Here at Money Skills, we think it’s never too early to talk all things “Christmas”.
And that’s not just because we’re partial to a string of fairy lights and a mince pie, but because it also makes financial sense.  The sooner you think about Cxxxxxxxx, the better prepared you’ll be, and the less likely to panic-buy expensive stuff that your loved ones don’t really want anyway.
So the first thing to do is:
Set a budget and stick to it
Have in mind (or better still, jot down) the maximum you can spend on pressies, then divide it up between the folks you have to buy for.  Obviously, you’ll be wanting to spend more on some people than others, so here is where you weight the spend up and down according to importance, expectation and where they appear on Santa’s Nice List, of course.  Crucially, if one or two gifts go over their individual budget even it out quickly by making sure your next couple of buys are under-budget.
Shop ahead and online
We all know someone who gloats about their Christmas Eve present-buying sprint, and how they still manage to pick up great gifts for everyone at a snip.  And admittedly, there are huge discounts to be had on Christmas Eve (particularly online after the shops have closed), but if you aren’t prepared to play Christmas-chicken (or should that be turkey?) then don’t leave everything ’til the last minute.
Vouchers, discounts and cashback
To lay your hands on the best bargains; start early, do your research online and check for voucher codes and on cashback sites.  Loads of shops have 3 for 2 offers or “Gift of the Week” promotions, which can save you some serious £££.
Dare we suggest….Black Friday?
For the hardened scrum-shopper, there’s always Black Friday, which falls on 24th November this year.  If you sign up to the top retailers’ newsletters, you’ll be notified as soon as the Black Friday deals go live, giving you a much better chance of snapping up that Nintendo Switch before it’s sold out.  Better still, if the websites have pre-sales, you’ll get in before the cyber-crush and avoid the bruises!
Then switch on the fairy lights and enjoy that mince pie, safe in the knowledge that Santa’s sorted!
Don’t forget to come and see us at the Frugal Friday Food Festival this…er…Friday.  We’ll be in the main entrance to Owen building between 11 and 2.