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A Super Scrimping Happy Christmas

(74 Posts)
Margaritte Mon 12-Oct-15 07:28:16

I thought It might be a good idea to have a thread with hints & tips for those of us that are on a real tight budget.

Our budget for Christmas is practically nothing, in fact is actually £0 at the minute until I've sold more things and I'm sure I'm not the only one. It's a struggle, though I'm determined to make sure my family have a lovely Christmas regardless.

So come and share ideas, or things you have done yourself previously when in this situation. If you're in it now, then any plans yet?

Obviously, free or super low cost ideas are best here. Anything; making memories, free days out, gift ideas, Christmas Dinner, stocking fillers, how to see family on no budget, or anything else you may think of.

ihatethecold Mon 12-Oct-15 07:32:37

I think there was a thread the other day for homemade Xmas presents.
Don't know if that helps?

LibidinousSwine Mon 12-Oct-15 07:44:50

The year we were really on the bones of our arse we had a Christmas twig instead of a tree grin

It was a birch branch stuck in a pot of gravel and decorated as normal. DS was most disgruntled by it but I actually quite liked it. After Christmas we took it back to the woods and released it in the wild again smile

Hillfog Mon 12-Oct-15 07:56:50

We're having chicken instead of pricey Turkey. Crackers will be from 99p shop. We have a big fake tree in the loft from about 10 yrs ago so will drag it out again. Lots of craft stuff in cupboard so kids will make some extra decorations.
Food will be bought little and often with the weekly stuff. Husband works near Aldi so he'll be in charge of cheap drink.
Presents, not so easy. Got a few bits already, will just set a limit and stick to it. Only really buy for kids/nieces/godchildren now so using 3 for 2 offers etc.

JasperDamerel Mon 12-Oct-15 08:15:36

Decorations:
Go out and forage. Even in urban areas you can can find Ivy easily enough. Pine cones, conkers etc. In the past, I've also asked if I could take some of the off-cut Christmas tree branches from shops selling Christmas trees.

Paper chains and salt dough decorations are very cheap.

Big branch for a tree OR apparently if you go to B&Q on Christmas Eve, the trees are reduced to £1. I've never had the nerve to try it.

Presents:
If you can, go to charity shops/school Christmas fairs in quite wealthy areas. You will get good second hand pickings, eg last year I got a pair of walkie-talkies for 35p.

Look at the bargain threads for other cheap present ideas.

For food, Aldi/Lidl is the way to go. They have got some Christmas stuff (chocolate coins, Christmas cake and puddings etc) in now, so if you have one nearby you can a little bit each week, or start putting a bit of money aside now and do a shop later.

Chicken instead of Turkey.

Activities:
Collecting pine cones and making decorations together.

Baking biscuits (and hanging on the tree, giving them to family etc).

Museums, libraries, churches and parks often have free children's activities.

Go to the library and get a load of Christmas books out.

My extravagant spend, which might be out if your budget but is worth doing if you have £6 to spare, is the White Company Wi yet pot pour to oil. It smells utterly gorgeous, and the candles cost £25, but for 6 you can out drops of oil on pine cones or on a bag of rice on the radiator, and your house will smell like a luxury hotel.

girlywhirly Mon 12-Oct-15 09:23:12

Re-use existing decorations. Make paper chains from strips of wrapping paper and sticky tape the loops together as there are always leftover bits from present wrapping. Make 'snowflakes' from circles of white paper and cut to stick on the windows.

I agree, have chicken instead of turkey as it is much cheaper. Plan the meals that you will be having over the Christmas period, so that you can just buy the items that you need. Don't buy lots of bottles of drink on the off chance of visitors, very expensive outlay especially spirits.

Hunt out stocking fillers from bargain shops, and pop in items that will be useful such as bubble bath, toothbrush, hair slides/scrunchies, stationery items. I don't know if they will do them again this year, but Aldi had white chocolate reindeer at 79p each, and they were gorgeous. Look at the chocs and also the wines and beers for gift ideas. They had a couple of Christmas ales that my DH enjoyed too.

Buy things as you can afford them including long life food items.

Are your family a distance away, is there any chance that they could visit you, even before or after Christmas to save you the travel costs this year? Or could the travel cost to go to them be their present to you?

JasperDamerel Mon 12-Oct-15 11:55:38

Also, I don't know Imhotep old your kids are, but if are little enough to get used to a new tradition you could do what we do and have some of the stocking fillers be things that we already have. We always include finger puppets and kazoos to play with on Christmas morning and just use the same ones every year. I also often include a small toy that has been neglected a bit - finding it in a stocking makes it special again.

angemorange Mon 12-Oct-15 12:04:04

Our local butcher has a Christmas Club you can pay into to buy your Xmas turkey/ham/chicken/meat etc - he starts it at end August lol!

Xmas DVDs are usually cheap and good for rainy afternoons and to get you into the spirit. Make you own popcorn or pizzas and make it an occasion.

Last year I filled glass jars with LED lights (from pound shop) and the place looked more festive. pound shop also good for tinsel, sweets, decorations etc.

Make budget and try to stick to it - be honest with relatives that money is tight and gifts are only tokens!

Margaritte Mon 12-Oct-15 20:57:19

Loads of great ideas, thank you.

I'm hoping this will help everyone who is on a tight budget this year to get ideas for their Christmas. smile

RapidlyOscillating Mon 12-Oct-15 21:18:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lavent Mon 12-Oct-15 23:10:28

I'm going to get a small real tree and some cheap lights and the DC can make decorations and paper chains and snowflakes. No doubt they will receive lots of cards at school so plan on sticking these up to look festive!

I'm getting as much on eBay as possible this year. Preloved is definately the way forward!

I am also thinking very carefully about purchases (in general not just Christmas) and things have to have genuine play value rather than just random crap!

I haven't thought much of food yet but I'm probably just going to do a really nice roast rather than ALL the trimmings.

I am going to take the kids to visit a nice Father Christmas though as I think that is an experience I don't want them to miss out on.

ohtheholidays Tue 13-Oct-15 00:26:53

Well worth looking in Charity shops,all ready I've seen lots of Christmas decorations,some Christmas trees,wrapping paper and cards and quite a few lovely new items as well for sale in the charity shops near us.

If you think food might be a struggle this Christmas and can afford to stick 2 or 3 £ a week onto a supermarket savings card or get some supermarket saving stamps you could have £20-£30 saved up come Christmas.

If you have a Tesco card have a look and see if you can exchange your points for a nice day out,if it's something you could pre plan and hold onto it could be used as a really nice Christmas present for your LO's,OH or friend or family.

Collect up and use nectar points,boots points,superdrug points ect for Christmas presents.

Places like 99p shop,poundland and poundworld have some lovely little bits for stockings,I've managed to get some lynx shower gels and lynx body sprays for our 3DS stockings and I've picked up impulse body spray and impulse shower gel for DD12 stocking and frozen items,Doc Mcstuffin,Disney princess and Ariel the mermaid bits and pieces for DD8 stocking all from our local poundland.
I've also picked up some lovely books from there for one of my great nephews and great nieces,the books cost me £6 from there,they would have cost over£30 if I'd bought them full price from somewhere else.

NeverNic Tue 13-Oct-15 07:54:11

I've bought stocking bits from Lidl this year. Have a look at local churches for cheap / free Christmas events - like carol services or fetes. Do a lights tour of your neighbourhood. My son loves doing this. Light switch on in town. Countryside walk with flasks of hot chocolate. Nearly new sales for presents. Salvation Army concerts. Love hearing the brass instruments play.

MTWTFSS Tue 13-Oct-15 08:00:40

- Instead of buying wrapping paper, I go to B&Q and take loads of wallpaper samples and use that instead.
- Lush soap samples are great in stockings smile (they cut you off a small amount to try before you supposedly buy)
- With a free trial of Amazon prime, you also get a free trial to Amazon Prime instant video which has loads of children's TV/films, such as Mickey's Twice Upon A Christmas smile Why buy them when you can just watch them online for free for one month of the year smile

forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4071029 Free cinema- hopefully you might be able to get some tickets during the month of December smile

MargaretHale Tue 13-Oct-15 08:33:55

I saw a tip on here that said on Xmas eve the kids get a letter from Santa saying he's arranged a special film for them to watch (ie any Xmas film showing on TV- there's bound to be one!) rather than buying a dvd! I always thought that was a lovely way of making something ordinary a bit magical.

ohtheholidays Tue 13-Oct-15 08:59:53

Last year I did a treats hamper for 2 of my great nieces,I managed to get loads of Christmas sweets from Asda for really really cheap,they were all in date but had been knocked down to between 50p and £1,I managed to get about £40 worth of stuff for £15.It was about the begining December.

I've bought some really lovely unusal sweets for stockings in Wilko and home bargains they were all really cheap some were only 10p and our local b and m get quite a few American sweets,cakes and soda in,but they charge alot less than you'd find them in other stores,so far I've found American cereal(our children love the Lucky charms)twinkies,mountain dew, poptarts and different types of American sweets.

There's a bargain site for busy mums on FB that's really good and last year some of my friends went onto different sites online where you can send off for freebies,alot of them used some of the freebies they received for stocking fillers,they got free cuddly toys,little books,teething toys,different bits of make up,small perfumes ect.They all said the items they got were really good.

Toooldtobearsed Tue 13-Oct-15 10:01:31

We want to a car boot sale for the first time in donkey's years at the weekend and every second stall was selling children's toys really cheap - might be worth a look?
As an example, there was a silver cross doll pram in mint condition (the wheels showed it had been used), complete with all the bedding and a baby doll for £15. Someone was interested and knocked the price down to £10 - pic here.

We were amazed at the prices - so well worth a trudge around if pennies are tight.

KittyCatPumpkin Tue 13-Oct-15 12:01:16

just bought a gorgeous bracelet for £3.25, all money goes to a maasai tribe who makes them so even better. link is here here they have adult and child sizes

nickdrakeslovechild Tue 13-Oct-15 19:51:51

Margaritte have pm'd you.

R0nJ0n Tue 13-Oct-15 20:09:46

If you go on to eBay, run a search for something like stickers or pens or erasers or Braclets then set it to sort by "lowest price and p&p" you can often find some real bargains. My best bargain last year was some cat shaped post its for 6p, and I also got lots of stocking fillers for less than a pound. The only thing is as it all comes from china you need to order it by the start of November to make sure the order gets to the UK in time for Christmas.

Margaritte Thu 15-Oct-15 09:40:54

These are all such good ideas - will be doing as many as possible.

Are the samples free MTWTFSS?

DrasticAction Thu 15-Oct-15 09:48:41

If you think food might be a struggle this Christmas and can afford to stick 2 or 3 £ a week onto a supermarket savings card or get some supermarket saving stamps you could have £20-£30 saved up come Christmas.

^ or just shove it in a tin you cant open with our a can poener.

op lidl had some great food last year. goose 17 quid lobster..

EnglishRose1320 Thu 15-Oct-15 09:52:51

I don't know if all wh smiths have a bargain corner but our local one does and it has loads of books for between 25p and £1 plus a few other reduced bits like stationary etc

Vintagebeads Thu 15-Oct-15 09:54:44

No one needs new decorations every year,so if you have some there is no need to add to it.
Cut back your list I have two friends we were buying for each other and the kids,it was a small amount and a bit pointless,we decided to knock it on the head and meet for a Christmas drink.
We stopped buying for adults except siblings and only dn and godchildren.
Have a look at your list can you cull a few?
I

Margaritte Thu 15-Oct-15 10:04:59

Food is a big part of it. It's also the little things, like the decorations / tree / gifts etc. However, some really lovely ideas on here.
I'll be doing things like the natural decoration gathering, suggested a couple of times up thread. Will make a day of it, wrapping us all up for a long morning walk, collecting the pine cone etc. Then back for some lunch and a cup of tea, and an afternoon crafting what we found into Christmassy decorations smile

I'm hoping this thread might help others out with ideas too.

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