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Thrifty Gifty Santas Challenge 2014

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mum2onemum2one Forumite
16.3K posts
Xmas Saver!
A big warm welcome to old friends and new and here's to a money neutral 2014, here we try to find all the bargains and along the way have fun with the challenges, including the famous Miss Hoodie challenge - which is always a cleaning one.

Santas Challenge - That special day of the month, the 24th, where we have a challenge, I always say think of it as a pick and mix, if you fancy a task then great grab it, if you've already done it or haven't got it no problem pull up a cup of tea and chill and relax.

Your among friends here, whether you want to moan about that special man, or lack of a gd man (in my case!), or your stuck on what to buy a family member, that man in your life, between us all, I'm sure we can help if you get stuck.

Thank you to everyone for making 2013 Santas Challenge so special and heres to 2014 version.
xx rip dad... we had our ups and downs but we’re always be family xx


  • mum2onemum2one Forumite
    16.3K posts
    Xmas Saver!

    1. Make a list of everyone you need presents for in a dedicated Gift Notebook which you carry around incase you spot any bargains when out, and set up a spreadsheet for Birthdays, Christmas and money earned, - I do have a basic spreadsheet, if anyone wants a copy please send me a private message with an email address and I can send it out to you. (Always delete once know you've got it safe and sound).

    2. Keep your eye out in the sales for anything that might suit that person for their birthday or Christmas - try and buy it with loyalty points/vouchers

    3. Make a note of how much you spend on Your spreadsheet, your soon find that your budget and what you spend - hopefully by the end of the year the spend will be a lot less.

    4. Try and earn the cash to cover your purchases see following post for a few thoughts

    5. Keep us posted on how you are doing with your bargains, earnings and how you are

    6. Subscribe to this thread - come back to us! Click Thread tools above and click ‘subscribe’ then you can get emails to your inbox whenever there is a new post!

    7. At Christmas have a notepad ready, not only handy if you have children and they need to write thank you letters, but also if you need to regift an item, then your not giving it to the same person.

    8. Christmas Cards - What we do is recycle the Christmas cards into gift tags for the following Christmas, you can pick up a pair of kids scissors that have the patterned edges, and these are available for under £1.00

    Birthday Tags - You can also do the same with birthday cards.

    Save using Expensive Tags - What I do is before I wrap the present I cut a small strip of the side,

    Rose, Flower, Teddy -patterned paper - I cut around a design and use this as a matching tag.

    Spotted or plain paper - Cut a strip and make it into a cloud shape

    We'd love you to join us – feel free to join in whenever you feel like it.
    xx rip dad... we had our ups and downs but we’re always be family xx
  • mum2onemum2one Forumite
    16.3K posts
    Xmas Saver!

    Valued Opinions (– Payment at £10 – can redeem for Amazon instantly or collect HMV,Tesco, Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, Topman, Marriot Hotel/Spa vouchers,Argos, Boots or donate to a charity. Paper vouchers usually arrive in 4 weeks.Surveys vary in length and payment. You will always be informed how long itshould take, and they are generally spot on. On occasions there are opportunities to join online forums where you earn extra cash, in addition tothe surveys.

    (You get notified when there is a survey)

    Onepoll – Payment at £40 Paid by BACS,Paypal or cheque. The surveys are very quick, and there are many a day, you need to keep checking back. £2.50 credit when you join.

    (You need to check for surveys, but do check as some are money others are not, so worth looking at them)

    Toluna – Payment when you reach 80,000 points, whichis equivalent to £15. The payment is made by paper voucher, and you can choosewhere to spend it. There’s HMV, love to shop (these can be spent at a variety of stores with just the one voucher), Debenhams, CD WOW, Halfords and Amazon (EVoucher but not instantly). This is the bugbear with toluna, payment can takeanything from 6 – 10 weeks, it’s a bit hit and miss.

    (You get notified when there is a bigger points survey, but when you click onto the toluna site under "surveys" then "polls" there are small little ones which are a quick turnaround of points and are 15 points plus, but they do add up over time)

    NewVistaLive – Payment is according to how long your survey lasts, anything from £1 upwards. Payment is at £50 by cheque

    There is a seperate suvey company attatched within NewVistaLive - Clint - they pay the same ratio as NVL)

    - This is an American site, the payout can be by cheque or paypal, the minimum payout is 1,000 points, depending on the exchange rate is around £30, they also offer paypal, at the moment the payment minimum after 1,000 points, its 1087 points, and this is £30. There are now a lot of options regarding payment.

    (They contact you regarding surveys, the surveys are paid in points, but do check as some are sweepstakes)

    Maximiles - You have to opt to do surveys on the tab to be sent surveys. You also get points for clicking through the emails they send you and you can also watch videos and rate for 5 points on each. It is also a cashback site. Surveys are a bit scarce but it’s worth joining. There is a link on the site for freepoints, which is worth looking at too.
    You can order vouchers or gifts - though getting anywhere can take a while.

    (It is a mix of contacting you and you logging in)

    Swagbucks - Although it is an American site, the UK user can earn rewards, but the UK user is limited to what they can cash out for. We are only able to claim paypal cash, and UK amazon vouchers

    The main way to earn money through this site is it has a searchbar youcan download onto your computer. Every day you use their tool bar to searchinstead of Google. Occasionally you will be rewarded with between 5 and 50swagbucks, up to 4 times per day. Sometimes the site will ask you to write in acode so it isn't an autobot earning the reward.

    Pinecone Research - This is quite a private site, (in a nice way), as membership seems to be limited, and they send you surveys, and sometimes you get product trials,

    (£3 per survey if completed - they notify you - paid by paypal)

    My Survey- There online surveys, some are points (get paid) others nonpayable, it does say whether you get paid. Points vary according to the length of the survey.
    You can cash out from as little as £3 into paypal or save for vouchers or larger paypal amounts.

    (They notify you, but you can also log on and see if there are any surveys in your account).

    YOUGOV -There are payable surveys as well as the non-payable which they call "oracle", these tend to have a stronger chance of finishing the survey, as they tend to be based on your profile.
    Payment is at £50.00 - by bacs (direct bank transfer), surveys from 25p to £1.50

    (They notify you when a survey is available).

    There are other survey sites out and about, the best source to search them out are though the up your income threads, I've revamped this information from the 2013 site.
    xx rip dad... we had our ups and downs but we’re always be family xx
  • mum2onemum2one Forumite
    16.3K posts
    Xmas Saver!

    Dooyoo - This is a write about products sites, from places you have visited to the new must have toy, basically everything is covered for. There are two ways to earn money on this site, Write a review, and also have your reviews read by others, you also need to review others to build up loyalty. You can make suggestions for new products, I think you can suggest up to 5 per week.

    Each review MUST be of good quality or your review will be locked and you WILL NOT receive payment at all. They must be over 150 words, of quality – if its nonsense, no-one will read, or rate This is most defiantly a site where, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours, comes into play. The more you rate other reviews, they are more inclined to rate yours. It is worth checking as products do change levels, sometimes items which was 10p may be 60p for a week.

    There are three levels to write in

    Level 1 - Each review written is worth 60p, and each time someone reads it, 3p.

    Level 2 - Review 30p and read 2p

    Level 3 - Review 10p and read 1p.

    You are paid in points, and can be cashed out at £20.00 for an Amazon voucher, or save to £50 for a cheque,

    Caio - This company is owned by Dooyoo, this is also a review site, it is run differently and things did change on this site, I think you only get paid if you are the first reviewer. You also get some points for people reading it.

    Buzz- Apologies I know very little - from what I understand is you write little snippets of reviews and also you need to review others, so when they review you , you get some points. This is an American company and earnt in dollars, which can be paid to a paypal account.
    xx rip dad... we had our ups and downs but we’re always be family xx
  • mum2onemum2one Forumite
    16.3K posts
    Xmas Saver!
    [COLOR="rgb(65, 105, 225)"]
    The two main ones I can think of are [/COLOR]-

    Onepoll - With this you can earn cash back though purchases, such as % back on your orders, as well as free rewards, such as a search for insurance or ordering a sim card. With this (Dec 2013) there are two levels of membership, basic or premium which gives you a higher cashback and or this £5 is taken yearly from your earning, - if you do not earn £5 you don't pay.
    Depending on the purchases, you can get paid direct into your bank account, order amazon vouchers, Love to shop vouchers (or card).

    Quidco - Again this is the same principal as Onepoll a % or a set amount of money, with this you can earn through purchases, freebies (such as insurance search, free sim card). If you have a smart phone you can also set up the package where you can recieve discounts instore and offers.
    This is again a £5 taken from membership - as long as you earn £5 per year.
    With both sites it is worth checking before making an online purchase as the rates can vary between the two sites. The sites are not always the fastest of payments, some cashbacks can take upto 4 to 6 months, depending on the offer and the company, but you can log into your account and see what stage the cashback is.

    There are others such as Captain Cash back, Quanti, Ilovecashback etc(Google them, you’ll find loads) but these are the ones above have the best payment reputation, and can intervene when things don’t go to plan



    Disclaimer - This is just some general information and my personal thoughts, there here to give you an idea of what may or may not be available, and some suggestions hopefully to help you save towards the Birthday and the Festive Season.
    xx rip dad... we had our ups and downs but we’re always be family xx
  • mum2onemum2one Forumite
    16.3K posts
    Xmas Saver!
    EBay by Elysia (borrowed from a Lovely Lady Elysia2003 - updated from 2013 thread)

    My Quick Guide to selling on eBay.

    To sell on eBay you must first have registered, and you must also have a PayPal account and a landline.

    To sell you click 'Sell' at the top left hand corner. This is really quick as all the categories are chosen for you. You just have to choose which one is better suited to your product and highlight it. It’s really simple and self explanatory.

    At this point, you can choose to pay an extra 6p to have you listing finish at a time which is convenient to you AND your potential customers are at home (potentially placing last minute bids). If you are listing your items during the daytime, this is most highly recommended as you will recoup much more than 6p if you item sells. The best time for listings to end is anywhere between 6.30 and 10pm. The last minute bids can really bump up the prices.

    You have the option on both versions, to place the item on 'buy it now' this means that a buyer can purchase (at your stated price) at any time they require, without having to wait for the listing to end.

    You need to have items weighed and get some idea of postal charges. I get my information from

    In the My EBay 'Selling' section of the site, this is where all your information is held. You may see how much you item are listed for in red, and when it turns green you have a bid. Next to each listing is a counter of how many people are watching the item (with a view to placing a last minute bid of either just comparing to see if they can get it cheaper).

    Once the listing has gone green, the item will sell, whether or not you get further bids is whether or not other people require that item and are willing to pay more.

    When the listing ends, in My EBay section you will now have the option to send the winning bidder an invoice. Sometimes people pay, via PayPal before you have even sent this. This is when you know your item will be going to a good home, because they are eager to pay! Once they have paid the £ sign icon will turn blue.

    You are now able to parcel up your package and post it. I like to put a little note in there, thanking them for their purchase. At this point you may leave feedback for them and mark the item as dispatched.

    You have now, posted your parcels, and left feedback. You can now sit back and await the positive feedback.

    If an item does not sell, you are able to re-list again. Re-listing is much more straightforward than starting the whole process again. In My EBay, on the item that did not sell, you will find the tag - re-list this item, press that and the process starts again, as if by magic!
    [COLOR="rgb(46, 139, 87)"]
    (Little mum2one add on - again personal thoughts)[/COLOR]
    When listing decide whether you want to take advantage of 1 day, 3 day, 7 day or 10 day listing, personally it depends on the listing and the time of the year.

    I find that if I can end an item on a Saturday or Sunday evening, then you tend to get the people that are at home, and have a better chance of last minute biddings.

    7 day Listing - List on a Saturday or Sunday

    10 day listing. Wed to end the following Sat, and Thurs to end on the Sunday.
    [COLOR="rgb(46, 139, 87)"]Listing.[/COLOR]
    Try to include as much relevant information as you can,

    eg - Selling Clothes
    Measure all options as you can be sure someone will leave it to the last minute to send a question about measurements, I also put in the listing if it is dry clean only or machine wash.
    Arm length - under arm measurement
    Bust - width from front and double that
    Inside Leg
    Total Length
    Skirt or trouser - Is it fixed waist or elastic.

    Free Listing Days
    Ebay do regular free listing days on items of 99p or more, - these are good if you have a more expensive item to sell and is good for buyers as there is more choices available, so you may lower as there will be choice.
    [COLOR="rgb(65, 105, 225)"]Fees.[/COLOR]
    It is not just the cost of postage, but the ebay listing fees, ebay final selling fees, (the item and postage) plus paypal - On both sites there are links to find out how much you would be paying if the item sells.
    xx rip dad... we had our ups and downs but we’re always be family xx
  • mum2onemum2one Forumite
    16.3K posts
    Xmas Saver!

    Facebook Sellers Groups

    There are many different facebook sellers groups, there is no fee for selling within these groups, so it may be worth looking at this, - take a photo list the details, and whether you will deliever or they need to collect.

    These are not only for I no longer need these items but also for items being offered, with these if you are interested in an item for offer, you email the person, generally if it is a popular item there may be a lot of people who want the item, if your successful you get notified and go from there.


    Most are lovely early morning starts, if the advert says 8am start, most of the time these could be as early as 6am starts.... Some venues you need to pre-book with, espically if it is an indoor venue or others such as schools may be running a car boot alongside a summer fayre and will have limited spaces.

    Prices do vary - general your looking at £5 per car, but sometimes you can get tables up, so if you can get a friend to go with you and share the cost.

    I would take drinks, a snack with me, plenty of change, some people prefer to price mark items, others a free for all, I personally try to price, as that way the buyer will have an idea of the cost, but be prepared to barter (both as a seller and buyer). Check your notes to make sure there not fakes as this does happen

    A quick tip, (try it at home 1st), is on the front of the note - almost central, near the top of the note same for £5, £10, £20 notes) the wording BANK OF ENGLAND this is raised, just a little but when you run your fingers across the rest of the note you can feel this raised section.


    Most areas have free weekly paper, with ours you can list items up to £200 for free, check when the cut off date is for adverts, great for bulkier items.

    xx rip dad... we had our ups and downs but we’re always be family xx
  • mum2onemum2one Forumite
    16.3K posts
    Xmas Saver!

    Remember to always use your cards for EVERY shop. It’s free money (well not free exactly, but if you were shopping there anyway ).

    If you go onto the Nectar site and download their search bar, you are able to earn extra nectar points just for searching.
    You can also get Nectar points through many retailers including British Gas, but they are all on the website.
    For spending you can spend at anytime - you can spend get items on the website, such as days out, breaks, discounts on events or spend them in the supermarket.
    (2 points per each £1 - 2 points =1p)

    BOOTS POINTS -If you go via the Boots website you can sign up to TREAT STREET and earn points from other retailers.
    A bonus within bigger Boots stores they have a Bonus machine, where you can chec your points, and also look at the available offers there is usually up to 9 offers, from bonus points, free gifts, discounts, - takes 30 seconds to look and generally a good range.
    Spending you can spend these anytime in store, I like to save mine for the sales
    (Generally 4 points to £1, (4p) look out for special offers, from parenting, spend £50 get £12 rewards)

    Sure this feels like the original scheme, collect points instore, online, petrol plus other retailers, there is more information on the website.

    To redeem - vouchers are sent out 4 times a year, with this comes a rewards booklet, (or you can redeem online) - you can use instore, as certain times of the year, they offer a "double up" promotion so your voucher becomes twice the face value, every £5 now be £10.

    Redeeming for offers, cineworld, Notional Trust, etc your voucher can be worth upto 4 times its face value,

    (Instore 1 point per pound spend, can also get green points for recyling bags, and if there is recycling machine, (think 4 cans = 1p) petrol 1 point per £2 petrol, plus other retailers)

    From experience - I have used some vouchers off a holiday, price between me paying for the holiday as Tesco part payment v me paying the lot, there was a difference in price, my difference was £12 dearer, but with looking at another site I had £50 vouchers, tripled would be £150 - but when I enquired the difference between using the voucher and not using it was £400 on a weeks holiday... so the £150 I would have used, I would have to find an additional £250... so shop around.

    Morrisons - There loyalty card is for petrol, when your card is full it is worth £5 off store visit.

    [COLOR="rgb(46, 139, 87)"]In general most retailers offer a loyalty program whether that is a coffee chain where you buy 6 drinks and get a free one, to a % spend in points, it is always worth collecting a loyalty card, even if it takes 12 months to get a free coffee, it would have cost you nothing so it's a bonus.[/COLOR]
    xx rip dad... we had our ups and downs but we’re always be family xx
  • mum2onemum2one Forumite
    16.3K posts
    Xmas Saver!
    [COLOR="rgb(75, 0, 130)"]Whether your having Turkey or another meat, make sure you've checked the defrosting time needed, and cooking time....

    Present opening Kit
    (Just a base to start you off with),
    Pen, notepad, scissors,binbag, glass of wine

    This way you can note who has given you want, in case you need to regift (so you don't give back to the same person!! or if you have little ones in case they send thank you,

    Binbag - pop the paper in (although some councils do offering recycling facilities

    Wine - In case of emergency!

    Taking Tree/Decorations down
    Not that we want to take it down before we have even got it up, when put items back, if there broke - let them go, label the box so there all in one place ready for next year.

    Presents for 2014
    Hopefully you have got a notebook or spreadsheet set up, even if it just a rough one to get you through, this way if you need to re-gift you can pop it straight on your list.

    The time of the year where our purses want to go on strike!! as the old saying goes "it's only a bargain if we need it".....

    Whether its something small such as tags, wrapping paper cards, or bigger as presents - there can be some bargains out there, it looks like online sales will be Christmas Day, and shops on Boxing Day

    Last Minute Items
    In reality there always be a corner shop that is open over the festive time, (but the prices are not so seasonal!! The day before Xmas Eve or a day which you find best, check the last minute extras - milk, bread, butter, cheese (all freezeable items, also Christmas Eve - the supermarkets will be reducing a lot of the fresh stock - there may be some bargains to have!!

    Mother Hen Moment
    Just a quick recap to see if there is anything you need

    Prescriptions -have you got enough to see you through

    Over the counter - plasters, headache, upset tums

    House - matches, candles, batteries

    Spare Present - If you don't need it, get an extra treat or a gift ready for 2014

    - Cash machines - no-one peering over shoulder

    Services - if you are on pre-pay meters - check that you have enough to get through.

    Petrol - Garages are only usually closed Christmas Day, - but again if you can avoid Christmas Eve and Boxing Day - be a lot better!

    Miss Hoodies Corner
    It wouldn't be a challenge without a Miss Hoodie cleaning corner - Miss Hoodie thinks with all the extra work Christmas brings we're all be busy enough tidying up, cooking, cleaning and being Superwoman so we can a little rest

    New Year Challenge
    set yourself a challenge for the New Year, whether that is to be money neutral for the presents, something you've wanted to do - cross stitch, learn to crochet or knit, try a new hobby. Whether it is something that take 5 minutes or all year, - just let us know what your doing, and how your doing!
    xx rip dad... we had our ups and downs but we’re always be family xx
  • Thanks mum2one :)

    My aim for 2014 is to wrap along the way. Have spent practically all weekend wrapping and we're still not done! :rotfl:
    Sealed Pot Challenge - No. 117
    Bank of Mum & Dad - £3150/£10,000 (£6850 to go) Bank of In Laws - £4600/£12,000 (£7400 to go)
    MFW - MFD - [STRIKE]5 Apr 2029[/STRIKE] 5 June 2025 : AIM = NOV 2019 (back up aim = MAR 2023)
  • mrs-moneypennymrs-moneypenny Forumite
    15.5K posts
    thank you for the new thread mum2one
    SPC~12 ot 124

    In a world that has decided that it's going to lose its mind, be more kind my friend, try to Be More Kind
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