Monday, 10 September 2012

Christmas Savings (Move Along, Scrooge)

I'd like to say that when it comes to Christmas I revert back to being a child but actually, I think my excitement levels as an adult are probably higher! Just less running-around-like-a-headless-chicken-y. Instead I get that bubble of excitement in my tummy when I hear my first Christmas song of the year, or when I see the first bottle of Baileys on sale (because in this house Christmas and Baileys go hand in hand!). It's still magical for me. The dark afternoons, Christmas trees in people's windows, fairy lights in the town centres, smoking chimneys from log fires and children in mittens make my heart swell. It sounds so twee and silly but it really is my favourite time of year. Everyone makes an effort to be nicer to people around Christmas, families make an effort to see eachother and it's the one time of the year where I know my big, hairy hulking brother will give me a cuddle. I love it!

However, despite all my vomit inducing, simpering love for Christmas, I know how stressful it came be in terms of money. When the lovely folk at BBB got in touch and said they were working with the equally as lovely folk at Getting Personal to get bloggers talking about Chistmas budgeting and money saving tips I jumped at the chance. Mostly because I really flippin' love any excuse to talk about Christmas but also because I'm quite the cheapskate thrifty seasonal organiser! I started jotting down little tips and have collected a few to share with you :) 

Gifts
  • If you're going to make handmade gifts start collecting bits over the year. Most of the things I make are food based so I never throw out jam jars, bottles, pots, those cute little Gu dishes (don't pretend you don't know the ones I mean), anything that I might be able to re-use. If you actively buy empty jars you're looking at least 40p per jar. That adds up quickly!
  • Be on the look-out all year round for things that would make good stocking fillers. We have a rule in that you're not allowed to spend any more than £3 on a stocking filler and they always have to be silly (for example Mr D put a Cliff Richard calendar in mine last year...). Again, that adds up quickly if you're doing stockings for three different people. If you see something in March that you think your children/husband/Aunt Fanny would like, get it and put it away!
  • Never, ever throw away gift bags from birthdays and such. Those things cost about £2 each! Re-use, re-use, re-use. 
  • Don't waste money on those albeit beautiful but overpriced packs of pretty material covers and labels for jam jars. Make your own covers with scraps of fabric and pinking shears and your own labels with a computer. These websites have tons of free printable labels that are really cute. 
  • Secret Santa! At work, school, uni, in your group of friends and if you have a huge family that meet up over Christmas it will save a lot of money. Just make sure you stick to a certain amount otherwise it gets messy. 
  • If you're struggling with what to get someone who seems to have everything or if you don't know them that well, Getting Personal have some lovely things that are reasonably priced that can be personalised. I bet that rich uncle who has 17 Lamborghinis doesn't have a cheese board with his name on, does he?!
Food
  • Start looking around now for things on special offer that you can freeze. I filled my freezer last year with sausages and bacon and it saved me a lot of flapping around trying to buy pigs in blanket on Christmas Eve because Mr D had already eaten the 40 I'd made the day before.
  • If you're hosting Christmas at home and inviting family, ask them to bring something like the Christmas pudding or stuffing. 
  • Grow your own vegetables! Not only do you get an incredible smug sense of satisfaction but it really does save a huge amount of money. Mr D really loves sprouts and got a bit over enthusiastic with the plants last year. We had enough to have them with literally every meal for a week before Christmas, fed 8 people with them on Christmas Day and still had some leftover!
  • Always use your leftovers, don't ever throw them away. It doesn't have to be horrible turkey curry either, the BBC Good Food website has loads of really tasty and interesting leftover recipes. 
  • Or just invade someone else's house for the Christmas period so you don't have to buy anything at all! 
I hope those are at least a teeny bit helpful! I promise not to mention the C word for at least another month now...maybe ;)

And just for your viewing pleasure, look at the chocolate log I made last year! 



Love, 
Mrs D x

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4 comments

  1. Love all your tips. This year I am spending Christmas in Paris which actually makes me have to budget even more!

    I plan on doing some baking and Jam making, your chocolate log looks amazing!! NOM!

    Great tips Elena! xx

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Callie :)
      Christmas in Paris sounds magical! Do you have family there or are you having a lovely couple-y Christmas? xx

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    2. I have only been through Paris on a coach so I am very exited. No family there just decided to get away this year save the hassle of deciding where to go. We have just booked a little apartment which didn't work out too expensive and we're not doing Christmas pressies to each other! Do you have any nice plans?

      x x

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    3. Aw, that sounds like it'll be really lovely! I hope it snows...a Parisian Christmas in the snow sounds so beautiful.
      We haven't decided yet. We hosted our first Christmas at ours last year but we've said we're not doing it again for a couple of years haha! I think we'll go to my parents because my brother and his wife aren't going this year and I don't want them to be alone.
      How long are you going for? xx

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