It may barely be half way through November, but shock, horror! Christmas is coming up! The John Lewis Christmas ad has already launched, I’m seeing Christmas decorations on Instagram and Christmas gift lists are appearing on blogs.
I thought I’d done really well with gifts this year – whenever I’ve seen something I thought someone would like, I’ve bought it immediately and set it aside. Unfortunately, their birthdays all came before Christmas, so I’m left with an empty present cupboard once again and the feeling that I need to get on with buying Christmas presents.
It’s an expensive time though, particularly when you’re in your mid-20s and you’re finding your friends are starting families so there are lots of small but oh-so-cute people to buy for and you just want to get them ALL the things. So here are a few things I’m doing this year in preparation for Christmas:
Creating a budget spreadsheet
Every so often, Ben and I sit down and go through our budgets. He creates a spreadsheet of all our outgoings and incomes, and we check how these are balancing up against each other. We’ve had to think extra hard about outgoings this year thanks to wedding planning – we keep feeling like we have lots of spare cash in our accounts before realising that the reason is because we’ve put down wedding deposits but don’t pay the full balance on them until just before the wedding, so that’s all money that’s waiting!
We try to keep plenty of money aside for any emergencies that might happen. Now we own our own house, we like to be prepared for any potential break downs or incidents that may be costly such as roof tiles flying off in storms (check!) and oven elements burning out (check again!). If you’re not prepared for these, companies like Cash Lady can help you in the meantime while you sort your finances out.
Curbing my shopping habit
This is a work-in-progress! As much as I’d like to claim that I can’t be a fashion blogger without shopping all the time, I don’t really post all that many outfits any more and I like to rewear my clothes a lot. My recent Alice’s Pig coat purchase inspired me towards buying more investment pieces rather than cheap throwaway ones, so I’m consoling myself with the idea that I’m just saving to buy a bigger and better piece of clothing in future rather than spending it all at Christmas!
Shopping Black Friday sales
Every year, we try to wait until the Black Friday sales before buying too many Christmas presents as a lot of the things I would be buying anyway tend to go into some sort of sale or have some offer on. Amazon’s Black Friday deals are our best friend for this as they have everything and it tends to save us lots of money.
Extra freelance work
I earn money outside of my full time job in a few different ways: mostly from advertising on my blogs, but also from freelance work. I’ve taken on some additional work recently which is providing a bit extra income, and I’m also photographing a wedding for a friend of the family at the weekend – very exciting but also slightly terrifying!
Selling old sewing patterns
This is a very random one, but where I used to sell old clothes, I’m now selling old sewing patterns! I got sick of trying to work with eBay and Paypal’s rules, regulations and fees, as well as super awkward buyers who were claiming false things and Paypal were siding with them. So I decided when I want rid of my clothes, I now just give them to charity instead – I’m helping somebody else as well then.
I do have a LOT of sewing patterns though, and not all the charity shops want them. Because I subscribe to sewing magazines, I get patterns free with these, and I just seem to gather them. I joined a pattern swapping and selling group on Facebook and managed to sell nearly unused 20 patterns on there. It cleared up a lot of space in my sewing room and got me a little extra cash at the same time – even if that only pays for 1 person’s Christmas presents, it’s worth something!
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