Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (31 July – 7 August)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

Hello! While I try to post my Thrifty Finds on a Monday when the kids are on holiday I find time runs away with me. We’re also off on hols next week so there is lots of packing and shopping to do too. I did manage to stick to some budgets, last week, though, as preparing for a holiday can prove pricey…

1. I went through the holiday packing list with the kids and worked out what they needed. We then stuck to the list when we went shopping to Bath. Sadly none of it was second hand (as my kids get older I find it harder to buy second hand clothing for them; on the plus side they get a lot of hand me downs). I also picked up a  couple of items from my list which weren’t purchased second hand 🙁. For the first time ever I bought myself a couple of things from Primark. But I stuck rigidly to my list:

 

2. Having done a lot of holiday planning by buying insurance, travel money, breakdown cover etc has earned me £76.38  from the Quidco cash back site that I signed up to last year. I was going to buy all these items anyway, but purchasing via the Quidco website meant I earned money back as well 😀

3. Apart from holiday prep, we had two birthdays last week. I made two out of three of the birthday cakes (due to lack of time I did buy a supermarket cake for my daughter’s party for the first time ever!) I had budgeted for both birthdays and had enough money to buy gifts and pay for a small scale party.

4. I also sold my daughter’s old bike which helped to pay for the new one for her birthday.

5, While we had planned to go for a family pub lunch for the other birthday last week, a quick budget check showed this wasn’t possible. Instead we stayed at home and I made lunch. We also held impromptu drinks in the garden for friends, using wine and beer we already had and spending a little money on nibbles.

I will now spend the rest of the week washing, packing (and working) and finalising budgets for hols. As we are heading to France and the euro is very nearly worth £1 we are going to have to reign in our spending a little..

If you want to follow our holiday travels follow me on instagram

I’m also going to try to keep to some zero waste/plastic free habits from previous holidays (see here and here). Watch this space and see you at the end of the month!

A bientot….

 

Saving for Christmas….Part Two

Saving for Christmas Part Two

In my previous post here I talked about how I was going to fund Christmas this year. In this post I wanted to talk more about what I plan to spend the money on – and a couple of issues I’m struggling with.

Presents

simple christmas wrapping

Who am I buying for?

Over the past few years we have gradually reduced the number of people whom we buy presents for. The shopping list now consists of:

our children,

nephews and niece,

our parents,

and a couple of aunts, uncles and cousins.

We decided a while ago not to buy presents for our siblings (and vice versa). Depending on what money is left in the budget, my husband and I tend to buy just a small item for each other – or put the money towards a shared item.

I am struggling with buying presents for aunts, uncles and cousins (6 in total) whom I haven’t seen for years. So, this year, I’m going to send a card instead, stating that we don’t need presents and a donation to charity would be wonderful instead.

I’m also putting a call out to a couple of close friends/children’s godparents  to suggest we only buy birthday presents and forego the gift giving at Christmas. My children don’t really need that many presents anyway. Speaking of which, we have asked one set of grandparents to buy an experience for the girls this year. These grandparents, generous though they are, do buy a lot of throwaway plastic for the kids. But paying for the amazing day out (which I daren’t share with you yet!) will be far more memorable.

The other issue I am struggling with is Teacher’s Thankyou presents. I have written here and here on my past experiences. It is really nice to thank teaching staff for all that they do for my daughters but the shopping list can really grow. I’m thinking of getting the girls to make something simple this year, but still need to budget for materials.

homemade for Christmas: bath salts

 

Where am I getting the presents from?

This is a hard one…I mentioned in my previous post I have collected points from the Quidco/cashback site. While it is not as much as I previously thought the amount I will have for Christmas will be £73.82, which will help to buy a few presents.I can claim this as cash, Paypal credit or… gain a 5% increase by transferring to Amazon gift vouchers.

Last year I didn’t use Amazon at all for Christmas presents but I’m not sure that I can afford to do that this year. I suspect I will give in to the higher financial reward of taking my Quidco vouchers as Amazon credit instead 😦

However I am also determined to spend some of my money locally and, as always, shop second-hand for some of the Christmas gifts. I met a lovely lady a couple of months ago who said she was determined to only buy presents from local sellers and second-hand sources.

I’ve already started by buying one small decoration from a great local craft fair that happens every month. I also picked up a couple of Christmas cards from an exhibition held in our village by resident artists.

Food and Drink

 

credit: katielips

Now this category can really mount up. While I have a strict budget for presents I tend to lose it a bit when it comes to food and drink. This year we are eating at my parents so that should reduce some of the food bill. We do tend to meal plan over the Christmas season. However it’s the sneaky extras that always get us. This year I’m going to stick to:

my usual online supermarket delivery (so that I can’t be tempted by the whole supermarket experience),

order an organic veg box

Pick up a couple of pieces of meat from the local butcher.

I’ve also got a few vouchers that I can buy our Christmas wine with as well.

I’ll keep you updated on what I actually spend and I will also write another post on how we plan to enjoy Christmas as a family – without spending too much!

How is your Christmas planning going? Do you try to shop local or, like me this year, end up using Amazon?

 

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Saving for Christmas…Part One

saving for Christmas via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

 

Okay so I’m sorry for mentioning that word when November has just started!

But I’ve been thinking lately about how to finance Christmas this year. We had an unexpected bill to pay last month which has had a knock on effect for the next few months. Suffice to say I am determined to keep the coming festive season as simple, low key and cost effective as possible. With money slightly tighter it’s also a good excuse to re-evaluate what we spend our money on at Christmas and why.

This year I have decided to fund all our Christmas spending (food, drink, presents, trips to family) from a few sources:

  • Dedicated Savings Fund (I put a little money away every month to fund Christmas, family birthdays and a bit of our summer holiday spending. Of course it’s never enough!) £180
  • Tesco Clubcard vouchers. Actually we don’t have any this year as I haven’t shopped there for ages. Normally I turn the points into a voucher for eating out so we can have a family meal at Pizza Express, or somewhere similar. Not this year, though. £0
  • Nectar points. I do have a few points but not more than £10. They will probably go towards food shopping. £10
  • Boots Advantage Points. Every year I save all my points and, with some thoughtful ‘three for two’ purchases can pick up the girls’ stocking fillers from here. £15
  • Quidco rewards. I signed up to the Quidco cashback site last year and, through some careful online purchasing, have made nearly £100 in cashback. I now have a dilemma: do I get these rewards paid into my Paypal account or exchange them (for a higher rate) for Amazon vouchers?  £96.40 £73.82
  • Loose change. I collect all the coppers during the year and, apart from a splurge on the 2p slot machines on holiday, keep the rest. I can then exchange them for a supermarket voucher in the ‘Coinstar’ machine. It may amount to a couple of quid. £3ish
  • Usual food & drink budget. I will try to use part of our usual monthly food budget to buy most of the seasonal food and drink. £150
  • Facebook Sales. I have set myself a target of £50 to earn from selling equipment, clothing, toys and games we no longer need. This also helps to de-clutter the house before the next onslaught of presents from relatives. £50

I have begun to de-clutter and take stock of what I can sell for the latter project. And I have come across an interesting dilemma. You may remember a while ago I wrote this post about whether it’s right to make money from things that were given for free?

It is still something I feel strongly about.

However when a family friend gave us a lot of costume jewellery a few weeks ago I was very tempted to sell it on. The jewellery comes from places like Accessorize, Pilgrim, M&S and Claire’s Accessories and some of it has never been worn. I began to sort through it last week, detailing and pricing it.

But something felt wrong.I know the friend had given it for my girls to wear but they already have a lot of necklaces and bracelets. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if I sold it for profit but I still felt uncomfortable.

So, after some serious thinking, I have decided to sell it online but pass all the funds onto Save the Children. Anything I don’t sell I will donate to the new-look store in Bath when I visit next week.

I’m going to write another post on what I’m going to spend my money on for Christmas this year. I’m also going to use this Christmas as an opportunity to slim down the list of whom we buy presents for (and who buys presents for us, when we don’t really need them).

How are you saving for Christmas? Is there anything you are going to do differently this year?

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