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Can't think of a title but how do I afford Christmas etc? - support group?

(31 Posts)
BlackCatinChristmasChaos Mon 12-Nov-12 11:35:52

Yes, I know I should have been saving all year but we have only just been managing each month without the added expense of Christmas.

Just got our energy bills through the post shock I am now panicking!

Advice please on how to spend less but still get through till January?
And any other helpful advice or links to threads?

Join here if you are also worried how to afford it all.

Be back later.


jenduck Wed 28-Nov-12 12:17:44

off blush

jenduck Wed 28-Nov-12 12:17:25

I was on this thread further up & mentioned the Tesco Clubcard voucher exchange. Well, today I got my DSes main (joint) Xmas present using this & I am really pleased! Toys are included in the exchange this time, so I exchanged £15 of clubcard tokens for £30 of vouchers, which came off the toy I bought, meaning I got a £60 toy for £20 (was also on special offer, £60 down to £50). I also got over £2 cashback going through Topcashback!

DSes are getting this then a few little bits in their stockings, such as books, dvds & games, all of which so far have cost no more than £1 apiece from charity shops & car boot sales. I reckon we will probably spend no more than £50 total on Xmas for both boys & I know they will be more than happy with what they get.

One final thing - Daily Mirror are tomorrow doing a £5 of £35 spend voucher for Aldi

racingheart Tue 27-Nov-12 20:03:31

I'd make a list of all the Christmassy things you can do for free or next to nothing: play Christmassy songs; go to a carol concert, listen to the Sally Army's lovely brass bands in shopping centres, admire city centre decorations. Make decorations together. Light candles or a fire. These are the bits children remember, not the mass of expensive and unnecessary toys.

Buy christmassy versions of food you'd normally buy. Do christmassy crafts. Make a gingerbread house (£2.50 from IKEA or Tiger.)

Go to 99p stores for chocs, Wilkos or online for stocking fillers and decorations, and Lidl for deli treats.

Fix a budget for each present and for the food and wine - doesn't matter how small, and see how far you can make it go. But stick to it. The fun is in stretching it a long way, not in exceeding it. Get onto freecycle now to request things. You can be specific, or if you are general (e.g. any good quality toys for a three year old) you may get luckier. Then spend some time making them look good as new. Bikes, scooters, loads of large toys like ELC shops and kitchens crop up on there. So do artificial Christmas trees and fairy lights.

Buy stuff in advance if you see it on offer. DH brought back fantastic gourmet sausages for 50p a pack the other day because they were on their sell by date. they went into the freezer for Christmas day.

BlackCatinChristmasChaos Sat 24-Nov-12 22:51:36

Hi all, didn't mean to just abandon the thread, we had a family bereavement last week so my mind was elsewhere.

Hoping to start thinking about Christmassy stuff soon though although it will be tinged with sadness to a certain extent.

I have paid my energy bills off so I just need to sort a budget for everything else.

Mum2Fergus Fri 16-Nov-12 14:07:15

Slightly random but just had the Tesco Everyday Value Christmas Fruit Cake, very cheap in comparison to others...and its delicious!

ontheedgeofwhatever Thu 15-Nov-12 21:38:49

Can you do surveys? Its not the quickest way of making money but I do Valued Opinons for vouchers and also one poll. Valued Opinons pay out when you get to £10 so you may be able to get a couple of vouhers between now and Christmas. One Poll don't pay until you get to £40 but they have surveys most days so it does mount up. May not pay out in time for Christmas but knowing you'll have an extra £40 coming in January may ease things?

BiddyPop Thu 15-Nov-12 16:20:41

Practical presents are good for kids - if they need new PJs or clothes, for example. Toothbrushes, socks, undies etc fill up stockings while being things that are useful.

There is a lot around Christmas that you don't need to spend. Make sure you have a nice meal (regular nice roast, maybe with a nice desert, could be jelly and icecream) but that doesn't have to cost loads. Bake goodies yourself rather than buying them.

Re-use decorations, and get kids to make paper chains, chains of snowmen etc using coloured paper and sheets of newspaper. Get them to make presents for each other and you and wider family - cereal box cardboard covered in paper and painted could make nice bookmarks, pine cones covered in paint and glitter are lovely tree decorations, little kids can make lovely decorations using handprint pictures etc.

Harness your own talents - can you sew, knit, paint, bake, etc?

And there are usually lots of free activities around the place to enjoy.

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 14-Nov-12 15:15:14

£56 would do us for two weeks in Aldi!.

We couldnt afford stockings when I was little (wine was affordable though hmm) so mum would cover boxes with christmas paper and it was like an aladdins cave full of treasure. I loved them.

jenduck Wed 14-Nov-12 14:42:07

Blackcat £56 for less than a week for food should be plenty! I spend about £100-£200 per month on food, cleaning stuff, everything. Try shopping late at night for reduced price fresh goods (meat, fruit, veg, bakery goods etc). Also Value brand products are usually fine!

jenduck Wed 14-Nov-12 14:39:15

Charity shops for presents. You can get new-in-packet ones, but you can also get some excellent secondhand toys for smaller DC. My DSes both had stockings pretty much entirely from the charity shop last year & each cost £20 tops.

Poundland - for tins of biscuits, books & toys for kids, smellies

Tesco clubcard voucher exchange - exchange your clubcard vouchers for double their value on many things

'Gift vouchers' for presents for adults - promises to babysit, cook a nice meal, give a massage etc

See if you have any points you can spend on Nectar card/Boots advantage card

Re-gift! That hairbrush set that Aunt Mavis bought you last year - are you ever going to use it? No? Know anybody else who might (different side of the family preferrably!)

BlackCatinChristmasChaos Wed 14-Nov-12 12:46:26

Just trying to re do that link incase anyone else would like that thread. x smile

BlackCatinChristmasChaos Wed 14-Nov-12 12:35:43

Hi butane I wish we could go back to DH being paid weekly as I used to find that easier to budget. He now gets paid once a month. I am unemployed but am attempting to do paintings to earn a bit of pocket money to keep us afloat. I sold one in October so I need to get cracking on another. It's hard to balance time though --needs to learn some time management skills--
We are a family of 4. I bought DD a couple of birthday presents today.
We have £56 to last till Tuesday (to buy any food we run out of) This should be doable ? Shouldn't it??

I will take a look at that link. Thanks thanks

butane123 Wed 14-Nov-12 09:46:21

hi again heres the link to my thread like i said some brilliant and cheap ideas for xmas presents xx

butane123 Wed 14-Nov-12 09:34:51

hiya we to have found our selves in a sticky situation this christmas due to dp starting a new job and working tax still messing us around with payments so at the moment were living of his weekly wage which is tough .
i have just signed up to park to start saving from january next year to ensure this doesnt happen again.i dont no how to do a link but my thread is called ideas for cheap christmas presents and theres some fab ideas on there and links to different threads and how to make your own playhdoh HTH xx

BlackCatinChristmasChaos Tue 13-Nov-12 21:11:28

spicandspan I like you'r idea about the stocking presents - buying stuff they need.

We never buy a whole turkey anyway so food shouldn't be a problem --as long as we don't run out of money--

I am trying my best not to spend at the mo but DD's birthday is next week and I will have to buy her a present.

We do shop at Aldi for our main shop but top up stuff from other shops too.

I have got a bit of savings if things get desperate so FX we should be o.k.

Bumblequeen Tue 13-Nov-12 17:14:41

Buy chicken instead of a turkey
Cook all meal items from scratch- so much cheaper
Buy presents for your dc only and explain your situation to your family. If you are having family around you can always get dc to open gifts before they arrive.

Badvocsanta Tue 13-Nov-12 16:57:12

I got ds2 a gruffalo toothbrush a and face cloth!

spicandspan Tue 13-Nov-12 16:51:00

For stockings, get stuff dcs NEED - toothbrishes, bubblebath, socks - but ones with characters etc on. Some chocolates, stickers, and maybe 'treat vouchers' - bike ridfe with dad, dvd night at home with homemade popcorn etc. Homemade biscuits are great gifts, maybe decorated by the dcs? Be honest with your family about what you can afford. They might feel relieved not to have to buy you expensive gifts too!

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 13-Nov-12 16:45:32

I suppose with vouchers at least you cant dip into them if times get bad. I have a lockable safe I can put my money in which I dont have the key for so I cant get to it unless DH is there.

Badvocsanta Tue 13-Nov-12 16:17:43

Hmmm...park vouchers...are they good? I like the idea of getting some John Lewis ones for next year...
I second aldi for gifts and xmas food/treats.

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 12-Nov-12 21:16:17

IME perfect christmasses are stressful.

Last year was perfect for me as it was just the two of us and I was in PJ's till 2pm.

Loveleopardprint Mon 12-Nov-12 20:08:48

Start looking in aldi, Lidl and pound shops. I got large Xmas pudding for £2.50 in Lidl last week.

Mum2Fergus Mon 12-Nov-12 19:17:50

For the past few years we've had the 'kids only' rule apply in our family too. I now only buy for DS, a niece and a nephew. Dinner is usually at my Mums to which I'll contribute a course or give her a gift card for Asda to help with cost.

Im not doing cards this year either, everyone knows this in advance.

If youre doing dinner start putting even just one thing away each week now to go towards it. Are your DCs of an age where theyll eat proper Xmas dinner? If not agree with DP/H to opt for a cheaper meal.

Check freecycle for decorations etc too.

mumwithtwokids Mon 12-Nov-12 12:42:39

One year I bought a big chicken instead of a turkey as I couldn't afford it. There weren't many of us but nobody could tell the difference. This year I have a christmas pudding which I bought in last year's christmas clearance for a fraction of the price.

My advice would be to only buy the necessary stuff, it's so easy to get carried away but just stay focused.

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