I have never hidden the fact that when it comes to money we don’t have much. With a single income coming in and 3 boys plus living expenses there isn’t normally a lot left! We have had to be a little money savvy at times. Although I am self employed blogging, I can never depend on actually having invoices paid on time. So the money I make is used for our little luxuries in life. With Christmas fast approaching it’s time I crack down on the budgets so we can pay for Christmas.
I am one of the parents who likes to have a big pile of gifts under the tree for the boys to unwrap. Although year after year I ask myself why? The boys are not able to appreciate the gifts fully as they are pretty bombarded. So each year our gift pile is getting smaller and smaller. The budget for the boys gifts are around £100/£150 each however that isn’t set in stone. Last year I was able to shop super savvy and between them so although their worth is a lot, in reality it was cheaper.
This year we are buying a family gift, and then one “big” present each with a handful of smaller gifts. Thankfully Santa brings their stockings and that has remained the same each year; Stationery, a couple of small gifts, satsuma and chocolate which is all rather inexpensive.
My Christmas Budget tips
We meal plan anyways. Although I stopped blogging about it, I have shared a few of my meal plans online. I find having a menu to stick to makes shopping easier. Around Christmas time I tend to try and eat out the freezer more. I bulk buy so it is cheaper and frozen veg and meat is still just as healthy as fresh.
When it comes to present shopping, my tip? it is to prepare. I have 13 nieces and nephews and each year I buy them a gift. I would love to spend loads on them but the reality is I need to make my money stretch. Argos and Smyths have offers such as 2 for £15. More often than not you can save money and still buy a lovely gift. There are also other offers running too. Sainsbury’s has a pretty awesome toy sale pre Christmas, as do Argos and in November there is also Black Friday!
Saving money by switching suppliers
Another thing that can be done would be to try and reduce the costs of utilities. We try to do this every year for energy, mobile phones and broadband. The most important thing to do as we head into the cold and damp conditions is ensure that we are with the right energy company. Energy companies are renowned for increasing prices so switching can bring huge savings. Increasing prices brings us on to mobile phones, whilst they don’t always bump up prices, it’s very rare for a network to tell you when your contract is over, so many customers continue paying the same monthly amount for longer than they need to.
My tip is to put your contract end date as a reminder in your calendar, then when it ends you have two choices to make: keep your existing phone and switch to a sim only plan, or take out a new contract and get a new phone. With money-saving being the goal, keeping your phone is going to be cheaper but if you’re intent on getting something new, make sure you compare contract prices vs. buying outright and using it with SIM only. This SIM only vs. contract calculator can quickly show you which is cheaper. And remember you can always sell your old mobile on eBay to use towards purchasing a new one outright.
There are also some websites online you can join to answer surveys, They often pay little, but it is a good way to build up some funds throughout the year. Some websites pay directly to your bank account others pay out in vouchers.
*This is a collaborative post