This topic is for paid for discussions. Please mail us at insight@mumsnet.com if you'd like to know more about how they work.

Share with Barclays how you get through the festive season on or in budget and you could win £200 to help...NOW CLOSED

(135 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 22-Nov-13 09:21:46

The team at Barclays say "when it comes to getting honest reviews, we know who to come to. That's why we asked Mumsnetters how they find the Barclays Mobile Banking app. One thing that lots of people mentioned was how easy it is to keep an eye on what's going in and most importantly coming out of their account".

Take a look at one Mumsnetter's story here:



At this time of year, we all know it's more important than ever to know what you're spending. Even if you stretch your typical monthly budget, keeping an eye on how much is going where can help you make January a bit less of a shock when you get there.

With that in mind, and for your chance to win £200 John Lewis vouchers, Barclays would love to hear how you get through this time of year with as little stress as possible on your wallet. Last-minute pressies? Forgotten fancy dress emergencies? House-guests staying a little longer than planned? What are your foolproof ways of making it through the festive season without any nasty shocks to your bank balance in the New Year?

Add your comment(s) below and everyone who does will be entered into a prize draw where one lucky MNer will win a £200 John Lewis voucher. Prize draw 12 December at 12noon.

Thanks and good luck
MNHQ

NB: For Barclays Mobile Banking Terms, conditions & restrictions apply.You must have a Barclays current account and be aged 16 or over to use Barclays Mobile Banking

VestaCurry Sat 30-Nov-13 10:32:59

I buy the majority of presents, cards, wrapping paper etc in the January sales. The food shop is done on the internet, which means I'm less tempted to overspend. Me and DH buy a token gift for each other rather than giving each other expensive gifts. When the children have finally left home we'll go on a round the world cruise, which we're saving for!

Spirael Sat 30-Nov-13 11:19:26

Lots of planning and spreading the costs. I've been steadily buying in the non perishable food and drink for Christmas and New Year over the past month, since we have lots of people staying with us for the festive season this year so will need a lot in.

While I anticipate food being more expensive this year due to the additional mouths to feed, our petrol bill will drop because we're not travelling all over the country. So that is factored in when reallocating funds to cover everything. I've also been working to make our regular weekly meals slightly cheaper, so that the remainder of our normal food budget can go towards stocking up the extra food.

The main thing is to buy within your means! While it would be nice to spend thousands of pounds treating everyone to all they ever wanted, it's just not sensible or feasible. We spend only what we can afford to spend without borrowing, so some years that might mean more lavish presents while other years our belts are a bit tighter.

It seems to the latter most years, currently!!

I pick up presents all through the year when I see a bargain. I also buy Christmas cards and decs when they are reduced to clear in January and I don't go crazy on the groceries - I really don't need to stockpile while the shops close for a couple of days

MissRee Sat 30-Nov-13 16:30:49

We set a strict budget for how much we're spending on each person and stick to it! We have up doing the buying "as and when" because it started getting ridiculous.

gazzalw Sat 30-Nov-13 16:59:07

Start shopping well in advance of December - August/September is my start-point.

Keep a list of pressies and who they're for - it's very easy to lose track and inadvertently spend more buying a 'forgotten' LO's pressie when in fact you've doubled up!

Be mindful that good deals are always coming along (as evidenced the 28 threads on Christmas Bargains started by Reastie!) so you might actually want to ensure that you have a bank account with sufficient funds to cope with a bit of 'pressie buying over-indulgence' in the lead up to Christmas - what's frustrating is when the good deals are around and you can't afford to buy things...

Buy food and drink as and when you do your weekly shop - you are less likely to notice one or two 'extra's in a weekly shop than trying to buy all the Christmas eating/drinking goodies in one fell-swoop - and prices go up as it gets closer to Christmas too so you are being well-and-truly fleeced.

Always remember that it's often the cheap and cheerful but well-thought thro' pressies that are best-received. Don't think that you have to spend a fortune to give something meaningful!

Stop shopping once you start feeling tired and unfocused - otherwise you will waste money poor decision-making and come home with pressies you subsequently decide are wrong!

MegBusset Sat 30-Nov-13 18:06:29

Get festive food from Aldi rather than Tesco/Sainsbury's. Their prosecco and stollen bites are both lush. Their own-brand spirits are really good value too.

CheeseTMouse Sat 30-Nov-13 19:25:44

I write a list and stick to it. We agree a budget for each present and stick to it, and this year I have been talking to my family about whether we can stop some of the gift buying at all, as I think you sometimes get into a cycle where you buy stuff for the sake of it.

That sounds a bit scrooge like I guess, but I'd rather spend some time with the people I love rather than be given things I don't particularly need.

starrynight19 Sat 30-Nov-13 19:28:04

I always try and start getting presents in September. We don't buy for brothers / sisters who have kids just buy for the children. I also pick up paper / cards etc in January sales.
Food and drink is our biggest expense and every year I say I will save on a supermarket card to put towards it but never have yet.

Charcoalbriquettes Sat 30-Nov-13 19:45:38

Wow, some top budgeting advice here!

I have bought very few bits and pieces up til now, as I have simply not had any spare cash at all.

I would say choose between a summer holiday and a big Christmas... And then rationalise it with the dc!

This year I have got a frozen duck from farm foods, the dc's dad has been asked to Bring the booze, and other relatives pitching up will be asked to make their contribution.

I have warned the dc that their present pile will be small this year, but I am not worried about their reaction. They will appreciate anything they do get!

MikeLitoris Sat 30-Nov-13 19:54:13

Set up a monthly dd for a set amount to save all year.

Before I go shopping I write a list of things I want to buy. Before I go I check the prices online and compare it as I go around the shops.

Start buying non perishable food a bit at a time along side the weekly shop.

MildlyMiserable Sat 30-Nov-13 21:20:22

This year has been an expensive one so Christmas budget is smaller than usual, trying to find memorable presents instead of expensive ones, one example, DS and I are taking Sister and family, so 8 of us in total to a West End show on 27th, Lastminute.com seats, all of us for less than £100!

Rockinhippy Sat 30-Nov-13 21:54:05

With a damn site more difficulty this year thanks to this crappy bank seriously messing up my finances & even though the banking arm agree with the mistake, the mortgage arm STILL haven't refunded the money they effectively stole from my account, they can't even fecking add up!!! angry

serin Sat 30-Nov-13 22:21:17

I save £50 a month in a separate account all year. This gives me £600 which more or less pays for our Christmas.

There are times (like when the car needed two new tyres and an exhaust in the same month) when it has been very tempting to dip in but I have remained committed and have managed to avoid doing so.

We have bought a cheap fake Christmas year this year as I worked out that we have spent in the region of £1000 on Christmas trees in the 19 years we have been together. That amount of money could have paid for our DD's longed for piano that she has wanted for years.

We have agreed with relatives that we will only buy token gifts and at work we have a £5 secret santa.

I only send to cards to the Irish Auntie's who would never speak to me again if I didn't smile no one else seems to mind.

We have also agreed to seek out the free stuff around Christmas time. Last year we went to London to watch the fireworks on NYE but we drove there and back, took snacks and drinks with us and the whole event hardly cost anything.

This year we are going to a carol concert at a Cathedral for free and we are going to Chester Saturnalia event on 19th December which again is free.

We have bought plenty of cheap DVD's to watch together as a family (to avoid the cinema) and I am thinking of redeeming my lovefilm 30 days free voucher for when the kids are off school in Dec.

Oh and Lidl does the most amazing gingerbread anywhere outside of a German Christmas market!

HootyMcOwlface Sun 01-Dec-13 01:43:13

I've got in the habit of saving all year round (even if its not very much) so I have enough put aside to cover the big expenditures like christmas, car insurance, stuff like that.

A couple of years ago I agreed with the family that we wouldn't do gifts as I was in a tight spot financially, and we still had a fantastic time.

I've also started saving loyalty points to use at Christmas, and I receive my credit card cash back in January which helps too.

CheeryCherry Sun 01-Dec-13 08:19:57

I have a Christmas list book where i jot down what I buy people each year, and as I pick things up throughout the year I write it down so I feel organised! I use nectar points and boots points to buy presents, I use Tesco points for the food shop. I also delegate...ask my parents to bring the wine and crackers, my mil to bring the cheese board and breakfast bucks fizz. I take advantage of 3 for 2 offers, and have agreed with neighbours and friends that we'll just buy selection boxes for the children...cheaper and easier, and less stress choosing gifts. I also start seriously shopping in September when there are three pay days to go...online shopping for gifts is much more convenient for me. Ho ho ho!

Fairylea Sun 01-Dec-13 08:55:55

I have a Christmas coin jar... if I have any coins lying around and any pounds left over I put them in there. I use this for buying stocking fillers.

I buy throughout the year. I have learnt the hard way not to leave everything till the last minute!

ladygoingGaga Sun 01-Dec-13 09:11:13

I've just unpacked a few Xmas decorations I found in jan sales last year at fraction of cost, it made my day! So even though it seems ages away when you buy those few things in the sales it is a lovely surprise to find them in December.

I'm obviously tight... I buy decent second hand toys from car boot sales etc, and just wrap them up so kids don't notice.
That is in the summer months too.. I get DVDs and CDs and console games through the year off ebay at a fraction of the cost.

I also make homemade gifts and decorations, our paper chains are my favourite as made with kids but just great.

I also but photo frames through the year in sales, no more than a fiver usually, add an up to date photo of DC's and that is a present sorted for grandparents etc

I also advocate sharing Xmas dinner, I'm doing dinner for 10 this year, everyone is bringing something's so actually the cost for each contributor is minimal.

Sarahplane Sun 01-Dec-13 11:05:32

I have a credit union savings account that takes money from my wages before I get them which has mostly paid for Christmas for the last few years. I went part time at work after having dc2 which meant I had to reduce the amount I paid in so this year we have used the money from that plus we've been having a clear put and sellinglots of things on eBay left the money in the PayPal account until we needed it for Christmas.

We're saving for our house move early next year so really need to be tight on budget this Xmas. We're moving over any savings straight away so then that's that - we've only got what's in our accounts to spend, so that automatically makes us think twice about impulse buys!

We've agreed with family this year not to spend too much so we'll just be buying small gifts, which actually feels nicer and more in the spirit of Christmas. We'll make sure to visit and spend time with each other instead.

We also kept some stuff back for DS from his birthday in Oct (things we'd bought him but then realised he had plenty) so have only had to top up by a few bits - again we're doing small gifts rather than anything big. And we started buying foody treats back in early Oct to spread the cost, so we have pannetone, stollen, biscuits, alcohol already stocked up!

I browse online to try and get the best prices and use cashback sites wherever possible.

bishbashboosh Sun 01-Dec-13 15:59:31

I have an e savings account and put away twenty pounds a week then with the lump son I budget a largish amount for the kids and the rest for everyone else.

She and I spend 50 pounds in each other .

I also buy non perishable good while they're in iffer and put in a family hamper which we get out and stock the cupboards with, no need for a Christmas shop, get veg box and meat delivered from riverford

Job's a good 'un !!!!

Happiestinwellybobs Sun 01-Dec-13 16:05:21

I put money away via work in a Christmas savings scheme. As it goes straight out of my salary I can't get at it until November. I started in August this year - when I see anything on offer I get it.

DH and I have agreed not to buy each other anything this year. I am buying christmas alcohol and frozen items weekly to spread the cost out.

I always keep an emergency box of chocolates in case of a need for an unexpected gift - which I eat if not needed!

pussinwellyboots Sun 01-Dec-13 16:51:31

I try not to feel pressure eg from other parents to buy more than I want to for my children. This for me is the key. I also try to think about what is really important and what isn't eg I don't really notice the difference in taste between chicken and turkey so if there are only a few of us, ill roast a chicken instead which is much cheaper!

I also keep lists of who i've bought for.

This year my adult brothers and I have agreed to make a charity donation instead of presents for one another and our partners otherwise we all end up giving each other overpriced toiletries that we don't really want or need!

freckledleopard Sun 01-Dec-13 17:59:25

I try to save money by using loyalty card offers to buy presents. The Tesco clubcard exchange allows big savings to be made. Also, things like Amazon Black Friday save money.

missorinoco Sun 01-Dec-13 19:36:07

My stress free tips - plan early. Start buying gifts early to stagger the cost. Stock up on biscuits etc that will still be in date early.

I meal planned for the guests visit last time. It was easier than trying to just create a meal for eight from random items in, and much less stressful.

Be realistic about what you will eat, and what people will bring. One year we were eating Xmas biscuits well into January.

Look for the January sales for Xmas tree decorations, wrapping paper and cards. You will save a fortune, and it is a great feeling when you pull down new items that you haven't just had to pay out for.

Me2Me2 Sun 01-Dec-13 20:16:57

I put money aside over the year for Xmas.

I do the food shopping on my own, which is a bit baa humbug but it means we don't get swept away by this or that and buy more food than needed. I always have an eye on special offers and buy in advance if I see a good offer.

I have a set budget for each person and I wait til the sales have started before buying any clothes (so many start before Xmas these days. Or give them a voucher for the sales after Boxing Day so they can get more).

Xmas decorations and wrapping paper from pound shop.

We lay low in Jan if we've overspent

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now