Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Christmas Madness or sanity?

Well the season has truly begun! Time to set up trees, get the bulk of Christmas present shopping underway and even start giving some thought to the Christmas meal. We’re looking forward to the break and all the festivities, however this year we have agreed to have a limit to what we spend on eachother – this way we both know there will be no overspends! Amongst family we agreed no presents to save us all some money, but for children etc of course there’s no limit.

Our Christmas food and drink will again this year be courtesy of cashback sites (click the links on the right hand menu if you would like to know more). I believe I have beaten last years amount made – and remember this is all made entirely free, from simply clicking on internet sites. My estimate will be £360 made from free clicking. Next year I will up the limit and hope to make more but it all depends on how much time I have to dedicate to it.

In addition to cash made from clicking, we have received over £100 in vouchers throughout the year, from Pigsback, stationery companies and also from competitions etc. We chose to receive these in Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Next and the Burtons group. This will be spent in Marks & Spencer (£50) and Waitrose (another £50). I will buy Xmas bits and pieces but as we are away for most of it this year, I will try to buy staples with this cash too, such as tea, coffee, marmite, rice etc. Personally, I then also received approximately another £50 in vouchers which was used for birthdays and clothes etc.

Overall, from money saving activities and ideas, we have been able to give ourselves a £600 raise in vouchers and cashback, plus approx £1,500 in other savings, meaning that over £2,000 has stayed with us, rather than being passed on to other companies or being wasted! Food waste has been a big thing for me the last 4 months or so and it really has made a difference.

Plus as you can see from this blog the following steps have helped me a lot:

- Making chutneys, curds etc
- Batch cooking to freeze various portions
- Shopping last minute in supermarkets to get reduced items
- Creating and using my PriceBook (see right hand menu)
- Using cashback sites and Free Clicking to the maximum (see right hand menu)
- Buying presents as and when throughout the year so that I don’t pay high prices at Christmas or on last minute impulse birthday gifts for example
- Re-using wrapping, getting creative round the house by recycling rather than buying new
- Buying clothes and items for the home from charity shops. This applies only to very good quality items and has saved us a lot of money.
- Buying during sales, and planning ahead.
- Using a cashback credit card then paying it off in full each month, gaining cashback at 1% on everything I buy.
- Getting a free Orange SIM card so I can go with a friend to see half price movies on a Wednesday. I loaded it with £10 over a year ago and I still have lots of credit as each text costs pennies and I go perhaps twice per month.
- Using discount vouchers for meals out etc – almost all restaurants have begun to offer these this year in a big way and this has influenced where we eat out at least 50% of the time.
- Using discount vouchers for clothes, homeware etc.
- Work extra in self-employed capacity – a few hours per week can really add up and is well worth it for anyone who can do this

All of these steps have made a massive difference which we will definitely carry on in 2009 in a big way.

If you have any suggestions as to what we can all do, or special steps you are taking, please do leave a message as we could all do with more ideas in these credit crunch times!


Maisie said...

Hi, have really enjoyed reading this blog.
You will know me better as mama67 on MSE.
Your posts are very informative and inspirational.

SGist said...

Thanks so much for your comment, it's lovely to know people's thoughts and that one post might inspire people to look at things in another way x

Chris said...

Great blog, I have really enjoyed reading this article and lots of the others. Look forward to reading more in the future. You are an inspiration!

SGist said...

Thank you Chris - hopefully we can all help eachother out with ideas in these troubled times. Plus yes I do have lots of other ideas for articles, one hatching this week plus a log for wach year as to what savings we have made and in what way, so these could help other folk get inspired too. Thanks for your continued reading & let's save some cash!