Thrifty christmas

(117 Posts)
Elainey1609 Tue 06-Aug-13 12:25:54

Hi ya everyone

I am sure I'm in the same boat as many other people this year we no money. blush
I know I am starting to panic already about Christmas
I like many have been glued to the bargain christmas thread and have bought some small bits already but I can't seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel

I have already told many family members that I won't be able to afford buying them Xmas presents this yearned am checking boot sales, free cycle and nearly new sites

The whole thing is just very depressing sad

So i wanted to start this thread to get people's ideas ideas or tips so we can all help each other to the best of our ability as I know I'm not the only one in this situation

A problem shared is a problem halved and all thatgrin

Last year people gave links where free Xmas decorations and samples that can be used as presents were being given away free.
Links to christmas sites with free downloadable things

Just share anything that is free or very low buget that can be used over the Xmas

Hope this helps

A top tip I was given last year was to wrap things you would have to buy anyway - e.g. pants/toothbrush/deodorant in a stocking.

One thing that has really helped me the last few years, I make a list of christmas grocery type things that won't go off and add two per week to my ordinary shopping delivery.

This week was tinned chesnuts (for the Brussels sprouts) and a bottle of appletiser.

They get hidden in a big cardboard box at the bottom of the linen cupboard.

History has taught me never to include chocolate and sweets, as they never actually make it to Christmas.

I should add that I don't do this for the entire year, August til December only.

That's a great idea Terra, I'm going to give that a whirl.

I try to buy a present for a niece/nephew each month so at Christmas I don't have to find money in one hit.

I also try to pick up a stocking filler for DD when I do the weekly shop. A 50p pack of crayons or a pack of stickers. Never above a couple of pounds, but all stuff she loves.

Loveitall Tue 06-Aug-13 18:49:04

I've done the same thing for a number of years...chocolates go in high cupboard, hubby much more strong willed than me and I can't reach. Crimbo food shop wise I buy something each week fromseptember so I no longer have the frantic huge food shop. Works brilliantly smile

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Tue 06-Aug-13 18:58:15

MoneySavingExpert has a great website that people update all the time. What about having a clear out on eBay or at boot sales before nice weather ends to get a bit of extra cash put aside?

Elainey1609 Tue 06-Aug-13 18:58:36

Terra that's a great idea .. I do it with presents but never thought of doing it with the non perishables
Love it thanks
Hope this thread continues with some great ideas

hippoherostandinghere Tue 06-Aug-13 19:12:19

I'd love to start buying some things in my weekly shop to squirrel away. Anyone care to share a list of things the stock up on?

fackinell Tue 06-Aug-13 19:26:36

What about saving stamps for food and drink over Christmas? My DM does this from late summer on. Some of the supermarkets have lovely jewellery and clothing sections too (as well as toiletries.) a fiver a wk would get you £100 by Christmas, if you can spare it with your weekly shop

Can you make anything? Hand made chocolates, cookies, knit something? A lot of the pound type shops have balls of wool.

Kelly281 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:29:51

I also hadn't thought of purchasing some of the Christmas food to put away. Thanks for the tip Terra. It's our first year doing Christmas at home, so would also love some ideas on non-perishables to buy in advance!

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Tue 06-Aug-13 19:35:51

Oh, one thing I do is collect holly and pinecones etc(my garden but have collected ftim friends/family before moving out of town) my home decs with plain candles.. Classy and free!
Some of the supermarkets do that 'free voucher' thing if you shop with them beforehand - morrisons did it last year.

Elainey1609 Tue 06-Aug-13 22:32:47

Natural thank a lot have been doing boot sales on every week when weather permits
Also sell stuff on eBay I save up all my PayPal money up for the whole year ready for Xmas
Think the family would love a day out looking for pine cones and am gonna look to see if anywhere near me holly is growing that I can nab.
So thank for that
It really is some of the simple ideas that I never think of

I got loads of body shop freebies today in the little pots
never realised they did that , a simple but big find for me today
am gonna give them for a bday ... I hope I can get some more ready for Xmas.

Loveitall Wed 07-Aug-13 07:45:35

Ooh, what's the body shop freebies?

girlywhirly Wed 07-Aug-13 10:00:50

A lot of the supermarkets and also Superdrug and BHS sell off their last seasons jewellery at half price or less, so that they can get their new seasons stock put out. I got a bracelet for a quid once, you couldn't buy the beads to make it for that. Possible gifts/stocking fillers?

Starting a stock of food and stuff for Christmas: pretty much anything in tins, jars, bottles, packets and dried. If you like to bake you could get flour, sugar, dried fruit etc. in advance. Longlife items in cartons like milk, fruit juices, custard. You can use longlife milk in cooking, e.g. in bread sauce, brandy sauce or custard. Things like stock cubes, cooking oil, ketchup, pickles, soy sauce, curry pastes. I usually get in extra foil and kitchen rolls, and loo rolls too (if you have the storage space it's worth doing and also if you are expecting a lot of guests) Dried pasta and rice are good to have. Alcohol and soft drinks, tea, coffee, hot choc. Biscuits and crackers for cheese, crisps, nuts, snacks, sweet biscuits. Tins of tomatoes, soup, beans, fruit cocktail, chestnut puree etc.

You might want to add in as applicable to your family: pet food, baby food and milk, nappies, toiletries, and cleaning materials, especially something that will get stains off carpets and upholstery! Look out for special offers or vouchers and buy when you've got a bit of spare cash.

Also remember medicines, both prescription and over the counter. Painkillers for all age groups, and get prescriptions in good time before Christmas, don't leave until the last minute.

I find it helpful to plan menus when you know what you're doing for Christmas or how many guests you're having, so that you can be sure of buying what you need for the meals, and also can cook some things in advance for the freezer.

Hope this helps someone!

Elainey1609 Wed 07-Aug-13 10:40:51

Body shop freebies ..
I just asked could I try some of a cream or shower gel
And they said they can put some on a little pot to take home ... Love it

Loveitall Wed 07-Aug-13 16:21:25

I start to meal plan for crimbo...just a general one when I know where we going etc, and then make a shopping list...then start ticking them off, all generally packet stuff, biscuits, drinks, crisps etc

Loveitall Wed 07-Aug-13 16:22:24

Hubby has set up a small business so we went to makros today and had a little look around, didn't spend to much as I want to price compare but will buy crimbo stuff there in bulk as well

Loveitall Wed 07-Aug-13 16:22:38

Now to find somewhere to store it all!

Hotukdeals.co.uk has rapidly updated offers all the time, you could get lots of small presents that way.

Don't forget neutral wrapping like silver paper or brown parcel paper. I get my parcel paper from Poundworld, every time I send a parcel I think how pretty it would look with tartan ribbon on it.

Definitely stock up on painkillers, anti histamines, antacids, cystitis remedies etc, if you have to nip out for ibuprofen you just know the only one the local shop will have is nurofen at £4 a pack.

girlywhirly Wed 07-Aug-13 16:38:19

In Sainsbury today while stocks last they had packs of 8 Crayola wax crayons for 25p a pack, would make a nice stocking filler.

BucketsnSpades Wed 07-Aug-13 16:44:31

Save some cash for just after Christmas then buy next years wrapping paper and cards in the January sales. They are so overpriced in December and they just get thrown away.

Go 'window shopping' for suitable gifts and then await the October sales before parting with your cash. Bear in mind postage when buying gifts, both for ordering online and if you're posting yourself. Small light gifts are best.

Look out for deals on decent wine, Asda have some good ones this week, I used sainsbury's last year to buy oyster bay and prosecco. It felt like a real treat having decent wine and plenty of it.

If catching up with old friends invite them to your house instead of going out for drinks, even if you cater and supp.y the booze it tends to work out cheaper once you take into account taxis, babysitters, overpriced bar drinks and nibbles etc

Finally, gift giving is not a competition, it doesn't matter if you receive something that's bigger, better and more expensive than the gift you gave in return. Just stick to your budget and let other people stick to theirs.

Elainey1609 Thu 08-Aug-13 12:39:28

Girls think I will be getting those crayon packs today
I like the brown paper idea for parcels as I like using ribbons and it makes it individual but still cheap.
Terra I got my first hit of non perishable food things for Christmas today
Custard powder ... Simple and sad I know but as you said will save I the long run

BiddyPop Thu 08-Aug-13 14:38:46

I find that at Christmas time, there are a LOT of offers on storecupboard type foods (BOGOFs on mild curry sauce for example, as everyone needs a turkey curry option!) and treats. So while some years I stock up in advance, I tend to try to put a few quid into the stamps for a collection card over the autumn instead and use that for a BIG shop at Christmas with all the offers. (And usually, if you manage to fill the card, there is an extra stamp given to you as well, so for saving €98, you get to spend €100). I feel less guilty doing that, and it means I can also get more bulk offers (like the 5% or 10% off wine if you buy 6 or 12 bottles together that some supermarkets offer).

For gifts, forget about what others are doing. Think of the receiver, what they like and need, and try to find something with THEM in mind. So even if it's small, it's personal. 1 person loves an expensive perfume - can you get a small sample at posh Department stores and give it with a few other travel accessories in a clear pouch as a "travel kit"? Someone else loves outdoor activities - is there anything in the late summer clearances that they'd find useful? Is there anything you can make - like gather blackberries or sloes in autumn and make blackberry liquer or sloe gin (use the cheapest vodka or gin you can get, fill up a big glass container with the berries, a good dollop of sugar on top, cover with the alcohol, shake daily for a week and ignore for as long as poss before bottling in nice small bottles (which you've saved over the autumn too) and putting a pretty label and a scrap of ribbon on). Or do they like home baking or something else, that you could make. Put together hampers of things like a mexican night (chilli mix or fajita makings, some nachos, extra chilli or tabasco sauce, couple of beers and a lime) or whatever from supermarket aisles - based on what they like. If you have any crafty/practical skills, can you make something (knit a scarf, sew an iPod holder, make a "Handy Phone Notes" pad for beside the phone etc).

Don't forget that you'll need heat and energy. Stock up when you see batteries on offer. Think about cheap ways to winter-proof your house (fleeces behind curtains or tinfoil behind radiators to keep heat in the rooms, close off rooms not in need, energy efficient bulbs, remind everyone to turn things off not leave them on or on standby mode if possible, etc).

Instead of expensive outings for Santa or panto etc, find cheap Santa visits locally (there are often free or very cheap ones if you search away from shopping centres). Go for winter walks in parks (maybe feed the ducks with bread otherwise going in the bin - before it's gone beyond use though!) or find free events locally (carol concerts in churches or elsewhere, art gallery events, often local councils have different things on). If you have a car, you could put all DCs in pjs (or not if older), cups of hot milk/hot choc for all and load into the car to drive around and see the local houses that are lit up one night - which can be magical and just costs the petrol!

See if family would be willing to do things differently this year. Instead of everyone gifting to everyone, do a Kris Kringle draw so everyone only buys for 1 but everyone still gets a nice gift. Or you could all agree to do stocking stuffers instead. My siblings and I do a mix - we have a KK draw, and we all get stocking items for everyone else with a €5 limit and free/homemade items are preferred. Instead of a big family event in a pub/restaurant, could a gathering in your or someone else's house work instead with everyone bringing a dish?

Just a few thoughts...

hotair Thu 08-Aug-13 16:28:04

Inspired by this thread I've just contact siblings and parents about doing a secret santa this year- my mum sounded keen, so fingers crossed I can get everyone on board. I love the mumsnet christmas threads, always full of great ideas.

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