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What do you cut back on?

(40 Posts)
UndertheCedartree Sat 11-Aug-18 18:45:55

We're on a particularly tight budget this year so wondering what things you cut back on while still having a lovely Christmas.

I tend to focus very much on the DC and the things they care about. I don't buy a lot of new decorations - just a tree one for each of the 2 DC and maybe a couple of other cheap bits. I use a lot of pinecones and nuts that we have anyway and things I bring out every year. I let the DC decorate the tree so not worried about it looking perfect!

I also don't buy gifttags, bows or ribbon. Just use cheap wrapping paper, reuse giftbags and stickers to write names on that I have loads of.

For presents most family get a token gift except my nephew and those with DC I only buy for the kids. DP and I will only spend a small amount on each other so we can get nice things for the DC.

Goldenphoenix Sat 11-Aug-18 19:55:54

I think it would be easy to economise on food but know some people think Xmas dinner is sacrosant. You could have a couple of chickens instead of turkey, cut down on booze and chocs etc?

I don't spend a lot on pressies anyway but in your position would defo cut down on pressies for other adults in your family if you buy for them, or even agree to do away with them altogether. My kids are young so not under pressure yet to buy them expensive gifts luckily but just ask them to be realistic and buy from ebay etc where you can!

UndertheCedartree Sat 11-Aug-18 20:32:08

Thanks for the ideas, phoenix. Myself and DC are vegetarian anyway so will just get a small chicken for DP. We do all like the trimmings but could cut down on alcohol. I'd rather just have a bottle of Baileys or Disarrano for the evenings and a bottle of Bucks Fizz for breakfast and not bother about wine with lunch. Could possibly cut down on some of our sweet treats too.

My DC are pretty good about presents - the eldest generally only asks for a game for his console and while the youngest wants everything under the sun - she understands she won't get everything. The thing that usually lets me down on stickimg to budget is Christmasy impulse buys in the couple of weeks before Christmas!

SavannahSky Sat 11-Aug-18 20:49:43

No longer buy

Nuts to crack
Tree chocolates
Xmas crackers
Foil decorations/fake snow
Xmas cake
Xmas themed loo/kitchen roll
Baileys
Sherry
Advent calendars
Selection boxes
Xmas theme nightwear
Table centrepiece
Window decorations
Poinsettias
Christmas cards
Christmas socks/clothing

Drop something each year and just don't buy into all the hype for something to use for just 2-3 weeks. Youngest is 10 now and likes his family here and his dinner!!

UndertheCedartree Sat 11-Aug-18 21:07:57

Thanks, Savannah. I don't buy a lot of those things anyway but could try cutting a few more out. I think I'll not buy Christmas cake because I'm the only one who likes it, really.

I don't think the DC would be happy not to have Advents but my mum often buys them so hopefully she will this year! I might skip crackers this year and a poinsietta. FC always puts Christmas socks in their stockings but to be fair they wear them all year round!

I think we'll get one bottle of Baileys but no other alchohol. And I think the DC would be dissapointed without selection boxes. But it's a good list to make you question if you need eveything you buy every year for the sake of it!

SnuggyBuggy Sat 11-Aug-18 21:14:44

I'd be tempted to buy anything that doesn't have a shelf life if you see a good deal earlier in the year.

Foodwise you could try making some things yourself, I have a really cheap stuffing ball recipe that freezes well.

We also have a family tradition of using last year's Christmas cards to make gift tags.

DelphiniumBlue Sat 11-Aug-18 21:18:34

We don't have Christmas cake as none of us like it.
I get really cheap crackers ( about 3 pounds) because I've realised that all contain tat that no one really wants, even if you pay upwards of 20 quid a box.
We don't buy many people presents, and have a limit for those we do get for.

Xenadog Sat 11-Aug-18 21:37:04

Do your your Christmas week food shopping at Aldi or Lidl. Start now by buying one thing for Christms each week in your weekly shop. My mum always uses to do this so that when December arrives she wasn’t scratting around to pay the bills. Try buying saving stamps for a supermarket - a couple of pound a week or alternatively saving a couple of pounds each week in a jar.

With the adults in your family, rather than buy a lot of token gifts , get everyone to agree to do a secret Santa for a budgt which suits. This makes things a lot easier an dos stressful.

I don’t only get one Christmas tree as well.

Methenyouplus4 Sat 11-Aug-18 21:47:11

Buy alcohol/food from Aldi/Lidl.

Buy second hand gifts from ebay etc.

There are loads of cheap decorations you can make with pinecones/ dried Orange slices etc.

Fabricwitch Sat 11-Aug-18 21:52:01

Christmas crackers are such a waste of money angry but you can make your own if DC like them.
You could suggest doing a secret Santa with your own siblings, and one with your DHs siblings, and any other groups of adults you given token gifts to.

Fabricwitch Sat 11-Aug-18 21:54:32

Snuggly We always do that with last year's cards too grin

Bumbumtaloo Sat 11-Aug-18 22:11:53

We were on a tight budget for a few years and even though our finances have improved a bit I still mostly do the same as I did before.

I save the supermarket loyalty points - we tend to shop at Morrison’s and get a £5 voucher for 5000 points. Because I do my Christmas shopping (well all shopping online) I haven’t converted them to use yet and will do so when I do my Christmas food shop. I already have £40 that will come off the food shop.

I don’t buy crackers or a lot of the Christmas food - Christmas cake/pudding, dates etc

We don’t drink so buy no alcohol

I use park savings - I know a lot of people are against/don’t like doing it but it works for us. In October I will have £400 paid out to me. It works for me because it’s a regular ‘bill’. I use the money for the rest of the food shop and the last minute present the DC ask for and if not spent it’s a nice buffer to put into our savings - I will use the voucher and transfer the money to our savings account- and use when needed.

I buy all presents all year round. As and when I see a good deal I buy them. I do use Argos 3 for 2 on toys but I do monitor the prices and only buy stuff that has not gone up in price because of the 3 for 2. I also never buy anything until I can compare to other shops. If stuff is not in stock in my area I check to see if it’s in stock where MIL or one of my closest friends live, if so I will pay for it online and they will collect the item for me.

We only buy presents for our DC, grandparents and friends children. The past two years me and DH have started to buy for each other - when I say buy for each other I mean we get stuff we actually need and be buying soon anyway.

I don’t buy new decorations, we do make bits and bobs but try not to spend anything.

Our eldest DD has a birthday 3 days after Christmas so I have to allow for that in the budget too.

tigercub50 Sat 11-Aug-18 22:24:31

Homemade crackers
We don’t drink so save loads on booze
Charity donation instead of sending cards. I got really silly with that, sending cards to people I saw all the time. Now I send only to family plus friends that I don’t see or I donate to a charity.
Cut down on extras - I used to buy all sorts of sweet stuff & it just got left. Now we have homemade mince pies, chocolate coins & maybe a tin of something like Celebrations.
We don’t send presents to the kids in the family once they reach 18

SavannahSky Sat 11-Aug-18 22:26:59

Don't do a Santa sack anymore either

Limit presents to a main present and just 5 smaller stocking filler type

I don't buy Xmas music/DVD's

Bumbumtaloo Sat 11-Aug-18 22:30:35

We only buy cards for the DC’s school friends and my dad - my dad has a huge thing about cards, not sure why - and I buy them in the January sales. It really annoys me how much cards are if you buy them in the run up to Christmas but just how much they reduce them in the days after Christmas.

MadameJosephine Sat 11-Aug-18 22:38:27

I don’t sent cards to anybody, waste of money. If I get one I say thank you and ask the giver please to not be offended to not get one in return.

I limit the list of people I buy for - my kids, my parents, my DB, his wife and his son and that’s it. I don’t tend to get involved with secret Santa stuff at work either

Lots of home made stuff, DD loves making decorations and baking gingerbread etc.

Snoopychildminder Sat 11-Aug-18 22:45:19

I start buying booze now (from Aldi)

I don’t buy;
Christmas cards
Napkins
Chocolates (we get gifted loads)
Christmas cake/pudding
Christmas wreaths/pointsetta

We also get a lot of our veg from my grandads garden. He also gifts us his homemade chutney and pickes hamper every year so that’s that covered.

I also do a complete haul of old toys, sell them on local fab pages (If they are in a sellable condition) and then use that money to get stocking fillers for dd from tiger

Alanamackree Sun 12-Aug-18 09:32:28

We had a unexpected skint Christmas that transformed how we do it and gave us lovely traditions and memories.
I had a chat with everyone to find out what their favorite part of Christmas was, and what food they loved, and used that to create my map of Christmas.
I reuse decorations each year, and cracker fillers (I make the crackers with the dc), and some of our traditional Christmas activities are crafts (saves on the cost of outings and gifts and decorations at once) where we make snowflake decorations out of paper, turn the fridge into a snowman and bake cookies as gifts.
Adults, who are reasonable, get home baking as gifts if we’re skint. I do have a few who “need” expensive giftshmm so I would watch the bargain threads here.
The school parents usually get together to collect a few quid for teachers so that’s not bad.
I get cards and gift wrap in the sales (and gifts occasionally) but Pinterest is your friend if you want to get arty with newspaper or brown paper.
DH gets a few gifts at work so I don’t buy goodies until the last minute and we bake a fair bit too.
I shop for Christmas from October, off a list, which lets me take advantage of bargains. And ensure that I have all the basics; sounds daft but buying toilet paper in the local convenience store 5 mins before it closes on Christmas Eve is the sort of thing that adds to the cost.
I’m a fairly good cook, and learned loads from my granny who “made-do” in tough times so I don’t feel a need to spend a fortune on Christmas dinner.
I enjoy being able to splash out on the good years so the extra money gets spent on gifts, and charity donations. But I would never go into debt for Christmas, or strain ourselves.
My priority would be dc gifts. When small it’s easy to manipulate the dc into choosing something reasonably priced as a main gift. When they’re older they understand that they can’t have the most expensive thing ever.
If I’m hankering after decorations, new lights etc I say that I’ll buy it for the following year. It’s amazing what you no longer want if you can out wait that initial urge to splurge, or what looks tacky and cheap in the sales!

fromtheshires Sun 12-Aug-18 09:56:44

For food, go to Iceland. You can buy it now and most of the day to day stuff like carrots and peas are a £1 for circa 1kg. A bag a week for a few weeks and you have all your veg. I tend to find their meat a bit ropey compared to other shops but for frozen fish and veg etc it's great.

Instead of wrapping presents for the kids year on year, see if you can grab a couple of cheap hessian sacks and sew coloured ribbon on it so you know who has each bag. Short term higher payout but longer term savings. My parents stil do this for my brother and I after 20+ years. The kids can then close their eyes and pull a present out.

Cut back on how many presents you give. You don't say how old the eldest is, but I imagine if he wants a console game his is old enough to know that money can be tight so it may just accept a game plus somother small items like sweets, smellies etc. Be up front with him on a limit. older kids generally understand and are reasonable. Don't buy for each other.

Dont feel pressurised into doing something because it's the norm. Yes there are parties etc to go to, but that eats into your cash that you may be saving for Christmas to spend on your family. Just say there are clashes in your schedule. A meal and drinks out when I got out easily comes in at £50 a head in December because places put up their prices.

Alanamackree Sun 12-Aug-18 10:03:18

One more thing to add: I keep track of everything so I have lists of what I need to buy, what I’ve budgeted and what I’ve bought. I add it all up so I can see how much it all costs, even though some of the costs are spread out over the year. Not kidding yourself about what you spend is the first step to saving money!!!!

HRTpatch Sun 12-Aug-18 10:05:16

I only buy for dh and dcs.
Stopped buying for other family members years ago.
I don't send cards.
Nobody likes cake, mince pies or other traditional stuff....I never cook a dinner either or get myself in a frazzle.
I am not on a budget ...but have always played down Xmas. I'd rather have fun all year, not just one day when everyone else feels they should be.

Bumbumtaloo Sun 12-Aug-18 11:38:08

I also use an app called manage Christmas for the presents, I find it helps me not only keep track but keep the costs right down. When I see what I’ve bought in black and white it is more real than keeping track in my head.

duvetfan Sun 12-Aug-18 12:07:09

We try and spread the cost of the food so buying the tubs of chocolate/crisps early when they are on offer and putting them away. We do Xmas breakfast for family, it used to be a buffet with egg, smoked salmon croissants etc, now it's a roll and sausage and a mince pie/aldi stollen. We only have a chicken and trimmings, all value veg prepared by us so much cheaper than pre prepared. The kids get jelly and ice cream (they don't like puddings of any kind) and we buy small sharing dessert for the 2 of us. This year I am not buying boxes of biscuits or shortbread as every year they get forgotten about and cut back on the tubs of chocolates as I put them out for guests and don't get eaten. This year I am also not buying cheese as I'm the only one who eats that and I am trying to lose weight. I buy cheap wine and fizz from Aldi. I bought Christmas Crackers in the January sales along with wrapping paper etc. Not sure if any of these are things you can cut back on but it's helped us. I also do my Christmas shop at Aldi after Sainsburys and Morrisons both failed miserably and went on an emergency dash to Aldi on Xmas eve and it was great...

PerverseConverse Sun 12-Aug-18 13:11:27

I like the sound of that app smile
We don't tend to buy that much extra food-wise. We are veggie so have a big plate of roast carrots, roast parsnips, peas, roast potatoes, mash potatoes (for the children), cranberry sauce, stuffing balls and Yorkshire puddings with gravy. We do t bother with pudding or cake. I used to love a Yule log but the children would be happy with ice cream so that's a staple freezer item anyway. The children like pancakes for breakfast but are happy with toast or cereal. I get shloer and will buy coke and lemonade as a treat. I get Aldi's baileys equivalent but no other alcohol really. Once the tinned chocolates start appearing then I start buying them and hiding them. Same with M&S boxed biscuits. In the past I've bought "special" food and always been disappointed so I don't bother much now. Might get some cheeses but there's only me who'll eat them.

I buy Christmas crackers in the sales but didn't get any last year.

A real tree is my one Christmas luxury that I refuse to do without. I might buy a new ornament this year but more likely to make some.

We keep it pretty simple, no one visits us so no entertaining costs, just family time and traditions.

Maybe we are just boring though!

UndertheCedartree Sun 12-Aug-18 16:09:18

Thanks for all the ideas!

I'll definitely be checking out Aldi/Lidl for Christmas treats and will give their own Baileys a go. Great tip to buy something every week which will spread the cost. I'll look in Iceland for their veggies too.

The children are 6 and 11 and pretty good at being happy with what they get - some years more than others but they are never dissapointed. I am going to stick with getting them one main present and one smaller aswell as their stocking from FC. They will get presents from their dad, my DP, grandparents and their uncle so will still get plenty! I also do a Christmas eve box and planning on some bubble bath, christmas cups (should be able to get from pound shop), hot choc and popcorn. They still have Christmas onsies that fit and I often get Christmas books and dvds but they already have tons already so no need for anymore.

I'm also planning to cut back on the Christmas tree. We usually get a 5 or 6ft. But will just get a small one this year and put it on low table which will make it look bigger!

I won't be going to any Christmas events either - I'll keep my money to take the DC to see FC. I usually take them to a pantomime but I'll suggest it as an idea for one of the grandparents to take them.

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