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Share with Barclays how you get through the festive season on or in budget and you could win £200 to help...NOW CLOSED

(135 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 22-Nov-13 09:21:46

The team at Barclays say "when it comes to getting honest reviews, we know who to come to. That's why we asked Mumsnetters how they find the Barclays Mobile Banking app. One thing that lots of people mentioned was how easy it is to keep an eye on what's going in and most importantly coming out of their account".

Take a look at one Mumsnetter's story here:

At this time of year, we all know it's more important than ever to know what you're spending. Even if you stretch your typical monthly budget, keeping an eye on how much is going where can help you make January a bit less of a shock when you get there.

With that in mind, and for your chance to win £200 John Lewis vouchers, Barclays would love to hear how you get through this time of year with as little stress as possible on your wallet. Last-minute pressies? Forgotten fancy dress emergencies? House-guests staying a little longer than planned? What are your foolproof ways of making it through the festive season without any nasty shocks to your bank balance in the New Year?

Add your comment(s) below and everyone who does will be entered into a prize draw where one lucky MNer will win a £200 John Lewis voucher. Prize draw 12 December at 12noon.

Thanks and good luck

NB: For Barclays Mobile Banking Terms, conditions & restrictions apply.You must have a Barclays current account and be aged 16 or over to use Barclays Mobile Banking

Maracas2013 Fri 29-Nov-13 13:53:52

I stay stress-free in the run up to Christmas by starting to think of presents well in advance, around October, and purchasing as many as possible by the end of November. I prefer to come up with something that I know they will really appreciate, than worry about whether I've spent enough on them.

MadMonkeys Fri 29-Nov-13 14:44:54

I buy presents in the previous years sales and spread the cost throughout the year. And I don't go overboard with the groceries! You see people with ridiculously full trolleys, full of heaps of alcohol/cakes/crisps etc and we have those things in moderation but there really is no need for everyone to stuff themselves with huge quantities of thesew things! Rant over...

EauRouge Fri 29-Nov-13 14:57:01

I don't get sucked in by all the marketing bullshit. Also I've set the bar low from the very beginning so the DDs don't expect loads of big, expensive presents. I set a budget and stick to it by planning ahead and not being distracted by 'bargains'.

Father Christmas only brings what will fit in the stocking so no being asked for big presents. He also doesn't bring live animals so a pony is definitely out.

RubySparks Fri 29-Nov-13 14:57:35

I have been putting aside money each month specifically for Christmas, I move as much as I can from my current account to a linked savi G's account at the start of the money so I can see easily see what I can afford to spend. We have another savings account for holidays/ big purchases and yet another for long term saving. Separating everything out really helps not to overspend.

GirlWithTheDirtyShirt Fri 29-Nov-13 15:05:36

We're terrible savers so we tend to rely on this like Black Friday sales and other offers to make our money go further.

gretagrape Fri 29-Nov-13 17:09:04

Use nectar points to pay for the big shop before Christmas Day.
People's names and ages of any children we buy for are kept in a diary so we can buy bargains throughout the year and not end up with 6 things for the same person by mistake!
Last year we used pregnancy as an excuse not to buy presents for people, this year we're using our 8mo as the excuse, so we've spent a grand total of £12 on one toy bought in a sale in August.
It's easy to get through without stress and pressure - just don't fall for the hype. That piece of tat made in China is only a "must have" because the shop has told you that and they've got 1000's to get rid of, and the day itself is just a big roast dinner with the family. Simple!

DixieWest Fri 29-Nov-13 18:06:03

Plan plan and plan. I aim to have all my Christmas shopping done by the end of November, and I can pick up any last minute bits in the Black Friday sales - it's worked this year. I like to spend December socialising and enjoying Christmas so it's nice to have the stressy bit out of the way. I thoroughly recommend putting money away throughout the year and using eBay to snap up deals - you can get loads of "new with tags" items on there, I've saved a fortune.

OneUp Fri 29-Nov-13 18:11:45

I try to buy my LO's presents secondhand, she's too little to know any different. I also make presents for family members I think will appreciate them.

lalamumto3 Fri 29-Nov-13 18:26:45

I write a list of all people I need to buy for and write the budget for them by the side, this really helps as you can add it all up before you spend the money and check you can afford before you spend. Then as buy I can try to stick to the budget, in realitity some presents cost a little more and some less.
Present money is in the current account, so no big credit card bills in January as you keep an eye on balance as you go along.
Try to keep food shop sensible by buying from a list, all nice food, but try not to be excessive, hate having to through away food that is past the sell by date.

WaitingForPeterWimsey Fri 29-Nov-13 18:36:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SuperScrimper Fri 29-Nov-13 18:51:27

I've bought the Christmas food here and there when its on offer since September. Also makes lot like the cake, pudding and even sauasges!

We are very honest with the children about what we can afford so they don't get their hopes up for things that are really not going to happen.

We made things like the door wreath, rather than pay £10 for something you can make for pennies. Same for table decorations.

Finally we have scaled our own expectation down. Actually Christmas doesn't need to look like something from 'Miracle on 34th Street' to still be good. Sometimes you get sucked in to the whole 'perfect' Christmas idea which is near on impossible to achieve and leaves you feeling like a failure! Once you let go you are actually a lot happier.

Steffanoid Fri 29-Nov-13 18:54:49

we try to be organised, plan presents we dont have a strict budget per person, we also try to do home made presents like fudge and alcohol or oils, I make sure to use offers we dont have people rpund but we go to other peoples like parents or in laws and always make sure to take thinhs and be considerate grin

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Fri 29-Nov-13 18:57:48

Erm...I only buy what I can afford. It really is that simple. I know how to say, 'No' and have taught my girls that we will all get something nice but we won't all get everything (or even half) of what we want! And we don't buy presents for adult relatives, other than parents.

And we save Nectar points to pay for Christmas dinner, rather than frittering them all year.

Theimpossiblegirl Fri 29-Nov-13 18:57:48

Have realistic expectations. You know what you can afford so make Christmas more about traditions and enjoying family time than a big spend fest if money is tight.

People always buy more food than they need, so shop sensibly and plan ahead.

Agree in advance with friends and family that Christmas is for the children to save money, or run a Secret Santa for the adults.

BeQuicksieorBeDead Fri 29-Nov-13 19:02:17

All good advice on here, thanks!

My top cheap tip is for Christmas nights out, particularly the big works night out. We always go somewhere with a horrendously expensive bar, which makes the night really expensive even if you paid for the meal months previously.

I buy a box of wine, whatever you fancy, and wrap it up like a Christmas present. Loads of ribbons and bows for authenticity. Dont forget to leave the tap exposed at the bottom, extra ribbon to disguise it. Hey presto! You can buy one small glass of wine at the bar and then treat your mates to cheap wine. I wouldn't do this at any other time of year, for example, wrapping up a wine box as a birthday present, because obviously these restaurants need to make a living... But at Christmas in a big cold marquee with my drunk boss dancing to Arctic Monkeys with his tie around his head, I feel justified.

wannabedomesticgoddess Fri 29-Nov-13 19:19:13

We don't buy for adults, instead this year I am making food hampers, with an xmas cake, chutneys etc. I shop in pound shops and home bargains etc for stocking gifts for the DDs and they are getting roughly £100 spent each on them.

We have already paid for the meat pack, my parents grow potatoes so we will get those free, and then extras like crisps/sweets/drink are all being bought bit by bit so its not a huge expense in dec. Its all paid for with savings from through the year, and then nov and dec pay. No debt because we don't have credit cards etc.

mrscumberbatch Fri 29-Nov-13 19:24:12

The only way for me to keep on top of it is to start making arrangements for it at the start of the year!

Disorganisedness costs money. And we don't have money so we can't afford to be disorganised!

I buy little pieces here and there as gifts and also decorations. Never just for the sake of it- but if I like it and its a bargain then I like it even more grin

I put a little bit of money away each month as well for things like food and all the extras. I refuse to get into debt every year just to keep up with the joneses.

I don't feel like we miss out on anything at all. We always have a lovely time. It's nice to hibernate for a few days and be family together. It is a lot of stress though to ensure that all bases are covered.

mrscumberbatch Fri 29-Nov-13 19:25:29

Also BeQuicksieorBeDead-that is hilarious! (And ingenious!)

BeQuicksieorBeDead Fri 29-Nov-13 20:07:18

I am sure they know I am doing it, I am probably not so subtle by the back end of the evening, waving my christmas present around and drinking straight from the tap... But they humour me, and I am sure they would humour other mnetters who take up the challenge!

As an extra tip, if you can't be bothered to wrap your wine box, gift bags are quite useful. Just shove some tinsel in the top so no one can see the Jacobs Creek label. Or the Tesco Silver Bay label, which is more likely with me, particularly at the wrong end of the November pay period!

mrscog Fri 29-Nov-13 21:34:06

I buy wrapping paper/tags etc. in the January sales and then put it in the loft for next year. I also pack away all the Christmas cards I received away with the decorations so when I come to write mine I have an easy reference of who sent them last year so I don't miss anyone I want to send a card to. We also pack away all the Christmas DVD's and books away with the decorations, it makes it all a bit more special and there's no digging around for them.

Money wise - plan plan plan, budget and don't go over budget. I have a rough idea of what I want to spend on each person and an overall total. If you've budgeted £10 but you find the thing you wanted for someone for £5 don't feel you have to 'top up the spend'. Very young children really don't need much, so you can save there, pad out older children's stockings with things they're going to need anyway - a more fun version of the normal bubble bath, character t shirts/vests, pads of paper, paints etc.

I also save up loyalty points for Christmas treats for us. Meal plan for the Christmas season, it's easy to get carried away but then just have way too much, especially if you're eating out/at other people's houses.

Buy some bargain wines and keep them in the rack for impromptu adult presents.

Boaty Fri 29-Nov-13 21:43:41

We only buy the food we need, Christmas Dinner plus usual meals, cheese and biscuits and a box of chocolates. We make a cake. We don't buy anything extra.
We only buy a bottle of wine to have on the day, DH has a small bottle of whisky and I have Baileys we have a drink a day.
We save clubcard points, nectar points, and we do shop and scan. These pay for the presents.
The last few years have been financially tight so I don't spend any more than I can afford.

KnitActually Fri 29-Nov-13 23:19:43

put the money for christmas in a seperate bank account and only spend from that one until 1st January. if it runs out, stay home and watch the telly smile HTH

CrewElla Sat 30-Nov-13 08:19:51

We try to buy little and often to spread out the cost, e.g. Buying stocking stuffers throughout the year when they're on sale. Don't spend what you don't have.

Tee2072 Sat 30-Nov-13 08:30:53

I write a list, set a budget, and stick to both.

I comparison shop all things, from the turkey to the crackers, to get the best value.

I stock up on things like wine when Tesco has their 'buy 6, get 25% off, including sale items' deals.

Same as with toys. I spent a week with the hell that was Smyth's recent toys sale website to get my son all his presents at a very very good deal.

Grown ups get very token gifts and I also make things, i.e. my MIL is getting a handknitted scarf.

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