Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas Planning (The £50 a week Budget)

This series of £50 budget posts are written for people who want to cut down on their expenditure  We have lived (comfortably) on £50 a week for around 2 years now and I am sharing some of my tips with you.

I'll let you into a little secret, Christmas planning on a budget starts in October, perhaps even earlier. Oops, so we're a little late with this blog post... but in reality most of us only start thinking about Christmas once December Starts, so don't panic, we're all in this together.





Gifts
There are online campaigns to stop unaffordable gift giving it is worth a thought if you have the courage to broach the subject with your extended circle.

LESSON #1: If you are worried about cash flow and are having problems with money don't buy gifts. Don't let yourself go cold, hungry or into debt for the sake of gifts for other adults.
When I was a student my home was burgled the week before Xmas, all the gifts were stolen. I bought my nephews a 25p packet of balloons to share, and all the adults just got a hug.

Tips for gifts
- The people close to you love you anyway, you don't need to buy their acceptance or love.
I personally love a handmade gift, I also love making gifts but there are some people who just don't 'get it' and it hurts more if you give something they don't appreciate.
- Kids love balloons!!
- A good book or DVD can be inexpensive (around £3)
- Do your shopping online, don't face the crowds, don't stress yourself out and spend to much... sit down with a glass of wine and surf that net baby.
- There is probably at least one person who will sneer if you didn't spend £25 on them... You have 2 ways to deal with this (1) Get upset and blow your budget in a tragic attempt to please them. #fail (2) Forget about it and just get on with the rest of your wonderful christmas. #win



Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.

Food
If you haven't started your Christmas food shopping you have to start now. Following these simple tips will avoid pushing 2 trolleys round the supermarket on Christmas Eve.

Do your meal planning for Christmas now, plan for 3 meals a day for the festive period. Build your shopping list based on this. Don't forget to add the extra spices, snacks and drinks. Also add to the list any auxiliaries you need, wrapping paper, christmas cards, etc.

You are not doing all your Christmas food shopping now, pop your list somewhere handy so you can add to it or score things off as you get them in.

From this list you are going to pick 4 items which will keep until christmas in the back of your cupboard.
Haggis crisps and Irn bru...
Auch Aye!

Each week your extra purchases for christmas will fit into your normal budget, this can be done easily because you are splitting it up and just doing a little at a time.

Here's a brake down of how we do it:
4 weeks to go: Crisps, fizzy juice, spices, wrapping paper.
3 weeks to go: Fancy breakfast cereals, flour, sugar, dried stuffing, other baking ingredients.
2 weeks to go: Meats, cheeses (check dates to make sure they'll last) Oranges and lemons.
1 week to go: Everything else (unless it needs to be fresh)
a few days to go: All the fresh things (cream, fresh veg etc)

- Buy things on special offer, starting a month before the big day and with a list means you can shop around a little more.
- Don't pay any more than £1 for a 2litre bottle of Irn Bru or Coke and much less if you buy stores own brands.
- Get fancy crisps on special offer too, £1 for a big share bag or again, stores own brands can be cheaper.
- buy spices at Asian Supermarkets, it works out a lot cheaper.
- don't drink alcohol, that saves a lot of money.

Decorations

We decorate with origami and bunting, we bring in holly, ivy and pine cones from the garden and the box of old vintage decorations come down from the loft. We do buy a real tree every year, it is our luxury.

You can often get decorations and artificial trees from freecycle or similar.

'Shop the house' Walk around the house and collect together christmassy looking things, then put them on display.





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