Monday 19 December 2016

Feeling The Festive Strain? How You Can Have An Affordable Christmas 2017

Christmas is just around the corner, and many of us are looking forward to the festive build up, the tree and decorations have found room in our homes, the cupboards are full with condiments, stuffing mixtures and grandma's homemade Christmas pudding, the fridge freezer is resembling the supermarkets - full to the brim that you struggle to find what you're looking for, but some of us aren't in that situation, and for some having that situation is going to cost a small fortune.

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Sadly, it's a common occurrence at this time of year to see so many people struggling, I've been there myself so I'm not judging in anyway. Last November, I found myself in an unexpected financial position which left me in tears, and feeling like the world's worst mother, worrying about how I was going to put a single present under the tree, let alone loads of presents, then there was the Christmas food, the closest to turkey we was getting was turkey drummers. Fortunately my comping hobby paid off, and Christmas was saved thanks to a huge win, but it still scared me and made me do things different this year.

Whilst other years have seen me have a relaxed approach to spending, the year of 2016 was not only a new year, but a new way of life for me. I didn't have a plan of action, but I know things needed to change incase I found myself in that situation again, a situation I never want to find myself in again, and now as 2016 comes to an end, I'd like to show others how easily it can be done. I have been able to help a few friends budget better this year, and if I could help just one of my readers, I know this post has been what it was intended for.

First on my to do list was meal planning, one of my favourite bloggers - Kerry from Oh So Amelia meal plans, and I loved reading her post, not only does meal planning ensure you get a variety of foods into your weekly diet, it also saves you money as you don't impulse buy which I am terrible for! Before spending a penny on food I made a list of what was in my cupboards, fridge and freezer and was surprised to find items for eight meals which meant shopping for the first week of 2016 was just for bread, eggs, milk, a big block of cheese and drinks.

Next on my list and also another 2016 resolution was to get my house finished, I moved here in November 2014 - I've been here two years and have only managed to get two rooms done due to the cost of everything, I have had to strip the house back to it's foundations near enough, and it's cost me a small fortune and I'm not even a quarter of a way in. I didn't get as much as I wanted done this year, and considering my 2017 resolution was to get the gardens done, I think it's safe to say that those polytunnels I purchased are just going to have to wait another year.

So the house renovation is moving into 2017 with me, which is disheartening however I did find ways to reduce the cost (every cloud and all that!), which means I may be able to get it finished by the middle of the year! The trick here is not to shop local, of course I will still be hiring local professionals, but I'll be buying the materials myself to keep the cost down! By buying all the items I need online, like my upvc roof lanterns and upstairs carpets, I have estimated that I have saved myself £423, a massive saving which enables me to buy a better quality bed for myself - something that needs replacing badly!

Another one of my resolutions for 2016 was to save money, incase I ever found myself in that awful situation again. I tried unsuccessfully for two months using an old fashioned money jar, but I found myself dipping into it whenever I needed money for the bus, or a loaf of bread at the local corner shop. I spent a lot of time researching the best saving options for me and decided to open an account with the Credit Union - a scheme I plan to talk about lots in 2017 so keep your eyes peeled.

One of the things I was dreading last December after that unexpected turn of financial events was the Christmas food shop. We have always had cupboards full of food, an area designated for Christmas food traditions such as chocolates, fruit, nuts and crackers but sadly last year was a different story. To stop this happening again, I started saving up for my Christmas food shop by buying one or two Morrisons saving stamps each time I went there, they cost £1 each, so they wasn't a big cost, but once filled I had £100 to ensure we have a proper Christmas dinner, what's more - if you save £49 Morrisons give you £1 free, and save £97 they'll give you £3 for free!

Another way I have been cutting back this year is by using coupons, they've been around for years but don't seem to be as popular as they once was. Whilst America is in front of us with extreme couponing, it seems the UK hasn't quite caught onto the trend yet, I did however save over £100 by using coupons this year, and I plan to take my new found hobby into 2017 with me.

I have also made myself some extra money which has been extremely handy this year by using Swagbucks, a site that rewards you in gift cards for taking part in surveys, searching the web, watching videos and more, I have made a pretty decent amount from Swagbucks this year, and can't wait to see how much I make next year.

So there we have it, small changes but big savings! Keep an eye out on the blog in 2017 as I am going to be talking about money saving, budgeting and money making lots more!

Until next time,
Jada x


  1. It's amazing how the little amounts can add up. We did the Skintdad savings challenge (the penny a day for the number of the day of the year it is) which added up quite nicely. I've started to use Swagbucks but it seems like an awful lot of hard work.