Monday, September 28, 2009
Tis the Season to be Jolly
I have been thinking about doing this post for the last few weeks and now I really must take the "Bull by the Horns" and talk about Christmas. The key to a successful Christmas is careful planning and spending and the more Frugal your Christmas needs to be, the more you will have to stick to these rules.
Xmas Cards & Wrapping Paper
I always buy these in the sale straight after Xmas. Boots is the best place for me, but last year I got my Christmas crackers from the local co-op, so I already have what I need, but if you don't, write down everybody you send cards to, family friends, colleagues etc
Do you send special cards to Mums and Dads and for overseas family?
Buy Cards, wrapping paper and tags from a supermarket or anywhere you have a loyalty card for i.e. Boots so that you get something back for your spend.
Buy 2nd class stamps, posting cards early means you won't need to pay out for 1st class postage making a saving of 9p per card sent.
Aim to write them out now and post on 1st December. Check postage dates for overseas and send within plenty of time.
Make a list of people you usually buy for and next to each name enter an amount you think is reasonable to spend on the person concerned i.e Mum £20, Friend £10 and stick to the budget! Once you have your total you will need to divide this over the amount of paydays you have left before Xmas i.e. a total present list of £150 would mean you having to find £50 each month for presents if you have no savings or Christmas Club money to take care of this. Certain items will become harder to get hold of, the closer you get to Christmas, remember the Wii Fit last year? well you couldn't get one for love nor money past mid November, so prioritise your list. You won't have any problems getting Grandad a jumper from M&S on Xmas Eve but may have trouble getting Little Johnny the lastest Game from Toys r us.
Once you have your list and know roughly the amount you wish to spend, don't be afraid to ask the person concerned if there is something specific they would like, within your budget. We are all grateful to recieve something we really want rather than the usual "old Tat", so to cheer yourself up, make a list of what you would like as well! My list usually consists of things like Ren Otto Rose Body Wash at £16, a reasonable price for a pressie but in my eyes a luxury, as I wouldn't spend that amount on a shower gel for myself! I always write next to the item, the place it can be bought, either a shop, online or both and then leave to my husband to sort out who is buying what.
Need a party dress - how much would you like to spend? If on a tight budget check out asos.com click on women and then click on clearance and check out dresses or click on their outlet tab and click on dresses. I picked up a bargain party dress last week from the womens clearance section for £9! Buying now is one less pressure closer to the time. You may want something more casual for Xmas Day, jeans and a new blouse, a knitted dress? think about what you will be doing on the day, are you cooking? going out to eat? pick your outfit accordingly but if you are cooking, do invest in a cheap apron to save any fat splashes on your new clothes!
Food & Drink
Make another list!
First make a note of Dry goods i.e. tins of sweets, Xmas puddings,things that can be bought in advance then a separate list of fresh foods such as cheese, cream, dips etc.
Many supermarkets already have offers on tin sweets such as Roses or Quality Street, if they are on "buy one get free" or half price, then buy them now, I can guarantee that the special offers on these kinds of Xmas goodies will not be available come December, the same goes for Wines & Spirits. If you don't have provision for your food shopping then the best way to deal with this is to buy a few things each week on top of your usual weekly shop. Although it will make your shopping more expensive each week, it will be far easier than buying nothing and trying to scrape up £100 the week before Christmas!
I have been busy making notes and speaking to various friends and family so that I can show you some case studies for Christmas Budgeting. By doing this, I think we can all see how other people cope and what good advice we can take from other peoples situations. To finalise these case studies I will be offering Recessionista advice on how they can make any cut backs if necessary. I am also in the process of collating information on some good shopping websites so please keep checking back as I am hoping to get this all on the Blog this week if possible. If you have any great ideas of your own, please let me know!