Here are some thrifty ideas to cut the cost of this year’s festive activities:
It’s quite a common mistake to over estimate the amount of food we are going to need for the main feast and boxing day, so the best way to avoid this is to write a list and stick to it. At this time of year the main supermarkets are going to be trying every marketing trick in the book to make you spend more money, so by preparing a food list and keeping to it will help you to keep your Christmas shopping costs to a minimum.
Consider using the leftovers on boxing day. Jamie Oliver does a delicious left-overs bubble and squeak recipe, which is not only nutritional it’s also has the same amount of calories as a blueberry muffin.
The BBC website have some really good Christmas budget recipes, including mustard-glazed roasted chicken, Panettone pudding, creamy parsnip and squash bake. By buying a chicken, or two instead of a turkey could make a considerable saving, and it often is easier to cook and just as tasty – but traditionalists might disagree.
• Calendars – personalised on-line calendars are great gifts for Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, and are relatively cheap, VistaPrint prices start from £2.99 for desk top calendars and £7.99 for wall calendars.
• Consider buying family gifts, rather than big individual gifts, such as a gaming machine for the whole family or a day out in London, a 3D TV, family computer, depending on your budget and your familes needs. Set a budget and make some suggestions to your family.
• Check out charity shops – there are lots of charity shops in Saffron Walden, Bishop’s Stortford, Royston and Cambridge, and some of the items for sale are practically brand new.
• If you can’t afford to buy much for your children this Christmas, then why not create a treasure hunt within your home, where the children have to hunt for smaller presents.
• Make and create – Creating your own gifts and decorations not only offers a person touch but can also be a much cheaper alternative.
• Visit your local markets, if you buy a bag full of red chillis for example you could make them into garlands by threading a needle and string between them and hanging them around your home, and then use the rest in an oil, add to a nice bottle with a bit of ribbon around the rim can will make a nice but cheap present.
• Get baking – ask the kids to help you to make some Christmas decorated shortbread biscuits, wrap them in plastic, with some ribbon around the top and you have a cheap but personalised present.
• Christmas cards - Re-use last year’s Christmas cards – buy some cheap card and envelopes from your local £1 shop or market, and cut off last year’s Christmas card fronts, cut and fold the card into Christmas size cards and stick the old Christmas card to the front – but just make sure you don’t send it to the same person who sent it to you last year. Alternatively cut some shapes out of potatoes and ask the children to stamp these onto cards with paint, stars and Christmas tree shapes work really well.
• Clear out and sell - Have a clear out of your home, for example kids clothes and equipment which are no longer used and sell them on auction sites or in car boot sales, this is a great way to raise money for Christmas.