There’s not much that is frugal about Christmas. Unless you retire to a cave and hide until the festivities are over, you are bound to spend more money than usual. That is certainly the case here at Shoestring Cottage! Nevertheless, I have budgeted for Christmas and saved money where I could. Here is my weekly round up of five festive frugal things that have helped me stick to the budget.
Money off at Ocado
I don’t usually shop at Ocado/Waitrose. As regular readers will know, I am more an Aldi sort of gal, as I said in my Lidl vs Aldi post recently.
However, my daughter gave me a discount code of 30% off my first shop, so I thought I would use it to buy some of the more special Christmas treats that I wouldn’t find at Aldi. For example, I bought a bottle of vegan Baileys (obviously essential at Christmas) and some edible glitter for Nigella’s chocolate rocky road I plan to make over the next couple of days.
Because my daughter referred me, she then got a £20 off voucher for her next shop. She is moving into her own flat after Christmas, so this will come in handy no doubt.
I was actually surprised at what good value some of the Waitrose basics were. They were certainly comparable with somewhere like Asda or Sainsbury’s. Plus, I got free delivery and a complimentary tea towel as well. This kicks off my five festive frugal things list nicely!
Best value turkey
We need quite a large turkey this year, as we have a lot of family coming over on Boxing Day and have a buffet planned. Looking around at some of the prices of turkeys, you could spend a small fortune on the bird. Waitrose’s bronze free range organic one was over £80! I didn’t want to spend quite that much. I am sure you can do a buffet on a pretty tight budget, and that’s what I intend to do.
This is the time to buy from Aldi. I knew the turkeys were coming in yesterday so I hot footed it round there early to buy one. It was just as well I did go early, as by the time I came out the small car park was in chaos with all the customers trying to get in!
I had hoped to buy Aldi’s Christmas yule log, but they had all gone when I arrived at 9am. Instead I bought this rather rich looking chocolate and salted caramel pudding, again for the buffet.
I will do jacket potatoes, various salads, bread, crackers, cheeses, a quiche, a cold baked ham and nibbles. There will be an assortment of desserts as well. My family are all bringing a contribution for the buffet and something to drink. This will help to keep the costs down.
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have spotted that the tree is finally up with most of the wrapping done. As I have pledged to use no single use wrapping paper this year, everything is in scarves and bits of fabric from the charity shops or last year’s gift bags have been reused.
I reckon I have spent no more than £4 on items to wrap the presents in, and can use them all again next year. A further benefit that I wasn’t expecting was that it is so much easier and less messy to wrap presents in fabric and tie them in a knot or with a bit of ribbon than it is cutting up paper and sticky tape.
I love this idea and really hope it catches on for presents at any time of the year.
Decorating on a budget
I mentioned last week that I found a cute Christmas table cloth in the charity shop for £1. As we began to decorate the tree and sitting room last weekend, I discovered so many other little bits I have bought over the years for next to nothing. You really don’t have to break the bank to make your home look nice and Christmassy!
The charity shops often store up Christmas ornaments and decorations to bring out in November. However, many will be selling what’s left over after Christmas, so it’s a good time to keep your eyes peeled for bargains.
My current favourites are these little ceramic snowmen – you may remember I picked them up a couple of weeks ago when we were doing a table top sale.
Planning a no spend January
This time next week it will all be over and we will each be half a stone heavier. We will probably all be planning our new year’s resolutions. I will be doing a no spend January again, so keep an eye if you fancy joining in as a post will follow. You can see how it works from last year here.
I find that not spending money after the expense of December is a huge relief. Shopping isn’t a great hobby for me – I don’t enjoy crowds and am rarely attracted by the lure of endless stuff.
If you have debts because you didn’t save or have over spent at Christmas, then a no spend January could help you start the year with less worry around your finances.
I hope you are managing to stick with your budget and have everything in hand for Christmas. Have you achieved five festive frugal things, or has frugality flown out the door? Let me know in the comments below.