After all the Christmas spending, I’m trying to get back on a budget ready for 2024, so here are my five post-Christmas frugal things.
Alongside all the Christmas traditions such as decorating the Christmas tree, wrapping presents, heading out to see Christmas lights and watching the Muppet Christmas Carol, I reckon there are some post Christmas traditions too. That first trip to the bottle bank. The realisation that pigs in blankets and Terry’s chocolate orange are not normally components of a balanced breakfast.
On the money-saving front, I reckon my five frugal things this week have almost become post Christmas traditions too – such as eating up leftovers, getting refunds for unwanted presents, spending gift cards and snapping up reduced food and Christmas supplies in the sales.
Here’s to a thrifty New Year!
Used up some leftovers
After Christmas dinner, our fridge tends to be crammed with loads of leftovers. I’m always keen to use as much as possible, rather than throwing perfectly good food in the bin. Above is a version of the Fast 800 curried chicken, lentil, spinach and pepper soup I cook quite often, only this time made with leftover turkey. The sausage meat I bought but didn’t use on Christmas Day also came in handy for a recipe I saw on Jamie’s Oliver’s recent ‘5 Ingredients Mediterranean’ series, with giant baked beans, meatballs, tomato and feta. Meanwhile the last of the gammon and some Savoy cabbage went into the ham hock and bean stew from the most recent Slimming World magazine. I’ve given up on the gravy and bread sauce, but I still hope to persuade my husband to finish off the Christmas pudding.
Returned a present for a refund
Every year since lockdown, I buy a big Harry Potter Lego set as a family Christmas present, with visions of family bonding while building. I was particularly proud of myself this year for locking down a good price in the Black Friday sales. Less so, when my kids ripped off the wrapping to discover the set was a duplicate of one I’d bought before. Doh. Not a great feeling, facing £50 of unwanted Lego.
Thankfully, when I gave the George at ASDA customer services a ring after Boxing Day, they were incredibly helpful. The lady told me to package up the box, booked a courier to collect it on December 28th, and the money hit my bank account on December 30th. It’s a big relief that I actually got round to requesting a refund, rather than letting the box gather dust on top of my wardrobe.
Plus I nipped out early on December 27th to buy some replacement Lego in the Boxing Day sales, so the kids are happy too.
Stocked up on Christmas supplies in the sales
If you can face the shops straight after Christmas, it’s a great time to save on long-lasting supplies for next year. I snapped up some Christmas cards from WHSmiths and fancy crackers in Sainsburys, all at half their original price. Now I just need to find a suitably safe place to keep them, which I’ll still remember next December…
Swooped on some yellow-stickered food
As I ever, I have the best intentions about eating better and exercising more in the New Year, after the fiesta of chocolate, snacks and assorted puddings that is Christmas.
I only went into the Co-op to get some garlic bread as a contribution to a New Year’s Eve meal, but couldn’t resist looking at the reduced-price short-dated food. I ended up staggering out with yellow-stickered haul above – a couple of sirloin steaks, a couple of packs of chicken breast fillets, a couple of sea bass fillets, some baking potatoes and green beans. Admittedly the full price of just shy of £27 is higher than it would be at cheaper supermarkets, but the £15.21 I actually paid isn’t bad. The meat and fish is now stashed in the freezer, in the space previously occupied by our Christmas turkey, ready to be unleashed as healthy meals in January.
Used a giftcard
If you ever get a gift card for Christmas, there’s always a risk that it gets stuck in a drawer and never sees the light of day.
This time, I remembered to take a Waterstones gift card with me when heading to the shops post Christmas, and was able to use it towards a present and birthday card for the month ahead. Good to know those particular purchases won’t make a dent in our bank balance.
Now – over to you. Any money saving traditions you follow after every Christmas? Any other thrifty successes to celebrate? Do share in the comments, I’d love to hear.