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Let the great present wrapping commence!
This week involved juggling birthday celebrations and continuing Christmas prep on top of work.
Mind you, one of the articles I’m writing is a round up of the year, so it’s been interesting adding up what has been spent or saved in 2016.
However, it’s still rather touch and go whether I manage to finish all the Christmas preparations before Christmas itself actually happens…
In the mean time, here is my round up of five frugal things this week:
Apparently, birthdays are better with a scary film
Using a gift voucher to cut the cost of a cinema trip
My daughter’s birthday is really close to Christmas, so we always have a party or other celebration earlier. This year, rather than a traditional party for her 9th birthday, my daughter asked to take a couple of friends to see “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” at the cinema.
I happily promised to take her before they announced the certificate – only for it to be a 12A, so no-one under 12 can attend without an adult.
Never mind, I thought, and double-checked with the other mothers that they didn’t mind their children coming.
Surely a Harry Potter spin off that involves losing magical creatures in New York and rounding them up again can’t be too scary? Turns out – very scary!
Luckily I had my husband and three almost nine-year olds to reassure me, as they were distinctly braver than I was.
Anyway, the frugal side was that I paid for the tickets using a discount gift voucher from Zeek. The combination of the discount and referral credits meant I ended up getting the tickets half price, saving more than £17.
(More about Zeek here, if you’re interested, including a promo code so you can get your own free fiver)
My son keeping an eye on things from above
Playing games at Grandpa’s 80th birthday party
On Sunday, we celebrated my father-in-law’s 80th birthday at a big party for family and friends over at Castle House, home of the Alfred Munnings art collection.
It was a really happy occasion, with lots of familiar faces in a kaleidoscope of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who’d known my husband since he was small, but my children were definitely the youngest guests!
My frugal top tip for entertainment was going armed with my son’s travel Connect 4. Bought for 75p on holiday in Bridport, it kept us occupied for several games sitting on the carpet.
I also whisked both children outside in the garden for a while, where we played some slightly chilly Hide and Seek.
Bright (fairy) lights, big city
Dropping off presents when down in London
On Tuesday, I headed to London for a work Christmas lunch. As mentioned on Instagram, as a freelancer I was very touched to be invited. It was lovely to catch up with some familiar faces and get the chance to meet new people whose work I’d admired for years. I finally left the lunch at about 6pm, paper hat askew, which gives you some idea that I had a good time!
As I was coming to London anyway, I’d contacted a couple of my closest friends from College and made the most of my travel card with a flying visit to Blackheath. It was wonderful to see them too, however briefly, and as an added frugal bonus I could hand over Christmas presents in person rather than paying for postage.
Bargain mini Christmas cards from the January sales
Writing Christmas cards for school friends
At my children’s school, they all seem to send each other little tiny Christmas cards. You can tell it’s December when a small snow drift of cards and ripped envelopes falls out of the children’s school bags every evening.
Luckily, I clocked this last year, in time to buy some small cards during the January sales – a bargain at £1.50 for 60 cards.
Even better, I managed to unearth them from the back of the present cupboard this week, and the children had a mammoth card-writing session at the kitchen table.
I’ll keep very quiet about any card writing by adults however. We bought a pack of the school fundraising cards, but otherwise I’ve only just got round to ordering some extras using Boots Advantage Points. Fingers crossed they’ll show up in our local branch tomorrow…
Investing in a Christmas cardigan
It’s probably no surprise that I’m a real Scrooge when it comes to Christmas jumpers.
I’m not a big fan of clothes that can only be worn for a few days, and then discarded.
Strikes me that all that comedy knitwear isn’t great either financially or environmentally (boo, hiss, bah humbug etc etc).
However, when I was doing a quick scan of the local charity shops this week, I spotted this cardigan. It has sparkly white and cream beads in an icicle pattern round the neck, and my favourite small shell buttons. So for £4 I now have a festive cardigan that can keep me warm at this weekend’s Christmas party and on the big day itself.
I may yet be able to wear it at other times too – unless I spill large quantities of Christmas pudding down the front, given it is gloriously impractical white.
So do let me know any of your own frugal triumphs this week – or share your own views on the wonder or otherwise of Christmas jumpers! I’d love to hear.