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Seriously skint this year and need ideas please

(114 Posts)
Margaritte Thu 23-Oct-14 12:05:47

No idea how we are going to do Christmas. We have hardly any money.. Lots of brothers & sisters to buy for, nephews of varying ages, grandparents, parents & our 3 children.
I don't know how we are going to buy gifts, have a nice Christmas dinner (1st year we will be home too) what to do over the holidays instead of Pantomime etc.
I am not crafty at all, and also am have pnd that I am working through, so doubt I'd have the energy to sew etc.
Its making me worry quite a lot, and I wondered if any one had any tips/ ideas? Any advice would be lovely, as when I google 'cheap ideas' it comes up with hand sewn toys or 'budget gifts under £10' . Neither of these are something that is possible for me

scurryfunge Thu 23-Oct-14 12:09:59

Could you stop the spending on the adults? I'm sure you can be honest with them and say you just can't afford it this year.

Pootles2010 Thu 23-Oct-14 12:15:48

Don't worry about the craft - its a bit of a false economy imo, as you always spend more on all the materials and no one likes it anyway.

Speak to your family. I bet they will be relieved to not do presents this year either! If you really feel you have to do something, do a 'secret santa' with names in hat, and a limit - my sisters and I do this every year, with a £15 limit.

Things to do at Christmas - Church carol service, drive to see all the fairy lights?

zipzap Thu 23-Oct-14 12:24:11

Check out the Mumsnet Christmas Bargain threads which are already up and running, and have loads of bargains on them.

Current thread is:

However it's almost full so will be onto thread 13 soon (today I bet) - should be a link to it in the thread as soon as it's been created.

It has all sorts of bargains that people spot - mostly christmas-y but others slip in too. And time is on your side - there's still time to order things from China and for them to be posted as they are often much cheaper...

How about suggesting to your relatives a secret santa so that you could just get one present for a child rather than have to get lots of cheaper presents for lots of children (and adults too, with a strict budget of a pound or two?)

If you feel you must give something to adults then how about a lottery ticket or scratch card for a pound?

What sort of budget did you have in mind (either in total or per own child present or per nephew/GP/P/etc)

There was something in one of the papers about a reader offer of a turkey for christmas - not sure of the details but might be worth looking at online? Think it was the Mail or Express.

NinjaPanda34 Thu 23-Oct-14 12:24:11

Definitely do a secret Santa. We've done it between all the adults in our family with a £20 limit. For the meal, every year we do the turkey, but everyone else brings a side, a pud and a drink. Hope that helps, I think Christmas is getting ridiculously expensive every year, and it's just not needed. Family time much more important. But fire an email out now, before folk start their shopping smile hope that helps smile

zipzap Thu 23-Oct-14 12:25:49

Oh and is there a local senior school nearby that does a christmas play? When i was little we always went to see the play at the 'Big School' rather than go to a proper pantomine.

WhatAHooHa Thu 23-Oct-14 12:28:19

Don't do adult presents. Get nephews a token thing like... Xmasy mug from charity shop, filled with handful of marshmallows, sachet or two of drinking chocolate and a candy cane 'stirrer'. Wrap in cellophane, looks quite professional.
We have never done pantomime-type things at Xmas, just do what you'd do on a normal weekend/holiday. Extra baking can be fun, esp if you can let them make biscuits to decorate and hang on the tree. Making paper chains, snowflakes for the windows and other homemade decorations all fill up lots of hours!

workingmumto2 Thu 23-Oct-14 12:33:47

I know you said not crafty, but buy cheap vinegar (white wine vinegar is good), add various herbs / fruit / vegetables (whatever you have or is on discount at the supermarket - check online) and seal in hot bottles. There are loads of methods online, but that's the basic idea. Very cheap, add a ribbon and it looks pretty. Also gives quite a feeling of accomplishment for very little effort. smile

Margaritte Thu 23-Oct-14 12:51:10

Lots of great ideas, thank you. We probably have £50 for everything, by stretching the rest of our normal monthly budget, which is tight anyway (food shopping/ petrol/ pet food etc) So am on serious pennies. We normally have £50 per dc so a huge drop sad

Margaritte Thu 23-Oct-14 12:55:47

I'm also having a huge clear out and selling things on fb local pages, to raise ore money for Christmas, so hopefully budget will get larger. As it stands though, £50 is the budget for now.

Pootles2010 Thu 23-Oct-14 13:00:20

You're doing well to have realized that by now - normally people realize when its way too late. How old are your kids?

MizLizLemon Thu 23-Oct-14 13:04:18

For brother and sisters either secret Santa or just say as you're really short this year you've decided not to do adult gifts, I'm sure they'll understand. For the grandparents buy a couple of cheap pictures with nice frames from charity shops, find or take a good picture of your DCs and put in the frames.

For the DCs use the MN Christmas bargain thread and make use of pound shops and charity shops.

Instead of panto look for free local events or cheaper amateur shows, often more fun than expensive pro pantos anyway.

If you really need to get any adults gifts find cheap bits and pieces and wrap in cellophane with ribbons, this can make even the cheapest gift look expensive.

zipzap Thu 23-Oct-14 13:27:51

OK here's the new Christmas bargain thread - it's all shiny and new and ready for lots more bargains as well as having lots of links at the start with things that people have liked in previous threads...

Mama1980 Thu 23-Oct-14 13:30:31

How old are your children?

Margaritte Thu 23-Oct-14 13:33:04

I will have a look into the local events and amateur shows- sounds fun. My DC are in 12yrs, 5yrs, and a toddler.

I tried to look for the turkey offer zipzap mentioned, couldn't find anything about it though. Does anyone know details of it please?

Margaritte Thu 23-Oct-14 13:34:20

Thank you for new link zipzap

fuckthisforagameofsoldiers Thu 23-Oct-14 13:38:26

As a start I def wouldn't buy for any adults - we've done this the last few years and I really don't think anyone minds (apart from my mum who's a bit funny about it and still insists on buying for me and DP, so she gets a little token gift).

Christmas dinner last year we had the bird in a bird in a bird thing from Aldi / Lidl (can't remember which) which i think was a bargain at about £10 and it was lovely - there was also lots left over for sandwiches on Boxing Day etc.

CharethCutestory Thu 23-Oct-14 15:12:01

As I child, I'd always have preferred a happy-but-poor Christmas than lots of pressies but really stressed adults. I remember Nigella said once that her DM would have a nervous breakdown every Christmas, and that's her main memory though they must've been loaded.

So no practical tips I'm afraid, but don't underestimate the value of a happy Mum (god I hope that doesn't sound patronising/weird grin )

CharethCutestory Thu 23-Oct-14 15:14:19

Oh no I've just seen you've got pnd. Feel very blush Best of luck with it all, hope you're getting good medical/practical support.

anyoldname76 Thu 23-Oct-14 16:13:45

I would forget everyone else, spend 15 on each of your dc, small chicken and veg for Christmas dinner with the leftover money

Pootles2010 Thu 23-Oct-14 16:22:18

I think maybe an attitude of fuck em all might work well here grin

Batten down the hatches, do what is right for you, buy presents for your own kids, as any says - £15 on each child, rest on Christmas dinner. I think the ages are ideal actually - 12yr old is old enough to understand, 5yr and toddler generally happy with a cardboard box and couldn't care less.

Explain to your parents - I know I would rather get nowt for Christmas from my friends/family than know they were putting themselves into debt.

eastmidswarwicknightnanny Thu 23-Oct-14 16:35:30

I noticed in poundworld they had simpsons n family guy beer glasses boxed n plan to get a few of those n combine with a bottle aldi cider for 99p or nice big bottle beer dependant on who it's for to save a little money.

eastmidswarwicknightnanny Thu 23-Oct-14 16:36:53

Also for Xmas dinner last yr we had a corn fed chicken normally had rib of beef but again none was on offer n being money saving a nice chicken was better n nicer than Turkey for just the three of us

Archfarchnad Thu 23-Oct-14 16:41:57

Main tactics (most mentioned already):

1. Don't bother with presents for any adults (while making sure that people know not to buy you anything too, otherwise there might be resentment).

2. Check Freecycle as often as possible for good potential presents for kids. Would you/your DP have transport to pick stuff up?

3. Find a nearby town (might not be the closest) with a good supply of charity shops. Get someone to be with the kids all day and prepare yourself for a full day's hunting. Perhaps ask people beforehand which charity shops have good quality at low prices. The shop nearest my mum had pre-checked board games (eg Ker-Plunk) for a pound, for example. Children's books for 25p. The 12yo will be more tricky, as they're more aware of trends - but you can also explain to a 12yo much better that finances are tight right now. Perhaps say openly to 12yo, we have 10 quid, what would you really like for that?

4. Pound shops can be great for smaller presents for nieces/nephews etc.

Margaritte Thu 23-Oct-14 17:20:43

CharethCutestory Its ok.. I understand what you are saying, and agree with anyway. I am getting good support ( mainly thanks to MN actually)

So many ideas. Will try the charity shop one too.

Is it possible to have a Christmas dinner on this too? Like I said, am hoping to get some pennies from selling things, so possibly will have more.

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