The VERY best budgeting tip for Christmas

I want to share this with you now before you get too Christmas carried away (people do you know) It’s my absolutely top tip for Christmas when it comes to budgeting. Are you ready..

Make it all about the experience not the presents 


If it’s all about lists, shopping, buying and wrapping and spending we are getting a bit lost in consumerism. If this is our focus and what we pour all our time and our energy in the next few weeks into we are losing a real sense of the Christmas spirit.

We are also, most probably, spending more money than we have and certainly more than we can afford. You know what? it doesn’t need to be this way. 


There are many, many ways to have a very happy and very special Christmas without spending a lot of money and I’m going to tell you my favourites:

1. Do some Christmas baking…lots of fun for the kids and really gets you in the spirit. Baking makes top gifts too with a little cellophane and ribbon shortbread brownies etc are a lovely gift. Crank up the Christmas music and have  a baking say.

2, Do some Christmas crafting make snowflakes out of white paper angels out of paper plates (google it!) and tags out of old cards. this will also ll save you money get you in the spirit and provide lots of together time.

3. Build in some lovely traditions like a long family walk on boxing day,  nativity service on Christmas Eve, making reindeer dust writing Santa a letter on December 1st. Traditions create warm and cozy feelings and cement out childhood

4. Get out the board games and play charades. have fun on the wii and watch old movies on TV. You don’t need expensive meals out, the cinema or even pantomimes, why not make your own fun!  

5, When it comes to food be sure to plan carefully.  So much food gets wasted, particularly Christmas dinner. Yes it is nice to have a nice meal but it doesn’t have to be ENORMOUS with 4 puddings. Everyone feels better if they don’t over indulge too much on the wine, chocs and dinner so give them a hand and buy just what you need.

Saving money is important at Christmas and through the year. We need to make sure we are saving for the future too, Kids grow up in the blink of an eye and years pass.

Just remember this and don’t get too Christmas carried away,



This post has been written by me as part of a project with Now:Pensions who  are encouraging people to think about saving now and in the future.







Stop uneccessary spending

I have a really simple method to keeping impulse purchases at bay that I want to share with you. It is basic common sense but sometimes that evades us doesn’t it?  All you really have to remember is the word


stop sign

S is for stopping

T is for thinking

O is for options

P is for Proceeding

Let me give you a typical scenario:

The other ante natal mums are arranging to go out for a meal with lots of wine. Everyone is giddy about it, its been ages since you all got to go out. But you have lots of money worries and know you can’t afford it. Jodie is asking everyone for their deposit. ‘Just a fiver,’ she says. You have a fiver in your pocket, everyone else seems to be handing over the money. What are you going to do…….?

Well firstly you ought to STOP, you need to pause and think and it’s hard when you are in a situation where everyone else is just going along with the plan. You could STOP things by

nipping to the loo for a 5 minute breather or

saying ‘let me get back to you later today Jodie, I  have a few things to work out.’

Both these options will buy you time to THINK.

When you THINK you need to think with a clear head about what is right for you and your family and that’s why you need space to think.. You may think ….debt is hard to get out of and makes everyone sad and worried – it is certainly not worth going along with the crowd to get into debt. Or you may think you haven’t been out for ages it would be a great thing to spend your money on and you will just put back your hair do you had booked for another 4 weeks instead.  Whatever you think it is better to think than simply to react on impulse.

Being able to think helps you see your OPTIONS. One option may be missing the meal but organising a meal at yours the next month where everyone brings a dish and no one is out of pocket.

Once you have STOPPED, THOUGHT and explored your OPTIONS then it is smart and wise to PROCEED with your decision.

 So Jodie is collecting in the money she’s getting near to you. Just popping to the bathroom you say. Once there you think your options through and decide money on a meal and wine just isn’t feasible now.

So you tell Jodie (who does not need all your financial details)  that you can’t make that night out but are planning a lucky dip meal at yours next moth so look forward to catching up with everyone then. Then leave so no one can nag you to change your mind.

See that wasn’t so hard was it !

Give your self time and space to think things through and generally you will make  much better decisions.

P.S If you are on the phone and being rushed into something try saying you think there may be someone at the door you’ll call back later – always works a treat.

This is my entry for the BritMums Piggy Bank Tales competition, sponsored by Virgin Money.

Can you stop unneccesary spending today?


Savvy shopping and saving – a guest post from Liz from LivingwithKids (

It’s no secret that I’m a dedicated shopper and bargain hunter, but I prefer to do most of my shopping online, because I find it much easier to buy what I need without someone saying in my ear ‘can I have this Mum? Can you get me this Mum?’ every few minutes. So it still amazes me when a mum tells me she’s never used before. It’s so easy!

gifts, toys, budget , cashback, kidstart

All you have to do is register (takes less than a minute), then when you’ve logged in you look for the retailer you want to shop at – there are over 320 of them, including

John Lewis,






plus holiday companies – including

Virgin Holidays     and

 Walt Disney World Florida

Click on the link and you’re taken to the retailer’s website. You buy what you need, just like you normally would… but the bonus is your ‘Kiddibank’ gets credited with a percentage of what you’ve spent (the savings are all clearly explained on the site). And you can also get KidStart savings in the high street at

House of Fraser


JoJo Maman Bébé

(You don’t have to be a mum to use KidStart btw – anyone can use it!) Take it from me, it’s a really satisfying feeling to watch your Kiddibank balance grow. There’s absolutely no catch, I promise, no fees to pay or anything like that. I’m not just saying it, I honestly don’t know why you’d do your shopping any other way.~ Liz x

Thanks Liz, it sounds fantastic. I am going to give this a little go and post my review very soon. Thanks for sharing! I did here at a school mums coffee motning the other day a really savings-savvy mum talking about KidStart and how fabulous it was . They do have  a great reputation.