.
But with careful planning and shopping around there are many different ways we attempt to budget for the dreaded birthday season at the start of the year and the mini one coming up as we hit the end of the year before we hurtle straight into Christmas!
Sales are an excellent way of keeping costs down for birthdays. With 3 of the aforementioned 7 birthdays being children’s ones, we take advantage of toy sales that pop up literally everywhere come January. I have been known to have bought all of Olivia’s birthday presents in January sales before. This really helps when planning her birthday parties too as I know I don’t need to find the money for presents and the party.
For adults, we tend to shop out of season slightly too. you can pick up some brilliant bargains in sales throughout the year. For example, I have always wanted to get my sister a Ted Baker bag and currently by shopping via Love The Sales I can pick one up with a hefty discount as they clear out old stock ready for the new season.
Buy in bulk. Use the 3 for 2 offers if you know you are going to be purchasing them anyway. I know there is a big furore right now over it, but the Argos sales not only works well for Christmas presents but gives us the opportunity to purchase something to put away.
Buy What They Need.
This one is more of a general save money idea, but we always gift clothes and shoes. Especially handy as Olivia always has a growth spurt right before her birthday. So again, using sales and offers me and her dad gift her new outfits and shoes for her birthday. We do of course opt for brands we wouldn’t normally buy. So picking up Converse on sale which you can also find on Love the Sales helps to cut the cost of not only buying presents but new clothes and shoes too.
Plan Ahead for Christmas and Birthdays.
For many years my sisters and I had a money saving pot going with my mum. Every week out of my wages a small amount would go into one of my mum’s bank accounts until we needed it. Come birthday season I would have a head start on buying what I needed and then until August it would be used for other emergencies ie appliances breaking down. From August on the money would solely be for Christmas.
Pick up little things as you shop. Think about making up little hampers or gift bags like my Happy Aunties Day bags. Something like this is easy to put together over a long period of time and by picking up little things throughout the year, it will soon add up and for less than you would think too.
We also put money away for things like shopping vouchers too for various stores. This is something I personally would like to start up again.
If you shop a lot online, cashback sites, along with those that allow you to earn money online like Swagbucks, can help you build a little nest egg to use for those times when your finances need to stretch that little bit further. They can also be helpful in finding you some great offers too.
I love Superdrug so stores like this that have a points cards come in so handy. You spend, collect your points and then save them for a purchase of your choice. I recently managed to get Olivia a Beauty and the Beast 12 days of Christmas advent using solely my points. Every little adds up and if you are shopping there any way make sure you collect as many rewards as you can.