Monday, 5 December 2011

Christmas austerity (aka Scrooge like tendencies)

Well times are tight... how to economise on the Christmas time spending spree?  Hmmmm.

I'm sorry, try as I might we still shop at Tesco.  One beneficial side effect of this is their double your points offers (part of their reward scheme).  This year I took full advantage and bought some toys and alcohol direct in the store - with vouchers that during a specified period of time can be exchanged for double the face value. I do think you need an A level or something in how to redeem vouchers, but I was on a mission and nothing would deter me from it.

Although I was pleased with myself, I had to go back and buy a toy I didn't really want as I was one penny short of my voucher sum - and you have to spend equal to or more than the total value.  (I was informed of this by someone who took rather too much pleasure at the prospect of making me stand at the back of the five mile queue again).

I bought quite a few gifts at local craft fairs.  Good value for money, locally made.  Result.

I thought about culling the card writing... but still can't bring myself to do it.  We've many visitors over December so all cards and gifts that can be handed out, are being.  Just to save on the postage.

I received a few items ordered from Amazon.  Unfortunately a smashed nail varnish in one parcel ruined the packaging of the other items contained therein.  Amazon replaced immediately and did not want the originals returned.  Of course this is great service and they now have a loyal customer who will continue buying from them.  I have re-packed the affected items myself though and they are still going to be gifted - albeit smelling pungently of ethyl acetate.

G10 is looking to wrap up some pre-loved books to share this Christmas.

If I could I would make beautiful things... but I am just not talented enough.

I try to buy thoughtful presents.  But they will not be expensive things I'm afraid.  J and I rarely buy much for each other - just a small gift so G10 can see us giving and receiving.  This saves us money.  If there is something we particularly need or want we can always treat ourselves in the January sales and pay half the price for it.

We've never bought much for G10 either.  She asks for little.  She is always pleased with whatever she gets.  Certainly until she was 7 or 8 we could have given her a cardboard box and she'd have been happy with that.  We try to save for her regularly though instead.  And of course she has grandparents and a large family that spoil her.  She does OK.  I also think that it's important not to get everything handed to you on a plate just because you asked for it.  Santa has limits.  (Perhaps I'm a cruel mummy). 

I refuse to go into debt over Christmas. 

Ahh the Christmas tree.   Now they have become expensive.  But really it's our only decoration. We have a few other bits and bobs around.  But the tree is predominantly it.  OK I splurged here - but it's a gift to all of us and our friends and family visiting over December and the festive period. 

Nadolig Llawen i pawb.

Our Christmas treat.


Midlife Singlemum said...

The tree is beautiful and the rest of Christmas will be a magical celebration of family time, games, singing, and enjoying the cosiness of it all. You are so right not to go into debt over it - what for?

Preseli Mags said...

I love the tree! It's such a lovely focal point in that room and well worth it. We can't afford one this year so I've got to be creative - I'm sure I'll find something knocking around here though. I'm right with you on the austerity stuff - that's why my presents are mostly hand made this year (and last, come to think of it). Clever shopping is good shopping.

Rob-bear said...

Shw mae.

Such a delightful tree. And locally-made crafts for presents. Very good all round.

And we sympathize. Just about everyone has been put on David Cameron's austerity budget. Including that notorious Santa character, who allegedly lives in Canadian territory, at the North Pole.

Mark Heydon said...

It sounds like in either going to get a crappy toy from Tesco or something that smells of nail varnish ;) x

the veg artist said...

I don't think you are a cruel Mummy - I think you are very sensible. I don't think it's fair to bring a child up with the idea that they can have everything. At some point, they have to grasp that what they spend, they must first earn.
Hubby and I were talking about Tesco the other day.
Now, on the vouchers side, we do very well. He works away, and has his car serviced in a large chain garage which accepts Tesco vouchers at an excellent exchange rate. Everything he spends is charged to his Tesco credit card, so with high mileage, that really contributes as well!
What we were talking about, though, was the excellent choice of food that they offer. Now I know all about monopoly issues regarding supermarkets, issues about how suppliers are treated, and how they are in danger of taking over the world. I also remember what the shops were like in this part of the world in the early 60's. There was a Home & Colonial in Bridge Street. Vincent Davies set up a small supermarket in the shop where the Moon and Sixpence is. I remember the novelty of picking up a basket, instead of being served. (I was still a child, then!) The old Market Hall, in Market Street, was essential on Saturday mornings. There was the butcher, baker, and even two old ironmongers in town.
In this small, market town in West Wales, we would have been talking pre-Elizabeth David in terms of food choices. I don't know how much that could have changed without Tesco and their ilk. I can't see that our local shops would have been able to afford to stock so many lines.
We are offered so much choice, yet it seems to be p.c. to knock it.
I, for one, would not go back to the choice of the 1960's.
Sorry. Rant over.
Lovely tree!!!

Chris Stovell said...

I think you've got exactly the right approach, especially with G. She's rich in love and that's what really counts. (Think Tom and I bought each other a house for Christmas - there's nothing left in the kitty now!)

Charlie said...

Lovely tree and nice to hear about other peoples thought on money saving at Christmas.

Cait O'Connor said...

Beautiful tree.
I agree you need a degree to understand Tesco vouchers..... I have cut back big time this year on presents and gave up sending cards years ago - I still have friends!

Kath said...

I love your tree! What other decorations do you need when you have such a beauty of a tree. All we put up are the cards and a tree.

I think you're doing Christmas the right way. It's not about, or shouldn't be about, the amount of money spent but the time spent with family, friends and loved ones.

Lins' lleisio said...

Thank you one and all for your lovely comments. I do appreciate them. You raise interesting and thought provoking points (hmm had me thinking 'the veg artist' - that's a good thing.) It makes it all worthwhile. Somebody (whose name I won't mention) may not be getting anything at all from Santa’s little visit now ;) xx

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