The festive season is not quite upon us yet, but if you want to get the best deals and biggest bargains on your Christmas shopping then it’s definitely not too early to start gathering gifts.
Here are a few of our favourite tips for getting your seasonal shopping off to an excellent early start.
Have a clear plan, and keep track of what you’re buying
A little bit of preparation now can save a lot of time and money later. Without a clear plan, you end up buying items on a whim, meaning you miss out on the best deals or accidentally buy multiple gifts for the same person.
It can be helpful to start up a very simple spreadsheet. You only need a few columns: the names of everyone you’re going to be gifting for this year, the gifts that you intend to buy them and a column to mark when you’ve bought it. You could also include the price of each item if you want to keep a running total – not essential, but a good way to stay on budget.
If you’re not sure what to get for certain people then online gift guides can be a good place to start. Look at top 2019 gifts in categories like tech, food and drink or beauty to get a good idea of what’s on the market. Of course, starting early also means that you’ve got plenty of time to speak to people directly and find out what they might want.
Do your research
One of the biggest benefits of starting shopping this early is the extra time it affords you for some proper research. Once you have a general gift idea for each person, start looking for the best deals. Amazon is a good place to start, as it will give you a basic idea of the going rate for different products. Then you can look at secondhand sites like eBay as well as speciality stores, supermarkets and high street chains to work out the best price. You can often get better prices online, and you can take advantage of the cheapest shipping options since you still have plenty of time for them to arrive.
Find a good hiding place
Actually keeping gifts hidden once you’ve bought them is almost as hard as conjuring up the willpower to start shopping early. It’s all too easy for a loved one to stumble on a present whilst looking for something else, and you can even find yourself succumbing to the desire to give gifts early.
That’s why it’s important to start coming up with proper hiding spots and ferreting things away as soon as you purchase them so that they’re out of sight and out of mind. Store things in backpacks or luggage bags to keep them away from prying eyes.
Stock up on non-perishable food and drink
Many of the essential items for your Christmas table will have use-by dates way past December, which means that you can stock up now before the prices go up. If you are hosting Christmas Day then you may want to think about different alcohol that your guests will drink. If you’re after particular brands of spirits then it’s worth keeping an eye out on sales. It’s not unusual for supermarkets to knock a significant chunk off the price, so you can get a real bargain by buying at the right time. On the food side, nibbles like chocolates and savoury snacks are probably your safest bet if you want to start buying now.
Really, though, the best thing about starting your Christmas shopping early is the fact that it stops you from having to get everything in a mad rush on December 20th. So follow these tips, but also take your time and enjoy the process!