christmas shopping

Heads up . . . it’s time to start your Christmas shopping!

We hate to remind you, but Christmas is fast approaching. And, despite all good intentions about this being the year you are prepared well in advance, it’s probably not the case! And perhaps your heart is sinking at the thought of busy shops, high expectations and rising costs.

But it’s still not too late to get on top of things and avoid both a last minute rush and falling into the trap of overspending. So in this article we share a five point plan for getting your Christmas shopping sorted.


Start with a plan

Bear in mind the old saying that if you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there! And Christmas shopping can so easily start to feel as if you are running round in circles. But if you start by spending time and effort making a plan, you will save a lot of time and hassle.

So sit down for an hour or two, perhaps with your favourite drink and snack. And decide on when and where you are going to do your shopping, what you are going to buy, and how you are going to pay for it all.


  • When?

Do you want to spread your shopping over a few days or weeks? Or would your ideal scenario be to get everything done in one go? Either way, you won’t achieve your goal unless you plan some time to get it done. Put one or more slots in your calendar so that you know when the magic is going to happen.


  • Where?

The next thing to decide is where you plan to do your shopping. Do you enjoy going round shops or would you rather shop online? Or perhaps a combination of both. Once you’ve decided, check out our tips for both kinds of shopping later in this article.


  • What?

This is one of the most important things to get sorted. What are you going to buy for different people? The best thing to do is to be like Santa: make a list and check it twice!

You are much more likely to get your shopping done quickly and efficiently if you have a very good idea of what to buy people rather than randomly wandering around shops or browsing online. So make a list of all the people you need to buy gifts for then have a really good think about what they would like. 

These questions may help:

  • What are they currently interested in or excited about?
  • Can you remember them mentioning anything that they’d love to have or to do?
  • Do they have a favourite item that has broken or is beginning to wear out?
  • Can you think of a fun or quirky item that they might like?


  • How?

Another major aspect of Christmas shopping to resolve up front is how you are going to pay for everything and how much you plan to spend. Why not make this the year when you decide not to overspend?

It is so easy to get drawn into the Christmas hype, and end up spending far too much money. Not only can this spoil Christmas – because you’re worrying about money in the back of your mind – but it can also take months to repay your Christmas debt.

So before you spend a single penny on Christmas shopping, work out how much you can comfortably afford to spend and be determined to stick to that. If this means that everyone just gets small presents this year then so be it: your family and friends would not want you to get into a financial mess just to get them more expensive gifts.


Research items and prices

Once you have a better idea of the kind of items you need to buy, spend time researching the best options and also some likely places to get them.

For example, if you’ve decided to get some kind of Lego set for a younger member of the family, browse online for different types of set to see which they might like best. Once you have narrowed down your options you can then look around for the best price for the kind of set you are looking for. 

Putting in a bit of extra time and effort at the research phase can save you quite a bit of money when you buy your chosen items. And why spend more than you need to with one retailer if you can get the identical item much cheaper somewhere else?


Top tips for an online shop

We referred earlier to deciding where you are going to do your shopping, and if you decide to do some or all of it online here are a few tips that will help to make it work for you:

  • Try to do everything in one go. Otherwise it can be easy to lose track of what you have and haven’t ordered. It also gives you a clearer idea of anything you still need to go out shopping for, for example, if you find that some items are out of stock online.
  • Look out for special deals and offers. You will already be aware of Black Friday (24th November) and Cyber Monday (27th November) but there are often other flash sales and special offers in the run up to Christmas.
  • Don’t get stung for delivery charges. Many retailers offer free delivery, but sometimes this only applies to orders over a certain amount. So it makes sense to try and group your purchases as much as possible so that you reach the threshold for free delivery.
  • When your parcels begin to arrive, make sure you open and check them straightaway so that any obvious errors or defects can be sorted out. And do keep all receipts safely in case of any issues later.
  • It’s also a really good idea to try to wrap and label items as they arrive. This avoids a huge last minute rush to wrap your presents. You can then tick them off your list and store them safely until Christmas.


Top tips for a Christmas shopping day

Whether you want to do all your shopping in person, or just need to get a few extras to top up your online shop, it will be better if you plan your Christmas shopping day. Why not aim to get everything done in one day? Imagine the sense of achievement!

Here are a few tips to help make your day a success:

  • Think carefully about the best place to go shopping, even if this means travelling to somewhere different and perhaps further away from where you normally shop. The key thing is to find a place that has all the shops you need, as close together as possible. It is also helpful to find a map of where the shops are so that you can plan a route round without having to retrace your steps too many times.
  • If you have a lot of shopping to do it would be best to drive if possible. Not only does this make it easier to bring stuff home, but you can also return to the car at different points during the day to leave your shopping. Obviously make sure it is stored securely and out of sight.
  • As with online shopping, look out for sales, deals and offers. Many stores have special Christmas deals such as 3 for 2 on gift items which can help cut the cost with a bit of careful planning.
  • When you get home, as with your online shopping, double check that everything is ok with what you have bought. And also keep all receipts safely in case there is anything you need to exchange or return later.
  • You will feel tired after trudging round shops, but how about getting everything wrapped the next day so that everything is done and dusted, ready for Christmas.


Have a few back up gifts

It’s always a good idea to have a few back up gifts, just in case you need them. Then if you are in the situation where you are given an unexpected gift, you will have something to give back if you feel the need to.

So why not buy and wrap a few small gifts that you can keep under the tree at home or in the car if you’re travelling. You may even be able to use the 3 for 2 offers to stock up on these. Some examples of small backup gifts are:

  • Chocolates or sweets
  • Biscuits
  • Bottle of wine
  • Notebook and pen
  • Mini toiletries
  • Scarf
  • Socks
  • A mug
  • Coasters
  • Card games or puzzles


Having a few backup gifts could save potential embarrassment, and if you don’t use them, they could always make good birthday gifts for 2024.


We hope that this article has helped you organise your Christmas shopping and make it as stress-free as possible. 

If your finances do need a quick boost during this time, remember that Munzee Loans offer online loans that may be able to help.

Check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Munzee Loans.