A Credit Crunch Christmas Carol

Christmas is drawing near – it must be, as already there is a multitude of Xmas rubbish in my local shops! It’ll only be a matter of time before the dulcet tones of Noddy Holder and Wizard et al start blaring out from everywhere.

But I’m wondering how different the festive season will feel this year compared to previous ones. So many people are feeling the pinch right now. Friends of mine are so concerned that they or their partners might be laid off work between now and Christmas that it’s hard to even think about planning for it. Lots of firms are considering redundancies and busy consulting with the unions. One of my mates was telling me that when her partner’s line manager showed up for work in a tie the other day everyone panicked, thinking he’d dressed up to deliver redundancies. It turned out he actually just had a lunch date with an important client, but such is the fear out there at the coal face.

Will this mean a frugal and subdued Yuletide as everybody holds back on their spending – Marks & Spencers earlier this week reported sales down by a third and said consumer sentiment was actually weakening in the run up to Christmas. Or at the last minute will shoppers go crazy – kicking back after what’s been a tough year for many people? It’ll be interesting to see. As for DJ and I, we certainly want to have a fun Christmas, but we’ll be trying to conserve as much cash as possible this year, more than ever.

I’d love to hear what you’ll be doing differently this Christmas, if anything, and your best frugal Christmas tips . Do get in touch and I’ll publish a list of the best ones.

I’m having a break for the next couple of weeks but will see you in a fortnight’s time. See you soon!

How do you plan to enjoy the festive season?  Got any good frugal tips for enjoying Christmas? Leave a message or send me an email and let me know.

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11 Responses to A Credit Crunch Christmas Carol

  1. Christine says:

    You could have a clear up round the house and sell any "stuff" that you\’ve got that you hate/don\’t use on eBay for savings for Christmas or you could do a car boot sale. It may be that you can get just the item wanted and it may just need a bit of touching up. Shopping early for Christmas is also good – Woolworths  have just finished a 3 for 2 toys sale which must have been a great help for parents with small children. And resist pester power. There\’s no reason to believe the "everyone is getting one and all my friends will have one" tune. Savings in something like a credit union all year if you have no other form of banking help for Christmas – better than farepak type ideas as credit union savings are guaranteed by the government where things like farepak are not. Christmas decorations have been going through the charity shops for some time now. You can gather sticks after high winds and make your own tree – a can of spray on glitter is the only expense for this to make it look a bit glamorous. You can always make your own decorations. You can build up the food store cupboard with tins and packets – just one or two a week for some months in advance so that there\’s no need to have to worry about a last minute food blitz – but remember that you can still only eat the same amount of food so there\’s no point in buying more and to excess. Just buy a little different and better standard if you can so that the same amount of food feels like a feast. And shop around. There\’s no need to pay top whack for goods – plenty of shops want our money so take your pick of the bargains. I\’ve already seen that Christmas cards are being reduced!

  2. Kerri says:

    Christine, I am amazed at how many of the shops have Xmas cards reduced already. The town I live in has about 5 different card shops (not including all the supermarkets, charity shops and other stores selling cards), and one in particular (The Card Factory) has some really inexpensive cards and gift bags etc. Also, why not consider sending a christmas \’e-card\’ to those who you know this could be suitable for (I\’m not sure my in-laws would appreciate this but certainly my ex-school mates would). Not only do you save money on cards and stamps, but you\’re helping the environment too.
    don\’t forget to recycle xmas cards after the festive period – or a tip for next year.. cut out suitable pictures from the front of cards and use them as gift tags.

  3. Christine says:

    Kerri, I\’m equally amazed that there are special offers on toys at the start of November. I\’m a bit wary of e-cards as some of them come with a lot of nasty virus type attachments which are hard to get clear from the computer. This site has some discount codes for Christmas presents although not too many. There is the good old discount codes site which might well help you. It\’s always worth searching the charity shops (one near us has some good bicycles on offer) and car boot sales for those things that have been cleared out to make space for this year – you can also get rid of items at car boot sales. I know that there is a lot of odd stuff there but you can also pick up some good bargains. And it\’s worth keeping an eye on your local freecycle site for outgrown toys that are being cleared out. With a little cleaning up and touching up, these might just be exactly what is wanted.It\’s also worth supporting your local drama group if you want to go out and get along to their Christmas shows as these are often cheaper than the big professional events at large theatres. And they can be much more fun as these may well be people you know – oh and the jokes will often be quite local so much more funny as everyone will recognise the point.

  4. Kerri says:

    Hi Christine
    I\’ve just been into woolies today and seen a toy I bought a few weeks ago for £11.50 now back at full price for £25! It really does pay to start shopping early.
    Regarding the eCards, if you\’re not keen on using commercial eCard sites, why not have a go at making your own Xmas eCard and email it to your friends? A lot of pc\’s have clipart and some basic design programs included as standard these days so you don\’t have to be an IT whiz to creat something. You could even try scanning in your own pictures and personalise them.

  5. Christine says:

    It takes only a bit of creative thinking to come up with alternatives to excessive consumerism at Christmas. I liked the idea from from Students at Trinity Western University [Langley, BC, Canada] – they set up a free store, bringing things they didn\’t need and trading with each other.Time is often a bigger gift than money. Creating coupons that offer free babysitting or house cleaning, a neck massage or a special treat can mean more than a stocking stuffer.You could offer to teach someone a skill you have.Write a poem, tell a story, draw a picture or take a photograph and present it in a creative way. I know someone who did a college course to learn how to use some computer software so that he could do this each Christmas – he is good at stories and poems but just needed the extra skill in presentation. This is a carry on from Kerri\’s good idea about creating and emailing Christmas cards.

  6. Christine says:

    Of course some people volunteer over Christmas and use skills that they have with charities like Shelter. Other people drop in to see people in hospital, visit local housebound people for a chat so that they have a visitor if their family can\’t get to see them. Sometimes older people are happier to see someone at home for a visit as it doesn\’t disrupt their routine or tire them out or mean that they are dragged off to eat too much in an unfamiliar place. This can lead to unexpected friendships which roll on over the year long term. Various charities and churches will direct you towards people who would welcome a visitor over the festive season.

  7. Unknown says:

    Christmas year will be just the same as it has been in previous years. We  give money to our grandchildren until they are 21, then they fall off the list. As pensioners at that age they should be giving us money LOL.
    I make presents for friends and my email pals, and embroider cards on my sewing machine.
    I save my Tesco vouchers and the cash we get from the surveys we do to pay for extras at Christmas. During the year I buy a large joint of beef, we have it for Christmas dinner and I slice whats left and freeze it to use later in the year. We have an allotment which provides us with carrots, cauliflower and brussels as well as potato\’s to go with the beef. We neither of us are keen on Christmas pudding so I make a raspberry trifle for afters and we enjoy a bottle of wine.
    When the children were small they had one large present each from us and grandparents etc asked what they should give the children.
    We live in sheltered housing and I cook a lunch the week before Christmas for those of the residents who want to attend. Christmas day is spent on our own, our families have lives of their own, they all visit before Christmas,  we enjoy reading and have scrabble and monopoly or a jig saw which keeps us occupied if there is nothing we want to watch on TV.

  8. ecTuber.com says:

    I know this guy

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