Sunday, 19 January 2014

S is for Sales and Stockings

We all overspend at Christmas.  By the time you add everything up, it's quite frightening how much is spent. In fact, it's estimated that one in three Brits go into debt.  And tomorrow is known as Blue Monday as this is when December credit card bills hit the mat.

But it's really difficult to cut down the spending.  How do you tell the kids that there's no money for all those extras such as crackers on the table?  Do you resort to sending out emails instead of Christmas cards?  It's not exactly festive.

And making your own presents sounds great but when it comes to December and you're trying to juggle everyday life, work and planning, ideals go out the window and panic buying sets in.

To help me keep control of the cash outlay, I buy stuff in the January sales.  While I have to store it for 11 months, if I order things online and keep it in the stout boxes in which it's sent, they can go out of the way in the loft for much later in the year.

Saving up to 70%, I stock up on generic stocking fillers, cards and crackers as all these keep easily and don't take up too much space.  This year, my (adult) base stocking fillers include:
  • Small luxury (scented) candles
  • Themed cookie cutters
  • Festive tea towels
  • Wind up toys
  • Santa stationary
  • Glitzy coasters
  • Earphone holders
  • Bottle openers
  • (Eye) Glasses cleaning cloths
  • Packs of socks
  • Folding shopping bags
  • Key chains
  • Tree baubles
  • Wine foils
  • Retro travel games
Kids get little plastic toys and chocolate (bought nearer the time), as well as the wind-up toys and stationary.

I will then buy an item that is very specific to the recipient and, as per the tradition in my family, I add a net of chocolate coins, a satsuma and a walnut.  Stockings done!

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