Hello Dear Reader,
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I had a lovely time at Radio Cornwall yesterday and shared my ways of keeping down the costs of Christmas. I started by talking about food and this is what I do. I bought my meat when it was on offer in our local butchers (Tregeagles) and they were selling Topside for £7.99 a kilo and joints were being sold buy one and get one free. So, as you can imagine, I stocked up and bought beef for under four pounds a kilo. However, you can buy a free range chicken in Lidl and Aldi for £6.00 and they are certainly large enough for a family, with the help of some sausages wrapped in streaky bacon, some stuffing and roast potatoes and veggies, it's certainly a reasonably priced meal. I also keep the costs down by the fact that I've made our Christmas cake, the pudding and mincemeat for the mince pies already. I bought the baking ingredients when they were three for two in Tesco.
At Christmas, some people lose all sense of self control and buy too much and end up over indulging. I save money at Christmas by being careful with portion control so an average joint of beef and normal portion sizes feed us all without any of us ending up looking like our feline friend! I work on the basis of one of each, one potato, one parsnip, one carrot, one tablespoon of peas, one tablespoon of mashed swede, one pig in a blanket, one spoon of stuffing and one good slice of meat. I defy anyone to eat all of that and still feel hungry. Add to this, some homemade Christmas pudding and custard and everyone is fit to bust! Does anyone else work out what they need to cook and therefore buy from portion sizes? I make mincemeat and then of course, mincepies but don't do this too early as the sooner Christmas food is available, the sooner people (by that, I mean me!) start eating it. I'll make mince pies the weekend before Christmas and they are a cheap snack to be enjoyed with a cup of tea. So there we are, I'm even frugal with Christmas lunch and the company are the best bit and we'll be well fed even if it's on a budget!
Then, there's the presents! We've all seen piles like this and some people go mad! When my children were young, we didn't have any money. They were told how much there was for a gift and they could choose something/s up to that value. I was honest with them and they knew if they could or couldn't have something and they soon learnt not to ask for things we couldn't afford. I can honestly say, I can't remember any significant gift from my childhood. I do remember having a nice time at Christmas and watching Morecambe and Wise. I'm sure my children don't remember the gifts but from what they say, they do remember sitting on our bed pulling little items out of a sock! No one needs to spend too much money. I've already mentioned that we give donations to Oxfam in lieu of gifts and recipients think it's a great idea. I think it's far more fun to know someone will get clean water instead of me getting perfume!
Here's another thing I do to save money at Christmas. I don't buy any chocolates and someone will always get me some. Maybe not as posh as these, but some chocolate will always sneak it's way (I try to shoo it away but it won't listen!) into the house. If I buy any, I find we've always got it hanging around in January and I end up giving it away!
Over to you Dear Reader,
What are you doing to keep down the cost of Christmas?