Saturday, 5 December 2009

Money saving tips for Christmas

Is anyone else broke? I am. Big time. I never knew how much holidays to warm places can cost and used to backpacking really. So here we are, two thirds down the Christmas present hunt, only the start of December, no credit card (out of principle, I don't do credit cards) and slightly unsure of how to manage the rest of the month. I don't blame Christmas or the holiday we booked (we need it, and haven't been on a holiday since our honeymoon so we kinda deserve it), really and truly I blame the housing market. Or the combination of the three. I wouldn't be broke if my lovely flat would only sell - and if I hadn't renovated it (which I did so it would sell) and hadn't had a home report done for it (which I did, you guessed it, so it would sell).

So, from now until the ominous sale of the flat, we have to go on money saving setting.

I'm sure I'm not the only one scratching at the bottom of their purses, and why not share some top money saving tips? So here are my top 10 and it be great if you could share yours in the comment box below.

  1. Find a better deal on your insurance(s) (I saved 100 quid today just on home insurance, no bad eh?)
  2. Send e-cards instead of real Christmas cards. Good for the environment too
  3. Recycle old Christmas cards to make new ones or for name tags.
  4. Be creative with food. Cook from scratch and get better at buying just what you need, and use what you've got before buying new food so it doesn't end in the bin (tip courtesy of Zooarchaeologist over at Being a Mummy).
  5. Don't eat in cafes or restaurants. Take snacks with you and eat at home. Cruel but really, how much do cafe's charge for food and drink? I can get a pound bag of coffee for the price of just one latte.
  6. Make presents instead of buying them. Seriously, people have so much stuff that most presents end up in the next charity shop anyway so why not make something that is personal - surely those presents won't get chucked out a week after Christmas. Some Numbered Listof my do it yourself ideas: home made photo calendar with a bit of scrapbooking, home made Christmas cookies, home sewn and knitted bits and bobs for the house, handmade Christmas decoration.
  7. Declutter your home and sell old stuff on ebay, give it away on freecycle or to charity shops. It's satisfying, you can breathe again in your home and you may even make some money. And if you don't make money, you make someone happy. Even better.
  8. Head over to Violet Posy's Thrifty Christmas. Great ideas for presents (see 6.)
  9. Turn light and heating off in the rooms you're not in. Don't have heating come on timed, just switch it on as you come in. Turn it down if you get too hot in the late evening. In fact, turn the temperature setting down a bit. Turn off your chargers and other items on standby when not used.
  10. Don't get your roof repaired or your plumbing fixed. OK, I'm joking, but I'm getting ever so slightly used to having water come in through roof, ceiling, walls, into and out of cupboards, having overflowing baths and sinks. Our drains seem to have decided to let water in rather than out, when it rains. It rains a lot in Western Scotland. But that's another story. Cubling's comment: Need Bob the Builder come fix it! We got Ronnie the Plumber, Bob was busy).
Above all, I hope you can join me in appreciating the things we do have a little bit more every day. Like Cubling's infectious giggle when Mr Tickle is running for her, or her delight in being scared of Daddysaurus. And, in spite of being broke, I'm so looking forward to the holiday I can't really afford because I can't wait to see Cubling find out about sandy beaches and the sea without freezing her toes off.

Any more tips? Please do share!


Anonymous said...

If you had to put on a pump for water and wait for a shared cistern to fill before you can put on the pump at all, you'd make sure you got your plumbing fixed before wasting a lot of water! Not to mention the fact that we have major water shortages because it hasn't rained enough...

My tip for Xmas: Use fotokasten or Photobox to create personalized presents if you have nice photos of people. Granted, some things are expensive, but you can make things like bookmarks for a couple of euro if you just need a small gift for someone but one that says "I thought about you".


JulesH said...

OMG we are so broke this Xmas. Literally scraping pennies together the past few weeks. We are doing the home made gifts again this xmas but I've had a few family/friends who said 'don't do gifts this year'. Credit Crunch Christmas.

Aussie Mum said...

I agree with your list (except maybe point 10!). I'm sick of a house cluttered with toys and junk that we don't need (or use). This year we are doing a mostly home made christmas. Even better my friends families have also agreed to this so there isn't the expectation to get expensive presents for everyone else and Junior is loving making lots of gifts and decorations.

Anonymous said...

I have decided to some homemade gifts this year - akso because me experience is that people really appreciate them! (and I will also be making one for my plumber/builder who has sorted out my leaking roof!!!)

George's Mum said...

If you want some FREE photo gifts have a look here: as long as you have a printer? you can make loads of cool things. So far I've made jigsaws for all the kids, little cubes as decorations and a bunch of other stuff.

Re the food shop: We have both written down loads of our favourite dinners and put them in a jar. On Monday I pull 7 out of the jar and that is what we're eating that week. I only buy the ingredients for them and then there's no last minute take aways or panic buys in the mini M&S down the road!

Mum's Survival Guide said...

Anything you buy online go through a cashback site, just by comparing insurance I saved on the premium as well as getting some cash back for it.

Meal plan and cook from scratch. I know this was said, but it does work.

Don't buy too early for xmas. I thought I was being clever but kept buying bargains and now have too much so probbaly spent just the same in the long run.

I think we're all feeling it this year.

Mwa said...

I love the idea of homemade presents. They would feel much more personal anyway. I think I'd be quite pleased to get homemade biscuits.

And the holiday - sometimes it's just necessary. Our last proper warm holiday was years ago, and I do miss it.

cartside said...

thanks everyone for the great tips! Will follow some of it up. I've never done a meal plan, I usually plan on my way home from work depending on what I remember to be in the fridge.

I think agreeing not to do presents is a good idea. It's really for the kids, why do the adults still go out of the way for mad presents? A little (handmade) something is nice and shows appreciation, but there's a lot of excess in my opinion.

So here's to a happy credit crunch Christmas where being together and people matter more than presents.

Insomniac Mummy said...

Lots of great ideas.

We've had to tell family that there will be no gifts this year and I'm in the process of selling anything that isn't pinned down.

I'm just glad we bought the kids some stuff earlier in the year or I would've been upset for them to have nothing.

To spend less we've been getting a weekly veg box delivered instead of supermarket/online shopping. We stock the freezer with meat for 2 weeks (asda do a 5 for £10 offer on meats and fish) and buy milk and bread as we need it. NO ready meal. all homecooked, cheaper and tastier.

When shopping online I always use cash back sites, and have cut my insurance/fuel costs through these sites too.

I shall be making brownies for the family this year. The won't be able to complain when their mouths are stuffed with chocolatey goo.....

Anonymous said...

I know this is going to sound very precipitous...

We are in the unfortunate situation of being Santa Claus for S's niece and nephew plus having to buy clothes for them and Christmas presents for the rest of his immediate family (don't get me started, rant, rant...). Anyway, This year, because of the credit crunch, the expensive department stores had lots of clothes reduced to 50% in January - and a week later to 70%. I bought a whole bunch of clothes for the kids in bigger sizes for their birthdays during the day and then for Christmas and got decent quality stuff for little money. During the year we were in the States briefly and ordered things from that are so much cheaper there, like video games, to be sent to my friend's house. This isn't going to help anyone this Christmas, but forward planning can help you save a lot money. N.

Anonymous said...




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