My colleagues jokingly roll their eyes every time a package arrives at my desk, fresh from an early-Christmas online purchase. “I’m getting ahead,” I tell them. “Just doing Christmas and holiday shopping early, from the sales and specials,” I say, trying to appear smart, when in truth I think (know) they think I’m a little (a lot) insane.

I have the same “forward thinking” when it comes to sale time at my favourite kids’ clothing shop. I pile up marked-down goods in my basket, and come the next season, my son has a great new wardrobe in his new size, at a smidgen of the original value.

This is how I like to get organised, and it’s a way to spread costs across the year, so that when peak spending periods arrive such as Christmas, or the start of a school year, I’m not counting desperately until the next payday, and instead of buying Salticrax crackers, the only crackers I’m buying are the Christmas variety.

Aside from my progressive shopping habits, my use of the 22seven app helps me to save in other areas, which means at the end of the month I can use that extra money to cover these monthly sale purchases without any extra strain on my budget.

It’s about looking for opportunities and angles to smartly spend a little bit more now to save later. And with three or so months to go until Christmas, here are some steps to get there (even if it means getting weird looks from your colleagues).

Think like an early bird, get the worm(s)
The first step to saving for later is to think about what’s coming up, and capitalise now, whether it’s a sale, or a site that offers deals. That doesn’t mean you must buy everything at the Woolworths sale in the hopes that you’ll be able to gift something to someone, or wear it all. Rather, it’s about buying into a good deal with a definite occasion or purpose in mind – a Christmas, birthday, or teacher’s gift for example, or someone’s who’s a few months’ pregnant but whose baby shower you will likely land up at.

Get more for less
Once those moments, seasons or holidays are at the middle of your mind, it’s time to harness the opportunities around you. End-of-season or mid-season sales are the best, and generally I won’t buy anything for myself or for others at the start of a season – rather, I’ll wait until I think they might be on sale. Some people will wait until items are reduced further before even hitting a sale, but I’m risk averse, and too scared I won’t find anything decent, so I tend to go with the first batch.

Find more for less

  • Shops and sales: Stores like The Body Shop often have specials and mark-downs, and it is here that I stock up on Christmas gifts for men and women. (It is also here that I reward myself for saving by buying body butters and shower gels for myself, which I know defeats the purpose, but I can’t help myself.)
  • Daily deals: Look out for daily deals and specials on sites like Takealot – you might find what you’re looking for now at a reduced price, but it’s a good platform to buy something now for someone later.
  • Group-buying sites: While they sometimes make us want things we don’t need, daily deal or group buying sites can be handy for getting great stuff for less, whether it’s a Christmas getaway or a hairdo. (Just make sure you’re going to a reputable restaurant/hairdresser/B&B, and if you’re unsure, Google them!).

Wishing you early-Christmas and holiday cheer, and with your stockings cleverly filled in advance, you’ll feel lighter, though your wallet won’t be.

PS: Did you know that many retailers slash prices hugely off Christmas decorations, lights and goodies after December 25th? It might be worth it to stock up for less for the next year.

Photo by: Nicholas Jones, Galeries Lafayette – christmas decorations. via flickr, CC BY 2.0.