Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Santa's Thrifty Little Helper: 10 Tips for Seasonal Savings

'Tis the season to be jolly!'  So jolly I will be.  But ending up broke and in debt after all the festive shenanigans isn't going to make me utter a cheerful Ho, ho, ho!'.  Boo hoo hoo! might be more appropriate if this were the case.  After all I've got the balance of a skiing holiday to pay in January.  So in the spirit of Christmas thrift past and present here's ten ideas for super savings at this time of year that I'm sharing with you.
  • Declare present amnesties with other adults.   Or do that Secret Santa thing.  But make sure that you research your 'victim' properly and choose something that they really,really want.  (A Spice Girl CD perhaps!)
  • Forgoing gifts just isn't an option for the kids but stick to strict budgets for their gifts.  Mine's been one hundred notes for the last couple of years for Louis.  The link shows how I managed this in 2011.  I'll be displaying this year's stash when my spending is over.
  • If you need to use public transport book early and choose your travel times carefully.  There's offpeak moments to be had during those peak period if you are flexible with time of day travelled.
  • Plan a menu and stick to it.   Make each member of the family responsible for bringing a course for all of those important meals.  Apparently I am the hors d'oeuvre queen this year!
  •  Don't overbuy and extend the festive season for days and days.  You really don't need a ton of cheese and chocs.  Both your waistline and pocket will thank you for this.
  • Unless you're a wine connoisseur, stick to budget booze.  Save the good bottles for days when they can individually be savoured alongside simpler fare.
  • Pick your panto carefully.  The prices vary enormously.  Look for super cheap am-dram events in a community hall near you or take advantage of the cut price dress rehearsal and charity performances in the big theatres that occur just before the main run.
  • Use the same decorations each year.  Add to your stash by making homemade or fete bought heirlooms that will last a lifetime.  And deck the halls with bows of holly and other greenery clipped from a wood near you!
  • Send cards second class rather than first.  A tip that used to save pennies but now with extortionate postal rates its a real money saver.
  • Skimp on wrapping paper and use newsprint, magazines and brown parcel wrap bedecked with a festive bow instead.  The look is far more sophisticated than you might think.

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