Thursday, 24 November 2011

Christmas Tips and Ideas from the Top Tip Team - 1

It's Thursday and time to link over to Angela at Tracing Rainbows for the Christmas Tips and Ideas from the Top Tip Team - Week One.

£21.50 to spend in Tesco (I'll not convert these, just use them for foody treats)

My very first tip for Christmas - don't spend a fortune!!  Well not in cash anyway...

£7.25 to spend in the Garden Centre (more food or maybe a nice Christmassy plant for the house)

Christmas should be a time for family, for friends, time to be together, time to relax.  We've all had a tough year one way and another, why finish on a manic rush around, spend far too much money, and feel guilty for the start of the New Year.  Why dread those credit card bills falling through the letter box in January and start our next year on a bad foot.

£15 in M&S - possibly food (always a tin of Shortbread - we collect the Scottish scene tins)

You can see from these pictures what I decided to do,.....when did I plan this.... only last month when my M&S vouchers landed through the door, I went to put them in my purse and discovered I hadn't spent the last quarters yet.  So I decided to see what else came my way before the start of December and use whatever it was to finance treats for Christmas.  Just think if I'd started at the beginning of the year how much I would have had.

£11.63 inAsda vouchers off 2 x £40 shops. (Yes - I went round twice when I used them at the start of the week!)

 I stocked up on pet foods and cleaning products ready for our move and used these vouchers, included in my shop was our alcohol supply for Christmas and some chocolates and nuts, bought while they were on offer, no doubt they will shoot up in price nearer to Christmas.

As well as all my vouchers I also amass points on these throughout the year.  As we spent the Nectar points to buy food for our holiday in May this is a lot lower than usual, but just as welcome, so I have invisible money to spend in these two shops.  There's £19.47 on the Boots card, I usually wait for their 'buy 2 get one free offer' to start and make my points go even further on treats for us and £13.02 on the Nectar card which I will use for a bit of useful stockpiling in Sainsburys.

So all in all a good way to spread a bit of invisible 'saving' over the course of the year and something I will definitely be doing ALL next year, as this is the last time we are having a bit of a splurge, we are tightening our belts next year and beginning our quest to save for our 'forever home' once we have moved so all the vouchers will be even more welcome for Christmas 2012..... gosh for once I really am thinking ahead!!

And finally.....

This year, as I  just said, for the very last time we are having gigantic splurge, something no voucher would have paid for.  Lovely Hubby has a top of the range Air Rifle and all it's accessories, ready for his foray into self sufficiency (I call it murder, he calls it filling the freezer!).  He wants  to be self sufficient in things like rabbit, pigeon etc once we start living extremely frugally next year, so an expensive but useful acquisition.  Me......well I'm getting something that is not really useful, not really terribly practical but something I have wanted for years and years and years......we pick her up next week.....I'll introduce you then!!

Sue xxx


  1. Thanks for joining in.Very impressed by your coupon hoard. We just cashed in all our M&S ones for a new suit for the new slim-line Bob [essential as the trouser keep falling down on his current one- NOT appropriate for the Minister at a funeral!]I even calculated that by doing this between 27Nov and 4th Dec I could maximise all the bonuses and 5x points etc!

    My Nectar points always pay for my Christmas foodshop too.

    Looking forward to seeing 'her' [?!] next week

    blessings x

  2. So how do you collect M&S vouchers? I can't see the economical Sue and Angela spending much in M&S apart from underwear.......??

    I do a good line in collecting points too. Last autumn, we had a family holiday on a canal boat at half term - half the cost was paid for with our collective stash of Tesco vouchers. We are hoping to do it again when we have collected enough. Boots points get spent on BOGOF batteries and shaving stuff for my husband if I can't find it on offer somewhere. Sainsburys points get spent on Christmas stuff. I have a full wallet but it is stuffed with nectar etc cards for collecting points and not much else. But I don't have any clue about M&S yet.

  3. oh I want to know what you're going to pick up next week...I can't wait!!!

  4. Glad i am not the only one who uses vouchers and nectar points for christmas food and treats..wonder what your getting next

  5. Hubby and I use our amex card instead of cash , even on small purchases. We collect points and convert them for store vouchers. Even after we pay the annual fee for the card we still 'make a profit'. We are using vouchers for our Christmas gifts to ourselves...dvds to watch over the winter.
    Jane x

  6. It seems I've hit on something all us good 'frugaliers' do.

    You collect M&S points (and extra Tesco Clubcard points as we do) by using their own brand Credit Cards.

    We use the Tesco one on a day to day basis and pay it off completely each and every month. It helps us to budget too as when the online statement arrives you can see where you went a bit mad, where you did well etc.

    We buy large purchases on my M&S card, as I have had that for years and have a very high 'credit limit', we also pay that off at the end of the following month too. If you aren't VERY strict with yourself you could get into debt quickly, however in an emergency, such as during the last few weeks when we have amassed a high end of month total due to flights and petrol money back and forth to Scotland to be with Mum, it does give you a bit of leeway and allow you to spread the cost over two months instead of just one.

    It's just away of amassing points very quickly and turning them into very useful 'free' day to day stuff in the form of your vouchers.

    I would never allow myself to get in debt though after learning the hardway, so unless you can be super strict with yourself don't use credit cards, cash would be a better option.

    You will ALL get to meet her next week......*eeeek* I'm soooooooo excited!!

    Sue xx

  7. Oooooo it is very exciting, talk about keeping us in suspence :) Can't wait to meet her, whoever she may be x x x x

  8. I am a big fan of points especially,Nectar and Boots have about £40 of each. Good post!

  9. We love T*sco clubcard points for weekends away.

    We have used most of our vouchers now but hope for some more this christmas.

    Can't wait for your surprise.

    Sft x

  10. This is very organised. I'm vacillating between impressed and depressed! Mind you, I susect there are little bits of Mr Tesco in every single pile of paperwork in this house, so perhaps next week I'll be treating myself too! (Unlikely- it would take much longer than that to scale the paperwork in this house!!)


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