Supermum has already done her Christmas shopping – after starting on Boxing Day
It's officially 100 days to Christmas, and one mum-of-two has already completed her festive shop, saving herself an absolute fortune.
Teacher, Bonnie Andrews, put her classroom skills to the test this year, drawing up a spreadsheet of exactly how and when she'll get her presents on a quest to stick to her tight budget.
The 32-year-old, who is a mum to two toddlers, said she has 40 people to shop for – and if she's not careful it can burn a huge hold in her pocket.
“As soon as Christmas is over and Boxing Day sales launch, I start thinking ahead to next year and buying presents," Bonnie, who lives in Berkshire with her two sons, said.
"I love to be organised and my main reason is that I want to give a gift that counts, rather than a cheap last-minute gifts.
"We have a really big family, every-year I probably buy for 40 people – so I have to be organised!"
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Bonnie, who says she's an expert at staying on top of events, said she has 14 immediate family birthdays in the period from mid-November to Christmas, so by shopping well in advance, she's alleviating the pressure later on and making sure her money is well spent.
"Being a teacher and a mum of two, my job is so demanding around Christmas time in evenings and I don’t really have the time for Christmas shopping in December," she said.
"I’d rather spend that time thinking and planning my presents so it's personal. I want everyone I buy for to realise that I have considered exactly what they would want and like. A gift is to show you care, not a rushed last-minute decision."
So on a mission to make Christmas worthwhile, she says she starts planning on Boxing Day.
"I prepare eight full stockings of presents every year at Christmas for my two boys, my parents, my husband's parents and my aunt and nan, as I think they are such a nice tradition. They are always so appreciated," she said.
"But I hate the pressure of going out shopping last minute and not finding anything to buy. To help with this, I have a full spreadsheet set-up to keep me organised, which lists everyone I am buying for, their birthday date and Christmas, as well as a few present ideas for each."
Bonnie explains that once she's completed a person, she'll highlight their name on her spreadsheet, and then add a link to what she's bought them.
"If I am putting money in a card, I will note it down in the spreadsheet and prepare and put an envelope aside, so I don’t have to rush to the cash point the night before," she added.
By starting early in the year she can make huge savings on presents by using things like the Boxing Day sales, and by August, she's completely done.
"I reckon 85% of my Christmas shopping is done online, as I can find more promotions and deals. You can also leave items in your basket or in saved items, which is really handy," Bonnie explained.
"My top tips are to write or document everything down – otherwise you will forget and start spending for the sake of it.
"I also always use my Tesco credit card and pay it straight off, as then I get Tesco points and triple the value into vouchers. This enables us to have family days out to zoo's etc and going away for the weekend.
"Last year I bought a handful of Boots toiletries and cosmetics gift sets in the Boxing Day Sales, as they are a much better price," Bonnie added.
"I always check expiry dates though. The summer sales are personally my favourite as you can get some great deals.
"I’m also a big fan of Amazon's Deal of the Day and have joined lots of Facebook groups. I managed to get an amazing all singing, all dancing My Little Pony toy.
"It’s worth over £50, but I managed to get it for £15 for a friend's four-year daughter. She absolutely loved it, I saved so much money and it was well-thought through."
Bonnie explains that all of her gifts are well timed throughout the year.
"If I’m buying toiletries for a Christmas present, I tend to buy them in the summer as I prefer the fruity and flowery smells than fragrances or candles scents that come out at Christmas.
"Then I'll buy stocking fillers, like advent calendars or chocolate coins and anything fresh at the last minute," Bonnie explained.
By September, she says she's ready to wrap all of her gifts in preparation of the big day.
"I dedicate a whole day to wrapping all birthday and Christmas presents and even prepare the stockings early so we're ready to go," she said.
All of her gifts are then stored in her spare room, where she can "hide them from everyone".
"That way I can enjoy the run up to Christmas and don’t have to get stressed on the days leading up to Christmas Eve," Bonnie said.
"My biggest goal is to actually have fun celebrating, may it be a birthday or Christmas, rather than worrying about money and time.
"Life can be extremely busy with two kids and every month can be different with unexpected surprises like flat tyres or school trips, so being organised takes a bit of pressure off, financially and emotionally.
"I am lucky that through planning, organising and taking my time to shop I don't worry about Christmas.”
Christmas may be 100 days away but 13 million people in the UK have already completed their Christmas shopping, according to American Express.
In fact, a quarter of us admit we start before August each year, in attempt to get ahead of the big rush, according to RetailChoice.
Here are some top tips to getting ahead of the (expensive) rush.
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