Thrify Finds: Christmas Planning

 

As I don’t have any Thrifty Finds from the past week (sometimes it just happens like that), I thought I’d post about my plans for Christmas. Sorry to mention that word but it is only six weeks tomorrow!

A couple of years ago I wrote a three part series here called Saving for Christmas which detailed how I intended to save – and spend – for the festive season.

Although our finances have changed slightly (now that I am working part time) I will be using the same sources to fund Christmas 2018:

Annual Savings Every month I put aside some money for summer holidays, large family birthdays and Christmas. I plan to have saved £350 from this fund.

Nectar Points I’ve earned about £25 of Nectar points this year which I hope to exchange for £50 in Double Up points this week. I intend to buy our Christmas drink and some festive treats with this.

Quidco I’ve written about the Quidco shopping site before here and here. While I haven’t been as strict using it this year, it will still yield £43.16 in vouchers, which I will put towards Christmas presents.

Boots Advantage Points Every year I save my Boots loyalty points and spend them at Christmas. If I buy ‘three for two’ on gift toiletries I can actually get quite a lot for my money. At present I have about £13 in points but I’m hoping to grow that to £15.

Shopping in advance At the beginning of the year I shopped the January sales and bought all my Christmas cards and wrapping paper, plus some new (to me) decorations. I have also been buying a book of stamps with my monthly food shop to spread that cost.

Days Out Budget Every month I also save some money for family days out – whether it’s cinema trips, eating out or visiting attractions. I will use the cash from this to pay for an annual family meal and a few smaller treats on our ‘Bucket List’.

With regards to where I will shop for presents, I think that the days of buying charity shop gifts are drawing to a close. That is for my daughters, at least, who (at 16,12 and 10) are more fussy about first hand presents. If I can find some small, well presented items in good condition, though, I may still buy them. At present I’m looking for money boxes as they have a big summer holiday next year which we all need to save for. I will still be looking for Christmas tableware (esp napkins), books and games, though, for us to enjoy at Christmas.

Whatever I decide to buy, though, the one message that I stick to every year is don’t get into debt for Christmas!

Thrifty Finds: first week November 2018

This past week we have enjoyed a half term break from school and celebrated Halloween – I also got to use some money-off vouchers:

1.As mentioned last week we were given three huge pumpkins from a friend. Two were carved for Halloween…

The remaining one was turned into soup, toasted seeds and (I’m hoping) pumpkin pie!


2. As it was half term, I treated the girls to a McDonalds, with a voucher I’d received from WHSmiths.

3. We also took a trip to our local garden centre which already has all its rooms decorated for Christmas. This is becoming an annual family tradition and doesn’t cost a penny.

4. As it’s November we now have money in the budget to buy some clothes (having spent A LOT on uniform back in September). I bought coats and boots for two of the girls and picked up a new (to me) pair of work trousers from Dorothy House. They are originally Per Una and cost me £7.

5. I bought some shopping from Sainsburys with a money-off voucher.

Now that we’re into November I’m going to have to start planning my Christmas spending, working out budgets etc. Where has the year gone?!

Thrifty Finds: last week of October 2018

 

We are now on half term so I imagine this week will be full of Halloween preparations. This is my Thrifty Finds for last week:

  1. I didn’t buy a magazine! I came across the Breathe Christmas Special and it seemed to have so many good articles on how to have a mindful Christmas and alternative gift giving. .However at £7.99 I just couldn’t justify the cost.
  2. I did, however, pick up a couple of free magazines this week: The Boots Health & Beauty magazine which is free to card holders, and a copy of a food magazine that had been left in the kitchen at work.
  3. We received an extra pack of waffles in our Sainsbury’s delivery.
  4. I was also given three free pumpkins from a friend who grows them on her allotment. Every year she distributes them, in exchange for a donation to Diabetes UK (both of her sons have Type 1 Diabetes)

 

5. The girls have already carved their pumpkins, in preparation for Wednesday night. I saved the seeds and roasted them with soy sauce to make a really tasty – and moreish – snack.

 

Hope you had a good week and – if you mark Halloween – a fun evening!

Thrifty Finds: first week in October 2018

thrifty finds2I can’t believe it’s October already! I’m starting to hear the Christmas word but I am really not ready for it ….!

Last week’s Thrifty Finds included:

1. I went shopping at the local greengrocers and used my reusable Onya bags. I’d forgotten that this grocers has a loyalty card scheme so was able to earn a few stamps 🙂

2. Talking of loyalty cards, I did download the Caffè Nero loyalty app for my weekly latte treat .But it only gives one ‘stamp’ per coffee – whereas I always get two stamps on my paper card for bringing in a reusable cup. I know I should use the paper free version but I like getting my two stamps!

image4. My collapsible Stojo coffee cup (as above) has proved so handy that I’ve ordered two for friends’ birthdays these month.

5. Finally I was given a huge haul of tomatoes from a friend who had a glut of them at her allotment. I plan to turn them into roast tomato soup to take to work (working in the centre of Bath means there are 101 lunch places so bringing in my own lunch helps with the purse.)

Do you take lunch to work, and if so, is it sandwiches or leftovers?

This Week’s Thrifty Finds: Week Two, July 2018

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I can’t believe we are still on countdown for the end of term here! My daughters don’t break up until 25 July and already they are tired, hot and bothered!

1. Last week I got round to ordering some Thank You cards for their teachers and assistants. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you may know that I struggle with the expense and waste of the industry that is Teacher thank you gifts. The shops are crammed with mugs, photo frames and other trinkets for teachers and I do wonder how much of this ends up in a bottom drawer somewhere!

It’s not that I don’t appreciate what their teachers and TAs do. We are lucky to have such a caring and talented teaching staff at our village  school. To this end, I have ordered some personalised thank you cards for the girls to write their own messages of thanks. I also received a half price voucher as I was ordering from the website for the first time.

 

 

2. I got some money off using a supermarket voucher.

3. Despite my ‘no new clothing’ ban I did buy myself a much needed pair of very comfy sandals from the Clarks sale (reduced from £49 to £19).

4. However we went to a party on Saturday night and I wore my faithful black jumpsuit and accessorised with some new nail varnish.

5. I’m continuing with our ‘eat the store cupboard’ mission and made a lovely Greek salad using a jar of olives and a can of butter beans that we’d had for a few months (plus fresh tomatoes and cucumber). I also used up a half empty jar of Thai Curry Paste and a can of coconut milk for an easy Thai Curry, although I did need to buy some meat for that.

 

This Week’s Thrifty Finds: Week One July 2018

As I briefly mentioned in last week’s post we took a short break to Dorset, which is one of my Thriftiest Finds ever….

1. With the weather being sooo hot and my eldest now out of school as her exams are finished, we decided to take a last minute break to Poole in Dorset.

Poole, Dorset as viewed from Ham CommonThis isn’t something we’ve done before as we had to take the younger two out of school for three days (they are in years 5 & 6, aged nine and ten). They don’t break up until 25 July and the heat is really getting to them and they are really tired.

Anyway we booked a static caravan via Air BnB in a holiday park in Poole and spent three days swimming in the pools and playing at the beach. It was one of the best family holidays we have ever had! And as we took the girls out of school the accommodation was a fraction of the price 🙂 They have now gone back to school refreshed and ready for the  last few weeks of term.

2. On our way home from Poole we stopped in Shaftesbury (famous for Gold Hill and that Hovis advert). My husband and I used to live in Shaftesbury before we were married and we enjoyed showing the kids around. My youngest spotted the free to enter Gold Hill Museum and all five of us really enjoyed it. The girls particularly enjoyed the 20th Century artefacts including the rotary dial telephone and the manual typewriter:

Gold Hill Museum in Shaftesbury

3. While in Shastesbury we HAD to browse the charity shops and, despite my pledge to not buy any more clothes, I did pick up this top and dress for £10 in total from the Naomi Hospice Shop.

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4. My daughter also picked up a pair of dungaree shorts from another charity shop.

5. Since coming home I’ve made a conscious effort to reduce our food waste. As we are away again at the beginning of August I’ve decided to ‘shop the cupboards’ ie see what we already have in the cupboards and freezer and cook from that. I took an inventory of everything we had and am now trying to create some meals so I only have to do one small food shop before the end of the month.

Hope your July is going well. I’d love to hear some of your Thrifty Finds 🙂

 

 

This Week’s Thrifty Finds: Week Five June 2018

 

 

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Apologies for the late posting. We’re actually away on a mini break in Dorset (I’ll reveal more next week….)

In the meantime last week’s Thrifty Finds were:

1. I got another free coffee with my loyalty card and was given a couple of extra stamps for my reusable cup 🙂

Is Free Coffee worth it? via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

2. Having looked at our budgets for July I’m going to have to reduce our clothing allowance for the month. So instead of buying a couple of new things for the summer (and this current heat) I’ll have to be inventive and ‘shop my wardrobe’.

3. I was given a PE kit for the secondary school that my daughter will be starting at in September.

4. World Cup fever has reached our village! The local pub was doing a fiver barbecue on Thursday. I couldn’t finish my side salads so I took the leftovers home and had them for lunch the next day. (I never normally take leftovers home: is this more of an American tradition? I need to start doing this more often).

5. We received free ice creams at work from our head of service 🍦🍦🍦🍦

How are you coping in this heat? Any tips for keeping cool?