To be desperately miserable this time of year?

(26 Posts)
Fieryfighter Tue 22-Nov-16 09:52:18

The shops are full of Xmas gifts, tv is full of Xmas tv ads, people on Facebook getting super excited about Christmas and posting about all the Xmas shopping they're doing and I literally spend every day sick with worry about affording it all.

I struggle paying all my bills as it is and every time I have a little saved it goes on something vital. Car needs a service, still need to pay this month's council tax, have a friend's birthday and ds2's birthday coming up and lots of other little bits to pay.

Although I work I'm a single mum and receive nothing from my exh for child maintenance (own business, earns nothing on paper, been down CSA route to no avail) and although somehow I muddle through there's just never anything spare.

I'm very good at finding bargains, scouring sales, use hotukdeals, buy cheap bits as I go along and I'm selling stuff on eBay, basically doing all I can but every day I feel sick to my stomach when I think of all I still need to buy and I'm really frugal with presents i.e. £50 each on the kids, grown ups £10-20, but there's still food, tree, traveling costs etc.

I guess this is just a moan and wondering if anyone else is feeling the same so I don't feel so alone in this. I would LOVE to enjoy the run up to Christmas, I'm so envious of people who are full of excitement and able to enjoy all of it without spending at least a month sick with worry. I know I'll get through it and we'll have a nice Christmas but I so wish I didn't wake in the middle of the night full of worry day after day.

Fieryfighter Tue 22-Nov-16 09:54:04

ps I KNOW there are people far far worse off than me and I am thankful for what I have, I just wish I didn't worry so very much and would just like for once to enjoy the run up to Xmas

RebeccaWithTheGoodHair Tue 22-Nov-16 09:59:26

I didn't want to read and run but seriously you sound great, the amount of work you'll put in to make it special for DC is worth much more than people who can throw around hundreds without even thinking about it.

So often you read adults who remember their mum scrimping and saving to make Christmas special for them as kids, that always makes me feel so happy. That will be you in the future!

Fieryfighter Tue 22-Nov-16 10:07:43

RebeccaWithTheGoodHair I literally just burst into tears reading your post, I feel so fragile today I think I needed someone to say I'm doing a good job. It's incredibly hard slog doing Xmas on the cheap as I spend hours trawling the internet for bargains and hours going round shops finding offers. I can never just buy something, I'm always trying to save a few quid shopping around.

RebeccaWithTheGoodHair Tue 22-Nov-16 10:11:56

flowers for you lovely, hold that thought, you're doing great and your kids are so lucky to have you!

ShowMePotatoSalad Tue 22-Nov-16 10:19:30

All those xmas ads are just there to get us spending money. They aren't what Christmas is really about. Those ads are designed make us feel like we need to get those material things to be happy, and the truth is we don't.

£50 for each child is more than enough. Can you speak to relatives and explain you can't give gifts to them this year? Or get small gifts, spend less than £10. A book, or something nice like that.

You sound incredible. You are keeping a family going, you're providing. Be proud of yourself.

Babyroobs Tue 22-Nov-16 10:20:07

You sound like you are doing well on what little you have. we are lucky enough to not have too many money worries now but when my kids were younger I remember dreading the school Christmas fair coming round each year as it would cost a lot with 4 kids wanting goes on the tombola/ santa grotto / christmas discos etc and money was tight. There are lots of unexpected costs that you tend to forget about. Hope things improve for you soon. Fwiw I think it's a disgrace that so many absent parents get away with paying nothing, there must be something the government could do to address this ?

Leatherboundanddown Tue 22-Nov-16 10:21:00

You sound like a lovely mum and your children are so lucky to have you. How old are your kids? I am also a single mum and my dd is only 5 so Christmas presents are still quite affordable here but I know their wants get more extravagant as time goes on.

I plan my Christmas spending throughout the entire year so you are not the only one! I got dds stocking stuff in the sales after last Christmas and stored it in a little box. This sort of organisation and shopping around is a skill so don't be hard on yourself.

IDreamOfPeace Tue 22-Nov-16 10:28:29

It doesn't matter what you're spending on your kids because a present is a present to them. As long as they have something to unwrap they will be thrilled.

I grew up in a house where mum had no money and we didn't get the most expensive gifts for Christmas but we didn't care. We were happy as long as there was just one gift under the tree for us and mum was there to watch us open it, always with a smile on her face.

Christmas isn't about extravagance. It's about family and making lovely memories. You are doing a wonderful job for your family and your kids will see that. smile flowers

Fieryfighter Tue 22-Nov-16 10:30:34

My kids are 11 and 15 and bless them they don't want much, eldest is saving up for a memory card for his PC so only wants money but he still be fine with however much he gets. Youngest still likes toys so easier to find bargains for him and I've done about half the stocking stuff already thankfully.

It really is the peripheral stuff that mounts up as someone said above, things on at school, xmas parties (ds2 and I both do a sport together and he'd be gutted if we missed the Xmas party and ds1 has party for the activity he does. Oh and one of my closest friends has a birthday meal v soon.

Just seems endless!

I always do a budget for gifts and stick to it but you forget all the extras!!

TheHobbitMum Tue 22-Nov-16 11:23:43

I agree with the cheesy all wonderful ads, full of far too many (expensive) presents and food they are bollox. Very few people have that chocolate box Christmas and many people are in the same boat as you smile Your doing a great job and your kids will love Christmas! Give me a well thought out Christmas filled with love over a materialistic one any day. Try not get drawn into the image of a "picture perfect" Christmas and try to enjoy it, kids prefer time spent on them doing the small stuff like baking, carol singing, walks followed by hot chocolate, Christmas movies under a duvet and such. That is what they'll remember more than the boxes under a tree that are quickly forgotten and hardly played with smile

Dozer Tue 22-Nov-16 11:26:25

You sound like you manage things really well.

Perhaps just get friends and extended family a card and miss their bday meals out etc at this time of year - if they're decent they will understand.

ssd Tue 22-Nov-16 11:34:58

you sound so lovely op

I'm a bargain hunter too, things here really tight. I save up all year at the local credit union so I know the kids will have a good Christmas, maybe that would be a possibility for next year? Even a few quid a week adds up and for me its great as its in the next town so I cant just pop in and life the money I have there, I try to forget it and it builds up to something worth saving for.

thanks

Leonas Tue 22-Nov-16 11:45:02

For what it's worth, I didn't realise until adulthood how little money we had as kids. We always had wonderful Christmases although I see now how much of a struggle it just have been for my mum. It sounds very much like you have brought your kids up to appreciate what you can give them and they sound just lovely, as do you xx

Fieryfighter Tue 22-Nov-16 11:55:42

Thanks for all the nice comments, it's cheered me up no end, I'm so glad I posted. I had a real black dog depression this morning stressing about it all and it's really helped. Still stressing but not quite so down.

I meant to do the 365 saving challenge this year but totally failed but I'm going to get ON it next year and at least do that.

Chocolatecake12 Tue 22-Nov-16 12:39:47

I could have written your post. Please know you are not alone in how you feel.
I'm aware now that things are always much worse in the middle of the night. When it's morning somehow things seem a little bit easier to manage.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Tue 22-Nov-16 12:47:47

Please don't worry, OP. You're doing a great job and your DC will remember the happy times not the money. Let it go.

Money causes huge anxiety but as long as you're warm and fed, the rest is just gravy. The happy Christmas my DH spent with us, the year when my DC were small and DH was dying brought home to me that the only thing that really matters in this world is other people. You have that love so fear not. It'll be fine. flowers

HollowTalk Tue 22-Nov-16 12:50:55

I'm another thinking you're doing a fantastic job. However I think you're spending too much on adults - if you're broke you shouldn't spend £20 on an adult present - why can't you buy something for a fiver? And for your friend's birthday meal, I think you need to be honest and say you just can't make it.

Pettywoman Tue 22-Nov-16 13:01:09

I so understand OP. I'm not a single parent but I guess were classed these days as a JAM family. This time of year has me with anxiety in the pit of my stomach. We also have two kids whose birthdays fall at this time of year. Every January through to march we're so skint we're buying Lidl shopping on a credit card to eat and we really don't go mad with spending at Christmas. I hate the extended family buying us gifts as reciprocating is difficult and they won't stop even when asked.

You sound like a wonderful mum. I'm sure your kids love the Christmases you provide for them. Good on you.

AnneElliott Tue 22-Nov-16 13:10:57

Sorry you're going through a tough time op- and I agree that you sound like a lovely mum.

I know how hard it is to just keep going when you're skint. Luckily for us, it was just DH and I during the skint times.

Not got much advice to offer as you sound like you do the bargain hunt. The thing that I found most useful though was to gradually put a couple of pounds away each month to save for big bills like car insurance.

It really used to annoy me that we got charged for having to pay that monthly, and we put away £5 a month in an account, and after about 2.5 years we had enough to pay it off in one go. I remember that being a good day.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Tue 22-Nov-16 13:15:07

Not a single parent, but much older and have a fixed income. I used to be able to buy really lovely cards and wrapping paper and treat the family. I can't do that any more and it is tiring looking around, trawling through shops and websites for stuff that doesn't look like rubbish.

I know how much we have to be thankful for and I really try to hang on to that. In fact I'd be happy if I were just allowed to buy a present for my baby grandson.

Cranbrookornot Tue 22-Nov-16 13:18:12

My kids are 11 and 15 and bless them they don't want much, eldest is saving up for a memory card for his PC so only wants money but he still be fine with however much he gets.
Your eldest sounds absolutely lovely and a real credit to you. You have already given him the most important gift of all, the gift of a good upbringing. So please don't be depressed about Christmas. Look forward to it. Expensive presents never made anyone happy.

CondensedMilkSarnies Tue 22-Nov-16 13:25:29

I'm in the exact same boat as you Op . The pressure to make Christmas amazing is too much . I have a fab family who don't care what I buy them and DD is older now and understands I don't have much money .

But it's the tv adverts ( are normal people's Christmases really like that ?) people's endless posting on FB and the general having it shoved in your face that sends me spiralling .

I hate Christmas sad

CondensedMilkSarnies Tue 22-Nov-16 13:28:16

I have told some friends that I can't afford to buy them and their children presents this year . If they don't understand then they're not really friends .

Topseyt Tue 22-Nov-16 13:43:07

I could also have written your post.

I'm not a single parent, but money is always tight and we have to watch it. It has been better since I managed to get back to work after staying at home when the kids were small, but we will never be minted and there is nothing left over each month.

Much as you do, we muddle through to Christmas, and things have always worked out. The kids understand this, and they don't usually put anything wildly expensive on their lists.

You are not alone in finding this time of year irritating and difficult. I also think that the shorter and darker days don't help the mood either for so many of us. Personally I would rather hibernate until March, but I can't so I press on.

Plenty of us are in a similar boat to you, or certainly have been. Just carry on sourcing bargains here and there. It will mount up and the kids will be fine.

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