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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

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 16-Dec-13 11:34:18

Hello - thanks for all the tips and comments - am pleased to say jelliebelly has won the £200 JL voucher. Well done!

confusedofengland Mon 16-Dec-13 11:32:38

This is an especially expensive time of year for us, as DS1's birthday is 17th December & my Ddad's is 23rd December.

I do have a few strategies to get us through:

- Always buy Christmas paper, cards & decorations in the January sale. The DC are sending Cars, Princess & Thomas cards that were originally £5 at BHS but I bought for 50p.

- Stock up on pressies, especially for DC, throughout the year. We tend to have lots of birthday parties in November/December, too, so I buy lots of boy/girl/non-specific gifts & cards when I see them discounted throughout the year. This obviously only works if you have the storage!

- Make the most of special offers & loyalty schemes. Am going to use Tesco Clubcard boost for DS1's Christmas present, used Tesco vouchers for his birthday meal out yesterday & got DS2's present from Sainsbury's when they did 50%+ off, and used coupons at the same time.

- Have a little money in your budget to go food shopping on Christmas Eve: we have in the past stocked up on meat/veg/bread etc for the whole of January by going to Tesco just before closing on Christmas Eve smile

ataraxia Sun 15-Dec-13 10:44:03

I try to buy gifts with enough time for online delivery to save a bit of money vs. the high street. To cope with unexpected visitors/gifts, I either get things that can be easily returned if unneeded, or things that I would use myself.

FoundAChopinLizt Fri 13-Dec-13 22:12:41

Don't read magazines/watch programmes about The Perfect Christmas-it's an advertising wind up. Just get some thoughtful presents, even suitable vouchers, plan some great meals and enjoy spending time with loved ones.

BlackeyedShepherdswatchsheep Thu 12-Dec-13 22:48:06

I buy toys in the sales and from charity shops and books from the book people. these are stored until christmas or birthdays. food shopping starts early, with the long life stuff.

450fromPaddington Thu 12-Dec-13 07:22:41

Online shopping when you have young children is invaluable. Spreading your present buying over a few months makes December less hectic. Only do what you have the time to do in terms of preparation for Christmas, it's not a competition!

rachel19784 Wed 11-Dec-13 20:31:50

I try to avoid shopping with the children in tow whenever possible so do most of my christmas shopping whilst they are at school.
I shop online although I do love the fun and thrill of shopping in stores when you can touch, feel, try the product.
Make lists of what jobs, gifts you need to buy and take it one day at a time otherwise panic sets in and nothing gets done.If you feel like you are going to have a moment of madness, go for a quick walk, grab some fresh air or have a soak in the bath and turn the pessure of christmas off just for half an hour.

momb Wed 11-Dec-13 15:20:54

Everything is budgetted all year. Christmas is no different. I decide how much we shall spend on food, presents entertaning, entertainments and then go ahead and buy the advanced stuff: presents, christmas dinner, the unavoidables (school raffle etc ) and then we book in our guests and visits.
We are under budget again this year (though my budget has been higher this year than for the last 2). Last year I had a really small budget but used the same principles and everyone had a lovely time.
I have no qualms about buying second hand gifts for children/partners and for doing home made for those outside the immediate family.

TheDayOfMyDoctor Wed 11-Dec-13 13:01:44

It's all about the planning and being organised for me.

I start putting money away for Christmas straight after our summer holiday and start tracking amazon prices on camel camel camel and keep an eye out for special offers, sales etc. I always start shopping early and try and get most things bought by the end of November.

I accumulate nectar points all year round to cover the christmas shop, credit card loyalty points are converted to amazon vouchers once a year and I always try and use top cashback and then cash it once a year (can also convert to amazon vouchers or m&s).

Make and freeze as much as possible in advance.

I usually buy extra shower gel, toothpaste etc in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The shops might only be closed for one day, but I don't want to have to make a trip to the supermarket because I've run out of some essentials.

Always buy extra bottles of prosecco (when on offer) and chocolates - you always need something for someone you didn't realise you were going to see over Christmas.

My lifesaver is my Christmas notebook - I keep my Christmas card list there, note any presents as they're bought (and can refer back to last year) and save menus, recipes etc in it which I can refer to each year.

I try and get wrapping done and cards written early in December.

That said, I always have a few last minute things to do - but it adds to the festive fun!

LegoCaltrops Tue 10-Dec-13 20:45:09

I switched to Barclays nearly a year ago & love the app! I find it a massive help to be able to check my bank balance at any time, pay bills & see what's come in & gone out.

We generally try & keep to one small present each for the adults, & spend more on the children in the family. Homemade gifts alongside a bought gift are also good, eg I usually make a big batch of fudge, some pickles/preserves, & maybe knit a hat/scarf/mittens in an indulgent wool , although that may be the main present, depending how expensive the wool was. It's still cheaper & nicer than anything I could afford to buy.

I save loyalty points, vouchers etc to spend on Christmas/birthday presents. Thankfully DD is too young for a stocking this year, but I think next year I'll have to start shopping for stocking fillers early so I don't run out of funds.

I make the Christmas cake, mince pies etc. We buy a joint of meat ahead of time when we can get it on offer, & freeze it.

We start our Christmas present shopping early, to spread the cost. The downside of this is that it's easy to forget what you've got, & overspend - so I keep a list of what I intend to buy & what I've bought, & how much I've spent. I find it's helpful to have it down on paper so I can see how much I've already spent, it helps to curb the urge to buy 'just one more thing'.

DoctorGilbertson Tue 10-Dec-13 20:23:37

ooooh, I've got another one. Save your kids "art" from during the year and then give it to relatives as gifts.

DoctorGilbertson Tue 10-Dec-13 20:22:36

One nice thing for Christmas this year is that I got our plastic tree from last year out of the box where it has been living all year and we had a nice festive time at the start of advent putting up the tree at no cost.

Also, if you don't mind religion churches often do really lovely (and free or very cheap) Christmas craft activities for kids.

mindingalongtime Tue 10-Dec-13 17:56:09

We go away, 20 Dec - 5th Jan, so no presents for each other, all the offspring are adults so they get cheques as they live abroad. We have a fab time and save a lot of money!

CaramelisedOnion Tue 10-Dec-13 17:50:41

I buy little by little starting in late October/early November and try to maximize the use of coupons, offers and deals. I scrabble together extra money wherever I can selling stuff on eBay, life modelling and every day I check gumtree for one off jobs. I also put away a little bit of money throughout the year. It's a struggle but somehow I manage! I do not take out loans or credit cards though as I am very afraid of debt.

cheshirekat1 Tue 10-Dec-13 12:39:55

Like many above, I don't go mad and get sucked by marketing and sales/deals which aren't necessarily the best deal. I shop about for things and set budgets for presents and stick to it. One thing that really helps is that we have limited who we buy for so not frittering £5-10 here and there easily... I'm also trying to hand deliver as many cards as possible! It all adds up!

Turnipvontrapp Mon 09-Dec-13 22:33:10

Don't buy ridiculous amounts of food - its only 1 day!

Buy online, usually cheaper.

Don't send cards.

janeyh31 Mon 09-Dec-13 20:47:02

I have been using tesco clubcard points saved throughout the year to buy presents & food which help stretch the budget further. I also try to buy a few bits for presents throughout the year and put them away. I have also been buying the odd extra food/ drink item and putting it away. It all helps :0)

Lotty8 Mon 09-Dec-13 15:45:30

As with many things in my life, sticking to a Christmas budget is all about LISTS!!!

Present ideas and budget per person which is updated each time things are bought!
The same for food and treats for us which are bought over time.

We've put together hampers for some of our presents this year - loads cheaper than buying them premade and you can make your own of some stuff smile

Geniene Mon 09-Dec-13 14:39:33

I plan early then buy things as early as Aug/Sept, I also start with the little things as these are presents which usually end up being expensive if you panic buy in December.
If I'm buying a childs birthday party present early in the year and they have deals on I tend to buy something for one of my children to stash away for Christmas while I'm there.
I write lists too, lists everywhere, what to buy for who and rough costs.
This helps keep a check on what I'm spending.
But then it's fun to go a bit crazy mid December, nothing better than leaving a shop with lots of lovely full bags smile

nobalance Mon 09-Dec-13 13:24:09

Simply try not to go crazy. No vast mountains of presents or food, just a few nice treats. Its very easy to be led to believe you need to keep spending unnecessarily!

THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Mon 09-Dec-13 13:06:38

I always buy a few boxes of chocolates because you can guarantee there will be one person you have missed out.

On a budget-note, well here are my tips:

I scour ebay and for sale groups on Facebook for good second-hand gifts. For instance this year I got a DeLonghi coffee machine still boxed for dh for £15 and a brand new jumper for him for a fiver.

Making your own little chocolates and sweets are fun to do and don't cost much either.

I save points on supermarket loyalty cards all year and then spend them at Christmas.

I am also guilty of saving unwanted gifts from last year and using them as gifts for others.

Make a list - lists are handy so you know exactly what you are buying each person. Then do your research to get that gift as cheap as possible.

If you have a Christmas budget then stick to it. January's a bad enough month without starting it in debt.

If you save money on a gift don't be tempted to buy another gift just to bring it up to budget.

Homemade gifts really are better than some tat you might pick up which won't be appreciated. Bake a Yuletide log or make your own flavoured vodka with real fruit.

Local hampers are also good. You can buy your own boxes or baskets and fill it up with local produce from the farmer's market. Finish it off with some ribbon and you've got a lovely hamper for less than half the price it would have cost.

sealight123 Sun 08-Dec-13 21:09:54

I try to buy everything over the year rather than all at once in December or I majorly stress out lol

Me and my partner don't buy each other gifts, unless they are joke/very very small, we focus the presents on my daughter, our parents and our sisters, as at the end of the day, christmas is all about family!

We stock up on deals when we can and put them away in the christmas cupboard, we shop around for the best prices and I do a lot of homemade gifts for that personalised touch.

I also enter competitions, it is never a sure thing and to be honest can be rare, but when you do win, it's something towards christmas...and it's rather exciting too smile

FutureMum Sun 08-Dec-13 20:19:09

I plan present buying in advance (at the previous year's sales) and buy stuff that I know friends and families will like when it's half price. I keep it in a chest of drawers and I open this and look in the run up to Christmas. Any presents that I do wrap for Christmas, I write them in a list, so when I end up going to be stocking fillers etc I can carry the list with me. I then remember what I have bought and don't end up buying too much or panic buying. Also any unwanted Christmas presents I can recycle as presents for other friends and family throughout the next year. Works every time to keep your costs down!

MrsClauswearsspanx Sun 08-Dec-13 16:01:54

This year we put £5 a week aside every week until October. We put that into my Barclays saving account, actually!

I'm not adverse to buying used "good condition" Dvds and books on Amazon. I bought my DS a dvd he badly wants for 42p on there.

I regularly lurk and occasionally post on the Christmas Bargains thread here.

I also collect Boots points, Nectar points, Co-op card money, and Tesco clubcard points alllll year. Usually this means my and my DPs pressies are free!

LauraTrashley Sun 08-Dec-13 12:09:47

I buy gifts throughout the year but I still make sure it's something the person will appreciate. There's no point buying lots of 'bargains' if I just end up with a pile of tat and no idea who to give it to!

In January I put a set amount of money in an envelope, I tend to hibernate then so am not tempted to waste money in the sales, hence having a bit of spare cash. Then each following month a smaller set amount of money goes into the envelope, if I'm having a flush month extra might go in.

By the end of August I have enough saved to pay for Christmas and I start to ramp up the shopping. By November it's all done smile apart from the fresh food.

It may sound over the top to start planning twelve months in advance every year but I disagree that Christmas is 'just one day', for me it's the build up to it as well. I can enjoy the festive atmosphere knowing I'm not getting into debt to pay for it all.

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