December 17

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Steel Yourself And Shop At The Last Minute

Week 3 – December 17th, 2018

It’s the third week of the month: if you can make the time, Preserve Something and Review Your Spending

Are we nearly there yet?

Do you feel like you have been doing Christmas forever? I get that, I really do, but…

From about 23rd December, supermarkets start marking down their Christmas gifts in a last ditch attempt to shift them all before it’s too late. If you have anybody still to buy for (and nerves of steel) hold off until then and spend a couple of hours trawling as many supermarkets as you can.

Or not. It’s up to you. Forget I even mentioned it and go put your slippers on and your feet up. Much better plan.

We have decided, as an experiment, to go a step further and not buy our Christmas Dinner until closing time on Christmas Eve. This is largely prompted by the fact that we are shorter on time than money and I just have not bought so much as a single mincemeat pie so far. But it is also prompted by the fact that we spend Christmas at Tartan Towers by ourselves. We have a very laid-back day on the 25th. If Christmas dinner is a more… eccentric menu than usual we can take that in our stride. I do not recommend this strategy if you are expecting guests!

I am curious to see how this works out but also right out of my comfort zone – I usually start prepping the dinner round about October. The thought of hitting Christmas unprepared terrifies me, but this year I am going to Feel The Fear And Not Do It Anyway. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I will be back next year with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner.  In the meantime, enjoy your Christmas, however you spend it and whatever you spent to get it.

Update Not only did we successfully buy our Christmas dinner at 5pm on Christmas Eve, we picked up two turkeys for £15. I cooked one on Christmas Day, freezing the cooked leftovers and removed most of the meat from the second one to freeze in small portions and turn into curries, stews, pasta sauces, etc later. The bones from both made a fantastic pot of stock that kept us in delicious risottos for the next three months. We had the aisles almost to ourselves and the whole family enjoyed having a basket each to fill with whatever treats they fancied. Prices were ridiculously low (did I mention this was in Aldi – even by Aldi standards the prices were ridiculously low) and we enjoyed the experience so much that we decided to do it again the next year. Next year the turkeys had all flown the coop, but we got several chickens instead along with lamb and pork and beef roasting joints that kept us fed for months. Who knows what will be on our festive table this year – we are looking forward to finding out just before closing time on Christmas Eve.

 

 

Free, Downloadable Thrifty Habits Planner To Keep You On Track

Click here to download your copy of this week’s free Thrifty Habits Planner.

So, you want to get into the habit of spending less without putting in more effort? You need something to remind you what to do and when, so you don’t have to keep thinking about it. The Thrifty Habits Planner is a simple tool to help you do just that. Use it to pencil in which thrifty things you plan to do this week and to pin yourself down to when you plan to do them. If you take control this way at the start of the week, you are far more likely to have stuck to your plan by the end of the week. Sticking your plan up somewhere you will see it every day helps you to stay on track too.

Take time at the end of the week to give yourself a little treat as a reward for your thrifty efforts. Little splurges will actually help you to stay thrifty – read this to find out how.

 

December 10

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Festive Family Fun For Free

Week 2 – December 10th, 2018

It’s the second week of the month: if you can make the time, Try A New Free Or Cheap Activity and Grow Something.

‘Tis the season to be jolly and ’tis the week to try out a new, free activity. But for maximum impact this month – don’t! Don’t do something new – try a cheap activity you have done at this time of the year before.

Why? Because if you don’t do something all the time but you always do it at this time then it becomes a Tradition. And Traditions are the lifeblood of Christmas.

When grown adults grow misty-eyed about Christmasses past it is almost always the things their family did every year that they recall – not the gifts they received. That’s very important if you are doing Christmas on a tight budget, because gifts cost but traditions don’t have to.

So do something festive and free this week. Gather cones and twigs and greenery to deck your halls. Or make DIY airdrying clay ornaments with cookie cutters. Or watch a festive film together. Or decorate the tree; or put out the lights and light the place with candles for one night; or make sweets; or…

Your family, your traditions – just make sure they are ones you will always be able to afford. That way, if Santa ever has to tighten his belt, you will still be able to do all the things that make Christmas Christmassy for you and yours. And when your little ones are all growed up, they will be able to recreate the Christmas they loved as children without spending a fortune. Click here for simple advice about keeping the cost of an outing down.

If you are making sweets, by the way, or if you have a stash of truffles in your freezer waiting to be coated in chocolate, now is the time to order in some packaging for them. Click here for more information.

 

I will be back next week with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner and some last-minute advice. Have fun!

 

Free, Downloadable Thrifty Habits Planner To Keep You On Track

Click here to download your copy of this week’s free Thrifty Habits Planner.

So, you want to get into the habit of spending less without putting in more effort? You need something to remind you what to do and when, so you don’t have to keep thinking about it. The Thrifty Habits Planner is a simple tool to help you do just that. Use it to pencil in which thrifty things you plan to do this week and to pin yourself down to when you plan to do them. If you take control this way at the start of the week, you are far more likely to have stuck to your plan by the end of the week. Sticking your plan up somewhere you will see it every day helps you to stay on track too.

Take time at the end of the week to give yourself a little treat as a reward for your thrifty efforts. Little splurges will actually help you to stay thrifty – read this to find out how.

 

December 3

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Snowy Road And Other Sweet Stuff

Week 1 – December 3th, 2018

It’s the first week of the month: if you can make the time, Put Cash In Marked Purses and Make Something

Make something? Is she mad? I can’t find time to eat or sleep at the moment…

How about a really easy make then? This is the perfect time to throw together a jar or two of Snowy Road Mix. If you have zero baking skills you can still assemble ingredients in a jar and if you have zero crafting skills you can still print out the label and cut it out.

Snowy Road makes a perfect hostess gift for a hostess with little helpers. It’s also a handy thing to have in the cupboard if you have to come up with a donation for the Cake And Candy stall at the Christmas Fayre. Pack it up with a cute mini-apron and some bake-ware and it is an easy kid’s gift. Click here for easy instructions and a downloadable label.

On the subject of sweet treats – if you are looking for budget stocking-fillers, click here to find out how to turn a single pic-n-mix into a whole bunch of sweet stocking fillers.

I will be back next week with a fresh thrifty habits planner and advice about thrifty festive outings.

 

Free, Downloadable Thrifty Habits Planner To Keep You On Track

Click here to download your copy of this week’s free Thrifty Habits Planner.

So, you want to get into the habit of spending less without putting in more effort? You need something to remind you what to do and when, so you don’t have to keep thinking about it. The Thrifty Habits Planner is a simple tool to help you do just that. Use it to pencil in which thrifty things you plan to do this week and to pin yourself down to when you plan to do them. If you take control this way at the start of the week, you are far more likely to have stuck to your plan by the end of the week. Sticking your plan up somewhere you will see it every day helps you to stay on track too.

Take time at the end of the week to give yourself a little treat as a reward for your thrifty efforts. Little splurges will actually help you to stay thrifty – read this to find out how.

November 26

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Bag A (Nearly) Free Christmas Tree

Week 4 – November 26th, 2018

It’s the fourth week of the month: if you can make the time, Write a Budget and Share Something.

Do you love the nose-tickling smell of a real Christmas tree but hate the eye-watering cost? What if you could buy a nice, bushy tree for only a fiver?

Each year, Ikea more or less provides just that. The catch is that your tree will cost you £25 up front. For that you get a nice, traditional Nordic Spruce – and a £20 Ikea voucher to spend in the new year. There is a time-limit on when you can spend your voucher – not until the January sale is over – but if you will be spending money in Ikea in the next couple of months anyway, this is a steal.

I will be back next week with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner, instructions for Snowy Road kits and some sweet stocking-filler inspiration.

Free, Downloadable Thrifty Habits Planner To Keep You On Track

Click here to download your copy of this week’s free Thrifty Habits Planner.

So, you want to get into the habit of spending less without putting in more effort? You need something to remind you what to do and when, so you don’t have to keep thinking about it. The Thrifty Habits Planner is a simple tool to help you do just that. Use it to pencil in which thrifty things you plan to do this week and to pin yourself down to when you plan to do them. If you take control this way at the start of the week, you are far more likely to have stuck to your plan by the end of the week. Sticking your plan up somewhere you will see it every day helps you to stay on track too.

Take time at the end of the week to give yourself a little treat as a reward for your thrifty efforts. Little splurges will actually help you to stay thrifty – read this to find out how.

 

November 19

Thrifty Things To Do This Week: Check Your Utility Bills, Chuck Out Some Toys And Drive More Cheaply

Extra Week  – November 19th, 2018

It’s the fourth week of a five week month – if you have the time, Take Stock and Tackle One Big Spend

I know, I know – it’s only five weeks to Christmas and the last thing you need is extra thrifty things to do. You are right. If you need this week to focus on staying on top of your festive spending then go ahead and do that instead. Or, you know… if you need this week to pour some mulled wine, watch It’s A  Wonderful Life and remind yourself that Christmas isn’t all about rabid commercialism then, frankly, no jury is going to convict you of crimes against thrift.

But if you do have a spare couple of hours, this is the perfect time of year to have a stock-check of your kids’ toys/games/etc. That way you clear space for the new things they will shortly be getting and rekindle their enthusiasm for some old things they had forgotten about in the meantime.

If you don’t fancy that, how about taking time to tackle the cost of your utility bills or of running your car? Click here to read about how I went on a journey into thrifty motoring only to discover the answer was in my own glovebox all along.

I will be back next week with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner and advice on getting a real Christmas tree at a real bargain

Free, Downloadable Thrifty Habits Planner To Keep You On Track

Click here to download your copy of this week’s free Thrifty Habits Planner.

So, you want to get into the habit of spending less without putting in more effort? You need something to remind you what to do and when, so you don’t have to keep thinking about it. The Thrifty Habits Planner is a simple tool to help you do just that. Use it to pencil in which thrifty things you plan to do this week and to pin yourself down to when you plan to do them. If you take control this way at the start of the week, you are far more likely to have stuck to your plan by the end of the week. Sticking your plan up somewhere you will see it every day helps you to stay on track too.

Take time at the end of the week to give yourself a little treat as a reward for your thrifty efforts. Little splurges will actually help you to stay thrifty – read this to find out how.

 

November 12

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Make-Ahead Chocolate Truffles And Stocking Fillers For Any Budget

Week 3 – November 12th, 2018

It’s the third week of the month: if you can make the time, Preserve Something and Review Your Spending

This is more the time of year for eating preserves than making them. But you can get ahead of your Christmas prepartions by preserving the centres of some decadent DIY chocolate truffles to give away. Spend half an hour melting, mixing and moulding this week and in December all you have to do is pop them out of the freezer, coat them in melted chocolate and in a few minutes you will have a bag of delicious truffles.

No freezer? You can still use the recipe in December but you will need to gift them right away. Cream truffles don’t keep for more than a few days.

Over the last couple of weeks I have written about how to make stockings part of a Merry Thriftmas and last week I pointed you in the direction of my Stocking Planner. The Stocking Planner is designed to fit budgets of  all sizes. To see how it can help with even a tiny budget, take a look at How To Fill A Christmas Stocking For Around A Fiver. No, it’s not easy – but it can be done.

I will be back next week with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner and thoughts on a pre-Christmas clear-out and cutting the cost of running a car.

Free, Downloadable Thrifty Habits Planner To Keep You On Track

Click here to download your copy of this week’s free Thrifty Habits Planner.

So, you want to get into the habit of spending less without putting in more effort? You need something to remind you what to do and when, so you don’t have to keep thinking about it. The Thrifty Habits Planner is a simple tool to help you do just that. Use it to pencil in which thrifty things you plan to do this week and to pin yourself down to when you plan to do them. If you take control this way at the start of the week, you are far more likely to have stuck to your plan by the end of the week. Sticking your plan up somewhere you will see it every day helps you to stay on track too.

Take time at the end of the week to give yourself a little treat as a reward for your thrifty efforts. Little splurges will actually help you to stay thrifty – read this to find out how.

 

November 5

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Berries, Baking And Bulging Stockings

Week 2 – November 5th, 2018

It’s the second week of the month: if you can make the time, Try A New Free Or Cheap Activity and Grow Something.

Dreary November days are the perfect time for free family fun that doesn’t involve actually leaving the house. A kid-friendly home-baking session is an easy no-need-for-wellies family activity that also ticks Batch A Snack off this week’s list of Thrifty Habits. Try Chocolate Chip And Berry Cake, a recipe so easy even a small child can make it.

Once your kids have mastered the basic recipe, why not let them run amok in your cupboards and choose their own additions? As long as they stick to the same amount of flour, eggs, oil, sugar and yoghurt they can add anything else they like. They could add grated apple and cinnamon, or lemon zest or frozen berries or a mashed banana… They can even omit the sugar and add cheese, or olives, or sundried tomato pieces, or ham or….

Once you are all stuffed with cake, take time to think about stuffing stockings next month. (Yes, you only have a few weeks to go. No pressure.) How To Fill A Bulging Stocking Without Blowing Your Budget will help you to work out how to turn a small budget into big smiles on Christmas morning.

I will be back next week with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner, and a simple way to make decadent chocolate truffles that will keep till Christmas.

 

Free, Downloadable Thrifty Habits Planner To Keep You On Track

Click here to download your copy of this week’s free Thrifty Habits Planner.

So, you want to get into the habit of spending less without putting in more effort? You need something to remind you what to do and when, so you don’t have to keep thinking about it. The Thrifty Habits Planner is a simple tool to help you do just that. Use it to pencil in which thrifty things you plan to do this week and to pin yourself down to when you plan to do them. If you take control this way at the start of the week, you are far more likely to have stuck to your plan by the end of the week. Sticking your plan up somewhere you will see it every day helps you to stay on track too.

Take time at the end of the week to give yourself a little treat as a reward for your thrifty efforts. Little splurges will actually help you to stay thrifty – read this to find out how.

 

October 29

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Start On Your Stocking Fillers

Week 1 – October 29th, 2018

It’s the first week of the month: if you can make the time, Put Cash In Marked Purses and Make Something

And, because Christmas is now less than two months away, what better thing to make than fillers for Christmas Stockings? Ah… Christmas Stockings. I love them so much I wrote a whole post about them – click here to read why I think they are an essential for every thrifty family. They are, after all, just the weekly habit of treating yourself taken to a slight extreme.

The cost can add up, though – alarmingly quickly. So why not make some of this year’s fillers yourself? Take a look at 5 Ways To Make DIY Stocking Fillers When You Have No DIY Skills to see how easy it is.

I will be back next week with a fresh thrifty habits planner, a snack recipe that is child’s play to make and some more advice to help you fill your kid’s stockings without emptying your bank account.

Free, Downloadable Thrifty Habits Planner To Keep You On Track

Click here to download your copy of this week’s free Thrifty Habits Planner.

So, you want to get into the habit of spending less without putting in more effort? You need something to remind you what to do and when, so you don’t have to keep thinking about it. The Thrifty Habits Planner is a simple tool to help you do just that. Use it to pencil in which thrifty things you plan to do this week and to pin yourself down to when you plan to do them. If you take control this way at the start of the week, you are far more likely to have stuck to your plan by the end of the week. Sticking your plan up somewhere you will see it every day helps you to stay on track too.

Take time at the end of the week to give yourself a little treat as a reward for your thrifty efforts. Little splurges will actually help you to stay thrifty – read this to find out how.

October 21

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Get Christmas On A Budget Without Getting A Budget Christmas

Week 4 – October 22nd, 2018

It’s the fourth week of the month: if you can make the time, Write a Budget and Share Something.

When you are putting together your budget for the coming month, take some time to put together a budget for Christmas. Granted, Christmas is stressful enough without the additional burden of trying to stick to your thrifty principles  and the very real danger of driving your sleigh straight into a whole heap of debt. But it is the very last time to lose sight of your budget. You are about to be blindsided by urgent and ever-expanding to-d0 lists, distracted by sparkly shop displays, and lulled into a false sense of security by the festive spirit… Just when your purse strings most need you to get a grip.

You need determination. You need self-control. Baby, you need a Plan. Careful planning now will save you from pricey panic-buying in December. Plus, it might leave you free to actually enjoy the run-up to Christmas. If you want to deliver a magical Christmas on a real-life budget now is the time to decide what that budget is going to be.

DIY gifts are one way of keeping on-budget at Christmas but be aware that not everyone will thank you for a home-made gift, no matter how thoughtful or skillfully made. To work out who you should – and should not – consider making gifts for, take a look at Who Is Going To Thank You For A Home-Made Gift?

I will be back next week with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner and some advice about thrifty stocking fillers and why you really need them no matter how tight your budget is.

Free, Downloadable Thrifty Habits Planner To Keep You On Track

Click here to download your copy of this week’s free Thrifty Habits Planner.

So, you want to get into the habit of spending less without putting in more effort? You need something to remind you what to do and when, so you don’t have to keep thinking about it. The Thrifty Habits Planner is a simple tool to help you do just that. Use it to pencil in which thrifty things you plan to do this week and to pin yourself down to when you plan to do them. If you take control this way at the start of the week, you are far more likely to have stuck to your plan by the end of the week. Sticking your plan up somewhere you will see it every day helps you to stay on track too.

Take time at the end of the week to give yourself a little treat as a reward for your thrifty efforts. Little splurges will actually help you to stay thrifty – read this to find out how.

 

October 14

Thrifty Things To Do This Week: Whisky Marmalade and Money For Nothing

Week 3 – October 15th, 2018

It’s the third week of the month: if you can make the time, Preserve Something and Review Your Spending

It is the week to Preserve Something. Nature is shutting up shop for winter but Mamade prepared fruit knows no seasonal limits and makes tasty marmalade with none of the faff. (Actually, I am not opposed to the faff because it makes the place smell amazing for hours. but, honestly, I think the end product is just as good with a tin of Mamade.) If you pot up a few jars of marmalade now they should have matured nicely by Christmas, ready for gifting or for guzzling on Christmas morning. You know, to offset the chocolate.

You can up the gourmet factor considerably if you buy a cheap bottle of whisky and add a splash to your marmalade just before you pot it. And if you need further inspiration for using the rest of your whisky (beyond the obvious…) then take a look at How To Turn A Ten Pound Bottle Of Aldi Whisky Into A Hamperful Of Tasty Treats.

Since it is also the week to Review Your Spending, take a look at Money For Nothing to see if you could get more for your money with loyalty cards.

I will be back next week with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner and a plan for a frugal but fabulous festive period.

Free, Downloadable Thrifty Habits Planner To Keep You On Track

Click here to download your copy of this week’s free Thrifty Habits Planner.

So, you want to get into the habit of spending less without putting in more effort? You need something to remind you what to do and when, so you don’t have to keep thinking about it. The Thrifty Habits Planner is a simple tool to help you do just that. Use it to pencil in which thrifty things you plan to do this week and to pin yourself down to when you plan to do them. If you take control this way at the start of the week, you are far more likely to have stuck to your plan by the end of the week. Sticking your plan up somewhere you will see it every day helps you to stay on track too.

Take time at the end of the week to give yourself a little treat as a reward for your thrifty efforts. Little splurges will actually help you to stay thrifty – read this to find out how.