Why now is the time to start buying Christmas gifts
If October sounds too early to deal with Christmas shopping, think again. Putting off buying presents until nearer the big day means you'll likely spend more than you need to, making an already pricey month cost even more.
As part of our #XmasReady series, here are four reasons why you should start buying your gifts now.
You can spread the cost
For many, December is going to one of the most expensive months of the year, with Christmas presents forming a large chunk of it.
If you start to pay for those gifts now and through October you should be in a better place to avoid nasty overdraft or credit card fees that could come from spending it all in December.
Of course, it helps to know how much you can afford to spend first, so use our Christmas money planner to work out your festive budget.
You can hunt for the perfect present (and the best prices)
Sometimes you know exactly what you want to buy someone, other times you don't.
By starting your shopping now you've more time to find a decent gift within your budget. Even better you can also shop around for the best price.
If you're worried something might be cheaper in the Black Friday or other pre-Christmas sales, simply find out what the return policy is before you buy.
Most shops will offer a 30-day window for you to get a refund, though they don't have to. Buy online and you legally have 14 days to return anything.
You'll avoid last-minute buying
If you leave your gift buying until December the shops will be busier, stock could be low and prices often higher. As a result, it's possible you'll end up spending more than you planned.
Worse, there's the chance you'll panic buy something expensive the recipient probably doesn't even want just so you've something to give. That's a waste of money however you look at it.
You can avoid last-minute delivery charges
More of us are shopping online rather than on the high street, and this often comes with extra charges for delivery.
Though many retailers will offer you free shipping if you spend a certain amount, the later you leave it to order, the less likely you'll be able to take advantage of this. You might even have to pay more to guarantee delivery by a certain date.
We've also seen over the last few years some shops unable to manage the demand, especially after big sales like Black Friday, meaning you might not even get your gifts before Christmas.
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.