I love Christmas and Christmas with kids is just the best! According to a certain famous ‘money saving expert’ (whom I will be as successful as one day;-)) the average cost of Christmas day is £835. I can believe this statistic. If I think about a normal Christmas for me…I have maybe 10 children to buy presents for and maybe 6 adults (close family). This isn’t a huge list, I know people who buy more. But this alone is probably £400 worth of presents. Then there are my 3 children and husband..so maybe add on another £300 there. We are up to £700 already. Add in food and alcohol for Christmas day..that’s easily another £200….and there we have it £900.
So how to save money, I’ve split my top tips lists into Presents and Food/Booze……
Presents – Top Ten Tips
1) Write a list now. Get ideas from your friends and family on what they/their children would like. People will always prefer to receive things they want. And why do you think Ebay is so busy after Christmas??! Set a budget and stick to it. You will get a glowing feeling when you get things for free/cheaper than your set budget.
2) Put money aside now. Soon its Sept pay day so set aside £100/£200 of it this month, and do the same in Oct, Nov and Dec. Or you via could save weekly if you are fortunate enough to be paid weekly. Try the 52 week Mrs Mummypenny saving scheme but reverse it. Week 1 save £52 in a jar, week 2 save £51, week 3 save £50 and so on. Contact me via FB or twitter if you want a copy of the savings tick table.
3) Each time you are out shopping or browsing online keep your list in mind. When you see a special offer snap it up. For example this week save 5% on ipads at PC world, save 20% on dresses at Dorothy Perkins, Buyagift save 20% off everything, Body Shop save 40% on orders. Tesco save £10 on tablets over £125. Tons of offers.
4) Scan websites like hotukdeals and voucher code sites for online/print out vouchers to save you money before you buy stuff. You can pretty much always find a voucher for most retailers. I love these sites and use them most days.
5) When buying online always purchase through topcashback. This is free money. It really is. Just set up an account, search for your chosen retailer, click through to your retailer from topcashback, buy as normal. You can earn lots. I’m up to £350 cash back since Nov last year. When the cash is confirmed you transfer it straight into your bank account.
6) Use your Tesco clubcard vouchers effectively. Save the ones you have now until Christmas. Tesco for the past 3 years have a run a double your clubcard voucher scheme (clubcard boost) on toys each November. I have got all children’s present toys using my tesco vouchers and paid nothing for them.
7) Or be cleverer with your clubcard vouchers are use them for triple up and quadruple up offers, have you got jewellery on the list, you can triple your voucher value with Goldsmiths vouchers. Or you can triple your voucher value with Denby for table wear. Or how about a Merlin annual pass for the kids = £52 of Tesco vouchers. Cinema tickets, Apple products (!! yes Apple). This list goes on and on.
8) Make stuff! Grandparents love the handmade stuff by the children, glass jars/chocolate boxes decorated make a great jewellery box. How about making a pile of chutney and decorating jars all christmassy? Get down to your local bead shop and make some jewellery? Fig chutney recipe! http://www.channel4.com/4food/recipes/tv-show-recipes/river-cottage-christmas-2010-recipes/hughs-fig-and-cranberry-christmas-chutney-recipe
9) Make your special cards for mum, dad, grandparents. My kids love gluing stuff and glitter…so we make one card a night in December.
10) And my big thing for this year, am not writing cards. Such a waste of energy and time. Especially the children’s cards, when they receive a card from every child in their class. Not doing itJ
Food & Booze – Top Ten Tips
1) Avoid the last minute dash on the 23rd of Dec around the supermarket at 3pm in the afternoon. Its stressful and this makes you panic buy.
2) Last year we had a good plan which was to hit the supermarket really early in the morning on the 21st Dec. It was lovely, everything was in stock, hardly any people. Make sure you check use by dates on the fresh stuff. Disadvantage being we had to get up at 5am to do it…with 3 kids, they had fun to be fair with the self scanning gun.
3) You can use your Tesco clubcard vouchers also for frozen food. You can pretty much get a whole Christmas dinner and lovely party food in the frozen section. One of the best bits about christmas is the party food;-)
4) Try not to over buy, easily said, as I know I always do it!
5) Get you Christmas sweeties now..and hide them. Some great offers around at the moment, but only worth it if you resist the box of celebrations! A 750g tub of celebrations is just £4 in tesco at moment. Other supermarkets exist!
6) Don’t buy selection boxes, buy the chocolate individually and make up a bundle yourself. Much cheaper.
7) Buy a chunk of ham and roast it. The hairy bikers do an amazing recipe. The ham lasted for a week and went well with my home made chutney. http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/honeyandmarmaladegla_93186
8) Check out Lidl and Aldi, their fresh meat and cheeses have a great reputation and are great value.
9) Buy local, I’m a huge fan of buying my meat from the local butchers. The quality is amazing and the prices are better than the supermarket. Our butchers – Trussells of Knebworth also has lovely condiments. I love a condiment, so I’m going to make a hamper (in a box decorated by the kids) as a present for the grandparents with a nice bottle of booze, chutney, some nice bbq sauce and other bits. This will go down a storm.
10) Again use voucher codes for your food shopping, all the online shopping sites are desperate for your business and will offer £10-£20 off your first order. If you want a christmas week home delivery the sites will soon be releasing dates, and you must get in there early and book it. You can get £1 off various blossom hill wines with a voucher from mumsnetcoupons this week. And buy in bulk, most supermarkets offer discounts when you buy more than 6 bottles.
There you have it…please comment with more ideas. Share my blog and the love.