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  • FIRST POST
    • YORKSHIRELASS
    • By YORKSHIRELASS 1st Oct 09, 10:57 AM
    • 4,621Posts
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    YORKSHIRELASS
    Christmas Crisis
    • #1
    • 1st Oct 09, 10:57 AM
    Christmas Crisis 1st Oct 09 at 10:57 AM
    This will be my first Christmas since I had my LBM. I had saved up some money for Christmas presents but unfortunately we have had a few unexpected bills and there is very little left. I know the right thing to do is to sit down and work out what (if any!!) spare cash I will have over the next couple of months and do a budget but I wondered if anyone had any tips how to make this work in practice?

    My kids are 9 and 11 and I have already said to them there wont be loads of cash for presents this year and the 9 year old said "thats OK, Santa will bring us some presents anyway".

    Its soooo tempting to just put it on credit and I am scared of falling off the wagon.

    I have also had a conversation with my sister (my family are big on Christmas) and told her money was a bit tight this year and suggested we scale down the present buying. Her reponse was "oh dont worry, I understand, you just buy us what you can afford". This wasnt really what I wanted, I dont want to buy her family really cheap presents and then receive something expensive in return.

    I know Christmas should be about a lot more than presents but there is just so much pressure to spend. Wish I could fast forward to January and skip it altogether. Does anyone else feel the same?

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    Last edited by MSE Deborah; 06-10-2009 at 8:01 PM.
Page 1
  • HillyBillie
    • #2
    • 1st Oct 09, 11:03 AM
    • #2
    • 1st Oct 09, 11:03 AM
    Okay, my big tip is to join a local Freecycle list, if you haven't already. Don't ask all at once, but you could post requests for various things that your kids and general family might like. These lists are SO useful and full of generous people. While on the list, you can also keep your eyes open for items coming up that might suit as well.

    One word of warning, you have to be a bit obsessive to get in there first and claim the items up for grabs, as they can disappear very quickly.

    Oh, as a fab example of how this can work, I got hold of two very old sewing machines for my Mum's birthday this year. Free to a good home, needed a little bit of attention (my Mum is also very into DIY, so perfect for her that way too) and one of them even had the origianl bill of sale in a drawer, along with a piece of newspaper from 1920 something. They were the perfect present, I could never have afforded to buy anything that would have pleased her half so much!

    But I've also seen lots of kiddy stuff on there, from Wendy houses to games consoles. Highly recommended!

    HB
    • dancingfairy
    • By dancingfairy 1st Oct 09, 11:05 AM
    • 8,961 Posts
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    dancingfairy
    • #3
    • 1st Oct 09, 11:05 AM
    • #3
    • 1st Oct 09, 11:05 AM
    Hi - maybe this thread will give you some help and encouragment:
    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=1976161
    Best of Luck
    df
    Making my money go further with MSE
    How much can I save in 2012 challenge
    75/1200
  • pir
    • #4
    • 1st Oct 09, 11:07 AM
    • #4
    • 1st Oct 09, 11:07 AM
    Hey,

    You aren't the only one. There is a Christmas thread in the special occasion section of the forum (sorry cannot link to it). There was also a thread on debt-free with a similar problem. Those threads have some great tips.

    Sit down and work out a budget do you know exactly what you have to spend. It's about the experience not the presents.

    I would concentrate on being able to have a good dinner (again this can be done on the cheap), and presents for the children. Your sister etc are not the priority.

    See if you can buy one of the items your children would like (one of the must have items even if it's the cheapest must have). Then buy lots of little things. Wrap everything up with cheap wrapping paper, even the stocking filler little things, as the unwrapping is the fun bit, not the presents.

    Buy a few family games (give them as presents even) as that means you have lots to do over the holiday period together. Family games can be picked up in supermarkets if you buy their version and not the original. Card games, quizzes are the best for these kinds of days.

    As for your sister, make a present. How about a picture of you two when you were young in a nice photo frame. A cheap photo frame with an actual photo is much better than an expensive one with no photo. It's the thought that counts. Don't worry if she buys you something more expensive, let her as you will be giving back a thoughtful present.
    • dancingfairy
    • By dancingfairy 1st Oct 09, 11:22 AM
    • 8,961 Posts
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    dancingfairy
    • #5
    • 1st Oct 09, 11:22 AM
    • #5
    • 1st Oct 09, 11:22 AM
    Start shopping now - I know Boots have started selling off last years stock etc and I suspect other shops etc might start having the old sale to clear out for the new stuff - so there may be some good bargains to be had.
    Also you can go for the hamper style things - ie hot chocolate or pampering ones or gardening ones or kiddy ones etc - you can make them look really expensive and posh with some careful shopping and a bit of celephane/ribbon etc.
    Here is the special occassion board and there seems to be a couple of threads on there to look at:
    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/forumdisplay.html?f=101
    df
    Making my money go further with MSE
    How much can I save in 2012 challenge
    75/1200
  • robsmum
    • #6
    • 1st Oct 09, 11:31 AM
    • #6
    • 1st Oct 09, 11:31 AM
    Hi, Agree with other posters and their suggestions. But heres a few more ideas. Suggest to your sister that you only buy for the children (we've done it for years) once it was suggested it was "why didn't we think of it before". Also suggest you only buy for each others kids on a set price.
    .
    Games etc are available on freecycle but also Ebay. I've sold almost new games for a couple of pounds on there.

    Do a meal plan from Christmas Eve until 2nd Jan as soon as possible, then split it into weeks and add bits to weekly shop. That works really well for me and means the last shop is only fresh stuff.

    Don't give into to pressure and put everything on CC.
    Good Luck
    Debt at start of DMP 1/6/09: 2942 - 1942
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  • Moneytroubles
    • #7
    • 1st Oct 09, 11:39 AM
    • #7
    • 1st Oct 09, 11:39 AM
    Hi YorkshireLass

    My sister often gets new and nearly new gifts from carboots for kids and grown ups, for example a couple of weeks ago she got a brand new body shop gift set with tags for 2!

    she keeps telling me to go along with her - I should really! X
    6 debts cleared since joining MSE
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  • pir
    • #8
    • 1st Oct 09, 11:40 AM
    • #8
    • 1st Oct 09, 11:40 AM
    Car boot sales as well, start going to pick up some cheap toys. Also consider clearing out your old junk by doing a car boot. Please note people seem to think they can generate lots from a carboot sale but in reality items are sold for pennies rather than pounds. I say anything from 40 up is good at a general carboot (selling smaller general stuff).

    If you have friends with slightly older children they may be doing a clearout and have some old toys/games for you.
    • misspoppy
    • By misspoppy 1st Oct 09, 11:40 AM
    • 1,006 Posts
    • 614 Thanks
    misspoppy
    • #9
    • 1st Oct 09, 11:40 AM
    • #9
    • 1st Oct 09, 11:40 AM
    Hi

    A few years ago we arranged to buy for the kids and do a secret santa for the adults so we got one decent present instead of 6 rubbish ones, its so much better and cheaper. Suggest this to your family and explain to them as you have to us that you don't want to buy rubbish.

    One year my sister spent 20 each on her two kids they were over the moon, ask grandparents to buy some of the more expensive gifts that the kids want that way you dont get stuck with the whole bill, I always try to buy good gifts for my nephews because I know their Mum can afford it. Get the kids to help make jams and chutney's or even truffles which are very easy to make and can be shared amongst several people.
  • pir
    Is there the possibility that your children would share one big present, e.g. a wii which lots of people could chip in and help buy thus keeping the illusion of santa going?
    • dancingfairy
    • By dancingfairy 1st Oct 09, 11:47 AM
    • 8,961 Posts
    • 7,344 Thanks
    dancingfairy
    You could try the whole I'm really skint can I just buy for the kids thing and if your sister really really wants to buy you a present maybe suggest she gives some money to the tsunami/flood victims that need it at the moment or to your favourite chaity or buy some chickens/goats or whatever Oxfam etc are doing at the moment.
    df
    Making my money go further with MSE
    How much can I save in 2012 challenge
    75/1200
    • dancingfairy
    • By dancingfairy 1st Oct 09, 11:50 AM
    • 8,961 Posts
    • 7,344 Thanks
    dancingfairy
    You could do the whole voucher thing for her ie a morning/s gardening/evening babysitting/ cook a cake when she wants it/ironing etc - won't cost you anything about from your time and she can redeem the vouchers when she needs it?
    df
    Making my money go further with MSE
    How much can I save in 2012 challenge
    75/1200
    • learn2cope
    • By learn2cope 1st Oct 09, 11:50 AM
    • 85 Posts
    • 522 Thanks
    learn2cope
    Hi
    Originally posted by misspoppy

    A few years ago we arranged to buy for the kids and do a secret santa for the adults so we got one decent present instead of 6 rubbish ones, its so much better and cheaper. Suggest this to your family and explain to them as you have to us that you don't want to buy rubbish.

    One year my sister spent 20 each on her two kids they were over the moon, ask grandparents to buy some of the more expensive gifts that the kids want that way you dont get stuck with the whole bill, I always try to buy good gifts for my nephews because I know their Mum can afford it. Get the kids to help make jams and chutney's or even truffles which are very easy to make and can be shared amongst several people.
    Originally posted by misspoppy



    We are doing the secret santa thing this year with the adults - such a good idea! We have then set a limit of 10 for each child (excluding our own). I have nearly finished shopping for my own children aged 4 and 6, and I have done it by looking online for what I think they would like and then finding other sources to buy from such as ebay. For example, I have bought my daughter a vtech laptop, which retails at 80 in toys r us, from ebay for 20. It works fine, is in good condition but the box is damaged. I'm going to a buy a cheap laptop bag for 5 to put it in and I know my DD will be over ther moon .

    Another money saving tip I learnt from my parents is to fill up the stockings with things that you would of had to buy in the new year anyway, e.g. new toothbrush, toothpaste, flannel, soap, bubble bath, underwear, socks, pencil case .......I always try and buy nicer, but still reasonably priced, ones at christmas as all year we only buy own brand soap etc.
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    • YORKSHIRELASS
    • By YORKSHIRELASS 1st Oct 09, 12:31 PM
    • 4,621 Posts
    • 38,708 Thanks
    YORKSHIRELASS
    Some really great suggestions, thank you, you have given me inspiration! I am going to try and pin my kids down to a list of things they really want. I can then pick one thing off the list that I can afford and pass some of the other ideas on to grandparents and other family members. That way they get things they want without me buying them all. I am also going to start trawling ebay for things like second hand DS games.

    I have a feeling my family wont be keen on the secret santa idea sadly. I am inspired by the idea of doing mini hampers though and I need to start looking in the pound shops/charity shops for more ideas.

    I am also going to start buying a few extra non-perishable food items every week and squirrelling them away, lots of christmas goodies are on offer at the moment.

    I think I just needed people to tell me it was possible to still have a proper christmas without blowing the budget or using the credit cards.
  • pir
    It's possible. I think more people should do Christmas on a budget.

    I saw a few DS games in toys r us for 5. No idea what they are like but you can get some games really cheap.

    Check out the freebie boards as well. Maybe consider spending an hour or two a week entering competitions. Fair enough it's essentially a lottery (free to enter) and the prizes probably wouldn't be drawn until next year but it would give you a start for birthdays and christmas next year.
    • misspoppy
    • By misspoppy 1st Oct 09, 12:44 PM
    • 1,006 Posts
    • 614 Thanks
    misspoppy
    Hi

    we always buy christmas food in with our normal shop as soon as we see it in the shops, I already have the biscuits and after eights. The other thing is I won't buy pringles or monster size tins of chocolate as they are just so bad for you, no one needs to eat that much rubbish. My BF's mum buys all that nonsense and what ever the magazines suggest I don't get it, one year she produced the list of recomeneded wines and asked me which to buy and I asked what was wrong the the rose we all like? It's one day, an extra special sunday dinner if you really break it down, I don't want to ruin the day feeling bloated and rubbish I buy what we like and enough for us to eat at the table I don't want to eat reheated sprouts for a week, the left over turkey will go into a pie but I won't buy to excess because I don't want to eat to excess.
  • Red Fraggle
    I do a spreadsheet - writing down everyones names / present ideas and estimated costs plus actual costs - so I can see if I'm up or down
    seems very sad but helps me focus
    I never used to spend as much on presents as my friends when I had my LBM moment they were all still spending nw they are all tighting their belts :-)
    As it's being said get the kids to help - we did homemade biscuits for mothers day - only ex mum - in law commented it was a cheap present everyone else was chuffed xx We got a roll of cellopahne and ribbon of ebay and now DD wraps most things this way
    Do you have a Home Bargains or B+M near by B+M seem sgreat for most stuff
    good luck get organised and don't worry about other peopel or your kids - a couple of board games between them mean you get to spend qualitry time and a few laughs
    Last edited by Red Fraggle; 01-10-2009 at 1:09 PM. Reason: just realised how bad my typing is
    • QueenBeruthiel
    • By QueenBeruthiel 1st Oct 09, 1:22 PM
    • 232 Posts
    • 339 Thanks
    QueenBeruthiel
    At the risk of sounding like Scrooge... Christmas is a con. The big retailers make a huge slice of their annual sales/profits at Christmas and spend heavily on advertising to practically force people to buy. People feel that they "have to" buy because relatives like the OP's sister have already set a benchmark. It just gets mad.

    It's possible to have an enjoyable Christmas without blowing on just one day and then being in debt for months afterwards.
    Last edited by QueenBeruthiel; 01-10-2009 at 1:24 PM.
    • DarkConvict
    • By DarkConvict 1st Oct 09, 1:46 PM
    • 6,248 Posts
    • 3,056 Thanks
    DarkConvict
    At the risk of sounding like Scrooge... Christmas is a con. The big retailers make a huge slice of their annual sales/profits at Christmas and spend heavily on advertising to practically force people to buy. People feel that they "have to" buy because relatives like the OP's sister have already set a benchmark. It just gets mad.

    It's possible to have an enjoyable Christmas without blowing on just one day and then being in debt for months afterwards.
    Originally posted by QueenBeruthiel
    I do agree with this. Christmas is about been together but it has been profited on for years by the retail industry, using extensive advertising to get kids to nag parents for expensive presents. To kids is a magical moment but is a money nightmare for everyone else.
    I don't buy Christmas card anymore, and i am careful on who i buy presents for.
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    • SmlSave
    • By SmlSave 1st Oct 09, 2:38 PM
    • 4,705 Posts
    • 16,571 Thanks
    SmlSave
    Ahhh, I love Christmas My favorite's part's the stockings and the cheese and biscuits in the evening

    We're going to agree a budget with the family this year (Dad's out of a job so they're up for it)

    I'm searching the shops at the mo (mis-season sales) for anything that might catch my eye.

    Its definitely possible to have a great Xmas on a budget Yorkshire lass I give everyone fruitcakes to bulk out what little thing I get them.
    Boy Smllet born 23/06/2011 and Girl Smllet born 01/03/2014

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