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After a far-too-long break, I’m back!

It is less than six weeks until Christmas. The Fear as set in. We have three kids and many family members, and we’re also hosting Christmas dinner this year. It can be an expensive time, but there are definitely ways to curb back on the spending. Here are some of my top tips:

SPREADSHEETS. I have  a ‘Santa’ spreadsheet which I update every time I make a gift purchase, and I have an autosum thingie to keep track of how much we’ve spent so far. It allows me to keep a firm eye on we’ve shelled out, and stops me impulse buying at the last minute (“No Anna, they don’t need any more. Look. You’ve bought loads!’ type thing)

SPREAD THE FOOD SHOPPING. Buy one or two extra items in with your weekly shopping to spread the bill. Pick up some pigs in blankets and chuck them in the freezer. Goose fat for the roasties. A bottle of bubbles. Baking ingredients that won’t go off. The last thing you need is a food shop which totals hundreds of pounds the week before Christmas. Spread the cost. Also, ask people to contribute! If I’m cooking for twelve, I feel no guilt in delegating out dishes to bring. Please bring a dessert. Could you bring some smoked salmon? It’s Christmas, people are delighted to help.

DO FREE STUFF. I am horrified by the cost to our local city’s events. Taking my kids to see Santa, and a quick turn on the ice-rink would cost ONE HUNDRED POUNDS. Yes. I’m shouting. It’s insane. But there are loads of free things you can do! Walk round town and decide which store tree is your favourite. There are free choir shows on, all over the festive period. Today, in Edinburgh, we are going to the Putting on Of Lights. Its free, and there are fireworks. Hurrah! Write letters to Santa, and decorate them. Make your own decorations with salt-dough (I love this!). Bake some festive treats.

IKEA. DO you buy a real tree? Ikea sell beautiful trees for £25, really tall and bushy, and with it, you get a £20 KIEA voucher to redeem in January. SO essentially, your tree has cost a fiver. That’s a total winner in my book

What saving ideas can you bring to the festive table?.