October 21

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

Week 4 – October 23rd, 2017

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.

 

September 30

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Make Candles And Cake

Week 1 – September 4th, 2017

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

I love September And October. They are new pencils and new plans. Crisp mornings foraging for free fruit and fragrant afternoons turning them into jams and jellies. Cosy nights indoors, with the slight threat of winter but none of the wet or the chill.

To be honest, I like November too – bonfires and fireworks and making plans for Christmas. And I am fond of December with it’s twinkles and parcels and sociable feasting…

(In the spirit of total honesty I have to point out that the above is a very edited picture of my autumns and early winters. It’s not nearly as calm, ordered, or reflective as that in Tartan Towers. Still, a woman can dream…)

What I love about this time of year is the anticipation of cosy times ahead. So, with that in mind, my Make Something  project this week is going to be Luxury Scented Candles. Something to give away but also something to enjoy at home.

I first made candles when I was about 7 – which tells you how easy they are to make – and can still remember the fascination I felt watching hard wax transform to liquid and back again. So you could treat this as a fun family activity AND a cheap way to treat yourself to a fragrant and twinkly home.

If you want inspiration to batch-cook a freezer-friendly snack try Apple And Custard Cakes. These are so easy a child could make them – no scales or beaters required. I will be back next week with a fresh thrifty habits planner and some suggestions for enjoying time outdoors before winter sets in.

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 7

1 Cheap Pic-n-Mix – 10 Thrifty Stocking Fillers

How To Turn 1 Pic-n-Mix Into 10 Thrifty Stocking Fillers

A Magical Christmas On A Real Life BudgetDo you need some cheap, edible stocking fillers that are more interesting than a fun-size festive Mars Bar? Step right up. I am going to show you how a quick rummage in the recycle bin and a few minutes of printing other people’s labels can help you to turn one pic-n-mix into ten different little stocking fillers. A pic-n-mix is not the cheapest way to buy sweets but it is a cheap way to get small amounts of a good variety of sweets, ready for you to give them a festive twist.

My pic-n-mix came from Morrisons. There were no small cups (£2) so I had to buy a regular (£3) cup – which gave me more sweets than I really needed for this project. So, for my £3 I got 15 stocking fillers – that works out at 20p each. Not bad, but next time I will go to B&M or Poundland who both do a decent big cup for £2.

How To Maximise Your Mix

DSCN0516DSCN0518DSCN0520Pick ten different sweets of assorted sizes. Start by packing big flat sweets around the edges. Put in a layer of medium sized ones then pour on small sweets and shake to settle them into the spaces. Keep going till you are done. The key here is small amounts of the bigger sweets – half a dozen of each, tops. When you get home, split your haul into your different sorts of sweets and then hit your recycle bin to see what re-usable packaging you have.

pic-n-mixWhat you do with your pic-n-mix will, of course, depend on what’s in it. Below I show you how I packaged up my candy but you might come up with different sweets. If you need more candy-packaging inspiration, take a look at my Pinterest Christmas board.

Free Candy Packaging

1 & 2 Chocolate Eggs

4b78cd5c0f4df31810d64023b0af3bab

Dragons eggs free range and organicI printed out these bag toppers from Simplistically Living to turn them into Dinosaur Eggs for Tiny Tartan and made a label with The Jam Labelizer to turn the rest into Dragon Eggs for Tartan Boy. I also ate a few myself. I do have a bit of a weakness for chocolate mini-eggs…

 

 

3  Stripy Strawberry Chews

santa boxesstrawberry chewsThese free Santa printables from Kathy’s Cottage, in red and white checks or spots, are a perfect match for the striped sweets. You can leave the number cards off if you prefer.

 

4  Jelly Strawberries

jar of jelly strawberriesjelly strawberriesIf you have a small jam jar pack these in and top with a circle of paper or cloth, tied on with ribbon. No ribbon? Take a look in the shoulders of your tops and dresses for the loops of thin ribbon that shops use to keep garments on their hangers. Snip these off and use to secure your jar toppers.

 

5  Smarties

Halloween-Gift-Boxessmarties in a jarAh, smarties. So many things to do with these. If you have tiny jars you could pack them with smarties, maybe even sorting them into different colours and layering them. Or pop them into a re-purposed plastic box and tie with a ribbon. Or print out one of these cute little pillow boxes from Lines Across – exactly the right size for smarties.

 

6  White Chocolate Sprinkle Disks

goodie-bagwhite chocolate disks with sprinklesI love these little pouches from Babyccino Kids that you can run up in minutes on a sewing machine using old magazine pages or comic book pages. No sewing machine? I find double-sided sticky tape works well too. No magazines to rip up? No problem – supermarkets give their own away, for free, at the checkouts. M&S ones have particularly nice, thick paper. And the current ones are full of lovely, twinkly festive images which will make ideal containers for white chocolate sprinkles – or any other treats.

 

7  Jelly Beans

maydayseedpack

 

magic beansThese are asking to be re-branded as magic beans with this simple seed packet printable from Nothing But Country

 

8  Blue Bonbons

eada6b85676f0d75e97df5e7bab7e83btoffee bonbonsThese frosty blue balls are the perfect way to use these Snowman Poop bag toppers from Lime & Mortar – either staple them to the top of a bag or seal the edges with a glue stick to form a little envelope for your “poops”.

 

9  Jelly Faces

keep calm matchbox covers
jelly facesHow about using these cute Keep Calm And Have Some Candy covers from Pastill for matchboxes packed with jelly faces? The website is in Swedish but Google can translate for you. The translation is not perfect but it does allow you easily to find the free download instructions. They fit small matchboxes, and can be cut fairly easily to size.

10  Chocolate Raisins

reindeer-poop-printableIf life gives you chocolate raisins, make reindeer poop. A Girl And A Glue Gun has tie-on labels and bag toppers for Rudolph’s leavings in two designs and a variety of sizes. Kids of all ages love these.

So there you go – one trip to the shops, ten little stocking fillers.

 

HandNoticeVintage-GraphicsFairyMore Christmas Posts

 

How To Fill A Bulging Christmas Stocking Without Busting Your Budget

How To Fill A Christmas Stocking For (Around) A Fiver

5 Ways To Make DIY Stocking Fillers – When You Have No DIY Skills