Can't think of a title but how do I afford Christmas etc? - support group?(31 Posts)
Yes, I know I should have been saving all year but we have only just been managing each month without the added expense of Christmas.
Just got our energy bills through the post I am now panicking!
Advice please on how to spend less but still get through till January?
And any other helpful advice or links to threads?
Join here if you are also worried how to afford it all.
Be back later.
How much can you put aside between now and Christmas - you need to know what your Christmas budget will be. Is there anything you can sell - old toys etc - to up this budget a bit.
Use pound shops and charity shops to get a few gifts for people. buy your Christmas veg from the market as it's cheaper than supermarkets and buy frozen meat as it's cheaper than fresh. Also, if you're stuck, just do a sunday roast with chicken or beef - you don't have to do cranberry sauce etc if you are short on cash.
your kids can make decorations - paper chains etc to help make the house look Christmassy.
The key thing is that your kids need heating and light more than they need presents, so prioritise getting that energy bill paid.
Have a look at something like Park for next christmas, so you can start putting a bit aside each month now for 2013 so that money is already designated in advance.
Only get gifts for kids, no adults.
Have a look at what you can put on ebay for extra cash.
Spend lots of time planning on little traditions and things to make the build up special, depending on if you have kids and how old they are obviously.
What I started doing in January, so you could start this for next year, is once a week ish I log onto bank account and move the odd £ and pences to a different account. So if I had 21.75 in account I transferred the 1.75 over. Doing this has given me £200 in the bank for Christmas without causing me any pain. We are skint too so have to watch every penny and never go out or have hols etc but I have been able to skim a little over the year.
Also, if you have anything that's too much issue to sell on ebay, use gumtree as its free.
I do Park vouchers every year, I did £400 for this year and it was a godsend. Although I do appreciate if you haven't got the spare £30 odd a month, it's just not doable.
We only now buy for the kids in the family and I buy for my parents and DH but that's it. Saves loads and saves me ending up with a load of crap for less than a tenner.
My DD is also a toy tester for a well known toy shop, so that helps loads as her birthday is at the end of the month so will be passing whatever we get this week off as birthday presents. I'm not buying for the sake of it, we get 10 toys a month so she doesn't need me to buy any more.
Two years ago DH and I both lost our jobs in the last week of November (after combined service of 38 years, was a real bolt from the blue)
We spent practically nothing on Christmas and it was the best one ever. We had already arranged to go to my sister's which helped a lot - my contribution to dinner was a dish of cauliflower cheese and a gingerbread house which DSs and I made and some wine I'd been given by a neighbour after doing them a favour, but even so Christmas dinner is not really expensive and you'd have to buy food anyway
The only presents for adults were potted hyacinth bulbs and bookmarks DCs had made (explained and agreed in advance)
Our DCs (then 7&9) got the one main thing they really wanted and stocking fillers were made up of things I would buy anyway, bubble bath, socks, treats for their lunch boxes, bits they needed for school.
My DCs went through their toys and sorted out some really good things they'd finished with to pass on to their cousins (3&4) DSis was thrilled and DNs to young to realise/care it was all secondhand
It was truly lovely, Christmas was far more about being glad of the family and health we're blessed with. DCs were brilliant about the reduced presents and TBH seemed to enjoy those they had for not being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of it all as they sometimes can be.
We went to church, for long walks, watched old films and played board games and not a penny spent
I will try to work out a budget.
You are right, we need electric and gas so must pay those bills. I should also write a list of people to buy presents for.
I think we sometimes get carried away with the idea of "a perfect Christmas" and I guess you really don't need to spend loads to have that.
One year I bought a big chicken instead of a turkey as I couldn't afford it. There weren't many of us but nobody could tell the difference. This year I have a christmas pudding which I bought in last year's christmas clearance for a fraction of the price.
My advice would be to only buy the necessary stuff, it's so easy to get carried away but just stay focused.
Check freecycle for decorations etc too.
For the past few years we've had the 'kids only' rule apply in our family too. I now only buy for DS, a niece and a nephew. Dinner is usually at my Mums to which I'll contribute a course or give her a gift card for Asda to help with cost.
Im not doing cards this year either, everyone knows this in advance.
If youre doing dinner start putting even just one thing away each week now to go towards it. Are your DCs of an age where theyll eat proper Xmas dinner? If not agree with DP/H to opt for a cheaper meal.
Start looking in aldi, Lidl and pound shops. I got large Xmas pudding for £2.50 in Lidl last week.
IME perfect christmasses are stressful.
Last year was perfect for me as it was just the two of us and I was in PJ's till 2pm.
Hmmm...park vouchers...are they good? I like the idea of getting some John Lewis ones for next year...
I second aldi for gifts and xmas food/treats.
I suppose with vouchers at least you cant dip into them if times get bad. I have a lockable safe I can put my money in which I dont have the key for so I cant get to it unless DH is there.
For stockings, get stuff dcs NEED - toothbrishes, bubblebath, socks - but ones with characters etc on. Some chocolates, stickers, and maybe 'treat vouchers' - bike ridfe with dad, dvd night at home with homemade popcorn etc. Homemade biscuits are great gifts, maybe decorated by the dcs? Be honest with your family about what you can afford. They might feel relieved not to have to buy you expensive gifts too!
I got ds2 a gruffalo toothbrush a and face cloth!
Buy chicken instead of a turkey
Cook all meal items from scratch- so much cheaper
Buy presents for your dc only and explain your situation to your family. If you are having family around you can always get dc to open gifts before they arrive.
spicandspan I like you'r idea about the stocking presents - buying stuff they need.
We never buy a whole turkey anyway so food shouldn't be a problem
--as long as we don't run out of money--
I am trying my best not to spend at the mo but DD's birthday is next week and I will have to buy her a present.
We do shop at Aldi for our main shop but top up stuff from other shops too.
I have got a bit of savings if things get desperate so FX we should be o.k.
hiya we to have found our selves in a sticky situation this christmas due to dp starting a new job and working tax still messing us around with payments so at the moment were living of his weekly wage which is tough .
i have just signed up to park to start saving from january next year to ensure this doesnt happen again.i dont no how to do a link but my thread is called ideas for cheap christmas presents and theres some fab ideas on there and links to different threads and how to make your own playhdoh HTH xx
hi again heres the link to my thread like i said some brilliant and cheap ideas for xmas presents xx
Hi butane I wish we could go back to DH being paid weekly as I used to find that easier to budget. He now gets paid once a month. I am unemployed but am attempting to do paintings to earn a bit of pocket money to keep us afloat. I sold one in October so I need to get cracking on another. It's hard to balance time though
--needs to learn some time management skills--
We are a family of 4. I bought DD a couple of birthday presents today.
We have £56 to last till Tuesday (to buy any food we run out of) This should be doable ? Shouldn't it??
I will take a look at that link. Thanks
Just trying to re do that link incase anyone else would like that thread. x
Charity shops for presents. You can get new-in-packet ones, but you can also get some excellent secondhand toys for smaller DC. My DSes both had stockings pretty much entirely from the charity shop last year & each cost £20 tops.
Poundland - for tins of biscuits, books & toys for kids, smellies
Tesco clubcard voucher exchange - exchange your clubcard vouchers for double their value on many things
'Gift vouchers' for presents for adults - promises to babysit, cook a nice meal, give a massage etc
See if you have any points you can spend on Nectar card/Boots advantage card
Re-gift! That hairbrush set that Aunt Mavis bought you last year - are you ever going to use it? No? Know anybody else who might (different side of the family preferrably!)
Blackcat £56 for less than a week for food should be plenty! I spend about £100-£200 per month on food, cleaning stuff, everything. Try shopping late at night for reduced price fresh goods (meat, fruit, veg, bakery goods etc). Also Value brand products are usually fine!
£56 would do us for two weeks in Aldi!.
We couldnt afford stockings when I was little (wine was affordable though ) so mum would cover boxes with christmas paper and it was like an aladdins cave full of treasure. I loved them.
Practical presents are good for kids - if they need new PJs or clothes, for example. Toothbrushes, socks, undies etc fill up stockings while being things that are useful.
There is a lot around Christmas that you don't need to spend. Make sure you have a nice meal (regular nice roast, maybe with a nice desert, could be jelly and icecream) but that doesn't have to cost loads. Bake goodies yourself rather than buying them.
Re-use decorations, and get kids to make paper chains, chains of snowmen etc using coloured paper and sheets of newspaper. Get them to make presents for each other and you and wider family - cereal box cardboard covered in paper and painted could make nice bookmarks, pine cones covered in paint and glitter are lovely tree decorations, little kids can make lovely decorations using handprint pictures etc.
Harness your own talents - can you sew, knit, paint, bake, etc?
And there are usually lots of free activities around the place to enjoy.
Can you do surveys? Its not the quickest way of making money but I do Valued Opinons for vouchers and also one poll. Valued Opinons pay out when you get to £10 so you may be able to get a couple of vouhers between now and Christmas. One Poll don't pay until you get to £40 but they have surveys most days so it does mount up. May not pay out in time for Christmas but knowing you'll have an extra £40 coming in January may ease things?
Slightly random but just had the Tesco Everyday Value Christmas Fruit Cake, very cheap in comparison to others...and its delicious!
Hi all, didn't mean to just abandon the thread, we had a family bereavement last week so my mind was elsewhere.
Hoping to start thinking about Christmassy stuff soon though although it will be tinged with sadness to a certain extent.
I have paid my energy bills off so I just need to sort a budget for everything else.
I'd make a list of all the Christmassy things you can do for free or next to nothing: play Christmassy songs; go to a carol concert, listen to the Sally Army's lovely brass bands in shopping centres, admire city centre decorations. Make decorations together. Light candles or a fire. These are the bits children remember, not the mass of expensive and unnecessary toys.
Buy christmassy versions of food you'd normally buy. Do christmassy crafts. Make a gingerbread house (£2.50 from IKEA or Tiger.)
Go to 99p stores for chocs, Wilkos or online for stocking fillers and decorations, and Lidl for deli treats.
Fix a budget for each present and for the food and wine - doesn't matter how small, and see how far you can make it go. But stick to it. The fun is in stretching it a long way, not in exceeding it. Get onto freecycle now to request things. You can be specific, or if you are general (e.g. any good quality toys for a three year old) you may get luckier. Then spend some time making them look good as new. Bikes, scooters, loads of large toys like ELC shops and kitchens crop up on there. So do artificial Christmas trees and fairy lights.
Buy stuff in advance if you see it on offer. DH brought back fantastic gourmet sausages for 50p a pack the other day because they were on their sell by date. they went into the freezer for Christmas day.
I was on this thread further up & mentioned the Tesco Clubcard voucher exchange. Well, today I got my DSes main (joint) Xmas present using this & I am really pleased! Toys are included in the exchange this time, so I exchanged £15 of clubcard tokens for £30 of vouchers, which came off the toy I bought, meaning I got a £60 toy for £20 (was also on special offer, £60 down to £50). I also got over £2 cashback going through Topcashback!
DSes are getting this then a few little bits in their stockings, such as books, dvds & games, all of which so far have cost no more than £1 apiece from charity shops & car boot sales. I reckon we will probably spend no more than £50 total on Xmas for both boys & I know they will be more than happy with what they get.
One final thing - Daily Mirror are tomorrow doing a £5 of £35 spend voucher for Aldi
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