This topic is for paid for discussions. Please mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to know more about how they work.
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)
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
I switched to Barclays nearly a year ago & love the app! I find it a massive help to be able to check my bank balance at any time, pay bills & see what's come in & gone out.
We generally try & keep to one small present each for the adults, & spend more on the children in the family. Homemade gifts alongside a bought gift are also good, eg I usually make a big batch of fudge, some pickles/preserves, & maybe knit a hat/scarf/mittens in an indulgent wool , although that may be the main present, depending how expensive the wool was. It's still cheaper & nicer than anything I could afford to buy.
I save loyalty points, vouchers etc to spend on Christmas/birthday presents. Thankfully DD is too young for a stocking this year, but I think next year I'll have to start shopping for stocking fillers early so I don't run out of funds.
I make the Christmas cake, mince pies etc. We buy a joint of meat ahead of time when we can get it on offer, & freeze it.
We start our Christmas present shopping early, to spread the cost. The downside of this is that it's easy to forget what you've got, & overspend - so I keep a list of what I intend to buy & what I've bought, & how much I've spent. I find it's helpful to have it down on paper so I can see how much I've already spent, it helps to curb the urge to buy 'just one more thing'.
It's all about the planning and being organised for me.
I start putting money away for Christmas straight after our summer holiday and start tracking amazon prices on camel camel camel and keep an eye out for special offers, sales etc. I always start shopping early and try and get most things bought by the end of November.
I accumulate nectar points all year round to cover the christmas shop, credit card loyalty points are converted to amazon vouchers once a year and I always try and use top cashback and then cash it once a year (can also convert to amazon vouchers or m&s).
Make and freeze as much as possible in advance.
I usually buy extra shower gel, toothpaste etc in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The shops might only be closed for one day, but I don't want to have to make a trip to the supermarket because I've run out of some essentials.
Always buy extra bottles of prosecco (when on offer) and chocolates - you always need something for someone you didn't realise you were going to see over Christmas.
My lifesaver is my Christmas notebook - I keep my Christmas card list there, note any presents as they're bought (and can refer back to last year) and save menus, recipes etc in it which I can refer to each year.
I try and get wrapping done and cards written early in December.
That said, I always have a few last minute things to do - but it adds to the festive fun!
Everything is budgetted all year. Christmas is no different. I decide how much we shall spend on food, presents entertaning, entertainments and then go ahead and buy the advanced stuff: presents, christmas dinner, the unavoidables (school raffle etc ) and then we book in our guests and visits.
We are under budget again this year (though my budget has been higher this year than for the last 2). Last year I had a really small budget but used the same principles and everyone had a lovely time.
I have no qualms about buying second hand gifts for children/partners and for doing home made for those outside the immediate family.
I try to avoid shopping with the children in tow whenever possible so do most of my christmas shopping whilst they are at school.
I shop online although I do love the fun and thrill of shopping in stores when you can touch, feel, try the product.
Make lists of what jobs, gifts you need to buy and take it one day at a time otherwise panic sets in and nothing gets done.If you feel like you are going to have a moment of madness, go for a quick walk, grab some fresh air or have a soak in the bath and turn the pessure of christmas off just for half an hour.
Online shopping when you have young children is invaluable. Spreading your present buying over a few months makes December less hectic. Only do what you have the time to do in terms of preparation for Christmas, it's not a competition!
I buy toys in the sales and from charity shops and books from the book people. these are stored until christmas or birthdays. food shopping starts early, with the long life stuff.
Don't read magazines/watch programmes about The Perfect Christmas-it's an advertising wind up. Just get some thoughtful presents, even suitable vouchers, plan some great meals and enjoy spending time with loved ones.
I try to buy gifts with enough time for online delivery to save a bit of money vs. the high street. To cope with unexpected visitors/gifts, I either get things that can be easily returned if unneeded, or things that I would use myself.
This is an especially expensive time of year for us, as DS1's birthday is 17th December & my Ddad's is 23rd December.
I do have a few strategies to get us through:
- Always buy Christmas paper, cards & decorations in the January sale. The DC are sending Cars, Princess & Thomas cards that were originally £5 at BHS but I bought for 50p.
- Stock up on pressies, especially for DC, throughout the year. We tend to have lots of birthday parties in November/December, too, so I buy lots of boy/girl/non-specific gifts & cards when I see them discounted throughout the year. This obviously only works if you have the storage!
- Make the most of special offers & loyalty schemes. Am going to use Tesco Clubcard boost for DS1's Christmas present, used Tesco vouchers for his birthday meal out yesterday & got DS2's present from Sainsbury's when they did 50%+ off, and used coupons at the same time.
- Have a little money in your budget to go food shopping on Christmas Eve: we have in the past stocked up on meat/veg/bread etc for the whole of January by going to Tesco just before closing on Christmas Eve
Hello - thanks for all the tips and comments - am pleased to say jelliebelly has won the £200 JL voucher. Well done!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.