Thursday, 30 December 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Well, my Happy New Year greeting is a bit early I know, but Happy Frugal Christmas will be a bit quieter now the festivities are over, unless or until I find any urgent Christmas ideas or bargains!
Carry on your frugal efforts all year along with me at Happy Frugal Year and save, save, save money!

Friday, 24 December 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS - NOW IT'S SALE TIME! BUT NOT FOR ME!

At the depressing news that Marks and Spencer's sale starts on-line tonight and in-store on Boxing Day my heart sinks. Haven't we already spent enough? My inbox is flooded with "up to 50% off " sales notices - and you know what? I don't care. If I buy anything in the sales it may be a box of decent crackers for next Christmas - couldn't get any this year as stores were asking £8-£10 for rubbish or £15-£20 for slightly less rubbish.
At least this year I won't still be moving plastic keyrings, hippo shaped bottle openers and metal puzzles around the sideboard until April! Yep - it gets to Easter and, guess what? I throw them away or send them to the charity shop. Why do we bother with crackers? Because we're being brain-washed. Christmas is a retail and media construction, pressurising us into believing that it won't be a great Christmas unless we buy this or that and eat this or that.
As for the sales - well they can stick their sales - if it was ALL genuinely 50% off it may be worth looking at - but it's not. The tat that no-one would be silly enough to buy is 50% off - like that weird plastic belt, strange hat, ugly clutch bag or tiny rubbish chain necklace. Anything that you'd really want has a quid knocked off it if you're lucky.
Enjoy your Christmas Day, spend quality time with your family and watch rubbish TV - forget the sales - who cares? Save your money - in 2011 you're probably going to need it.
Happy Frugal Christmas!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Sunday, 12 December 2010

15 FREE EBOOKS FOR YOU!

Fave Crafts has on offer 15 free ebooks . There's a great choice - all free to download. Titles are:
14 New Year's Eve Party Ideas,
12 Fun and Fabulous Mod Prodge projects, Perfect for Christmas Giving: 6 Gift in a Jar Ideas, Quick and Easy Decoupage, 9 Thanksgiving Decorations to Make, The Make My Own HolidayGifts Guide, Homemade Halloween Decorations, How to Halloween, Make it a Red Heart Holiday Knitting & Crochet ebook, 12 Thrifty Trash to Treasure Crafts, Cheap Home Decor, 8 Free Apron Sewing Patterns, 25 Afghan Patterns and Fun With Fabric Dye.
Happy Frugal Christmas!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

FRUGAL STOCKING FILLERS FOR KIDS

Fill up those Christmas stockings with these lovely stash-busting gifts to knit or crochet from Bernat's free patterns. There are patterns for Cuddly Caterpillars, Topsy Turvy Doll, Owl, Bunny, Petunia Piglet, Mouse, bear, Bunny and Kitty Finger Puppets, Teddy and more. These small gifts should be quick to make and easily done from oddments of yarn.
More Happy Frugal Christmas shopping!

FRUGAL GIFTS FOR KIDS!

The story of Goodnight Mister Tom is available as a Puffin paperback book - another frugal gift - priced at just £4.89 - again, from Amazon with free delivery.
If you need a frugal gift for toddlers, Debenhams has My First Animals now £1.95 with free standard delivery, a 10 board book gift box with simple text, bright, vibrant colours and photographic images. The small books are perfect for young children as they can use the books and turn the pages themselves, improving dexterity and motor skills as well as learning about the world around them. Another frugal gift for the little ones is Peppa Pig - Peppa's Christmas DVD, just £4.02 from Amazon with free delivery.

Teenagers might enjoy The Twilight Saga: Eclipse DVD, £3.99 or the book Dimensions Behind the Twilight Zone: A Backstage Tribute to Television's Groundbreaking Series both from Amazon with free delivery.
More Happy Frugal shopping!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

THE CHRISTMAS CHUTNEY IS MADE!

I have, today, cooked up 6 lovely jars of my Christmas Chutney. It simmered away for 45 minutes, meaning I had a few complaints from my son about the lovely, cider vinegar-y, sugary, fruity, spicy smell that was floating around every corner of the house! I've made 3 big jars - probably all for me, as I'm the one who loves it with cheese, in sandwiches, with cold meats, in Ploughman's lunches etc - and 3 small jars which, I may, if absolutely necessary, give away as gifts with the regulation circle of Christmassy fabric, cut out with pinking shears and secured with a rubber band over the lid!
Or I may just eat it all - by the end of the summer it could all be gone, but by then it will have also improved in taste, so will be even better!
Happy chutney making!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

WAYS TO (NOT) PAY FOR CHRISTMAS!

So, it's 37 days to Christmas - I know this only because Ebay, considerately, has it on it's home page in big red numbers and I see it every time I log in!
I'm not telling you anything you probably don't already know when I say that if you are in debt and can't afford Christmas presents, then don't put it all on the credit card, or a store card (actually never put anything on a store card - a savvy frugaller wouldn't even own one) they are expensive and a complete waste of your hard earned cash. Don't put it all on your overdraft either.
But-I hear you say, I have to buy all these presents and food - no you don't. Not if it means deeper debt and a miserable New Year - again! Too many of us greet each New Year with a mountain of growing debt - and debt does grow, like Topsy - even if you stop adding to it. Very few of us can pay it off quick enough to keep up with huge interest charges.
Start now - thinking of all those extended family and friends that you buy presents for and who (we assume) buy for you. Tell them not to buy for you this year - tell them you can't afford to buy for everyone, you are cutting back, you are saving for a house deposit, trying to clear your overdraft - tell them anything, but make it clear you just can't afford it!
If we all had to pay actual cash for our Christmas presents, food, clothes - then what a different world it would be! No keeping up with friends and neighbours or trying to outbuy relatives with bigger and better presents! No being tempted by huge displays in the shops, no being made to feel inadequate because we can't afford what the gift catalogues tell us are "stocking fillers" at anything from £15 upwards!
Anyway - do you really want to give (or receive) another gift pack of smellies that you won't or can't use? The people close to us usually know what we would
really like for Christmas - the others just go round the stores filling their baskets up with 3 for 2's that will probably all end up in the charity shop in January - well, I suppose it does someone a good turn!
If you need more inspiration take a look at an earlier post on this subject...

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

CROCHET YOUR OWN YODA FOR STAR WARS FANS!


Yes - it's true you or one of your very lucky friends or relatives, can crochet Yoda from this free pattern - great Christmas present - what are you waiting for?
Check out my growing collection of patterns for crochet and  knitted gifts!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

PLAN OUT YOUR CHRISTMAS GIFT SHOPPING AND SAVE NOW!

I don't know about you, but my inbox is full of newsletters from retailers offering free delivery and discounts - all in time for Christmas! Of course they are trying to tempt us to buy, buy, buy - but you can turn this to your advantage. Before things get really frantic and you have to start dashing around the shops, you can sit quietly at your computer and buy your Christmas presents and here's how.
  • Make a list of who you have to buy for.
  • Set a budget for each gift.
  • Browse the larger retailers for ideas.
  • Take advantage of 3 for 2 offers.
  • Make sure you have researched on the internet for free delivery and discount codes.
  • Use your reward or cashback credit card (hopefully you've got one - you should have!)
  • Go through a cashback website such as TopCashback for your purchases - every little bit helps!
This way, even though you have to spend, hopefully it will be carefully planned frugal shopping!

LOADS OF FREE CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS!

I know it's not the Christmas school holidays just yet, but I couldn't resist getting in early and there's nothing better than being prepared for school holiday boredom when you're busy icing the Christmas cake or wrapping gifts!
ichild has masses of free Christmas themed activities to print off and all you have to do is register on a simple form. There are Christmas cards (in French and Spanish too), colouring pages, craft instructions for all manner of festive things, word puzzles, stencils, decorations to make, masks, dot to dot, recipes, Father Christmas letter templates, maths games, invitations and much more.
You can print them out and put them aside in a box with the appropriate materials, colouring pens etc all ready for the holidays.
Whether you are a harassed parent, child minder or grandparent, this is a fantastic resource!

Friday, 1 October 2010

FREE CHRISTMAS KNITTING & CROCHET EBOOK TO DOWNLOAD

Yes, more Christmas crafts to be getting on with! Fave Crafts is offering a lovely free Christmas ebook to download containing 26 knit, crochet and craft projects. There are patterns for a snowy crochet garland for your tree, pom-pom Christmas trees, crochet Nativity scene, a Christmas stocking, throws, pillows, beanies, ornaments, scarves and much more.
Check out my growing collection of patterns for crochet and  knitted gifts!
Happy Frugal 
Christmas!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

KNIT A RUDOLPH REINDEER FOR YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE!

Yep! Christmas is on its way and this cute little Rudolph can be knitted up in no time -although I have to say personally, I would knit him in a reindeer sort of brown! Get knitting!
Check out my growing collection of patterns for crochet and  knitted gifts!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

61 FREE CROCHET PATTERNS FOR CHRISTMAS!

If you love to crochet then you'll love these christmas crochet patterns. There are 61 free patterns and they include toys, ornaments, Santas, Santa hats, Santa baby outfit, a snowman, an angel, Afghan blankets, garlands, tree skirts, Christmas stockings, doilies, a basket, place mats, tree and table decorations.
There's plenty of time to get loads of them made - Happy Frugal crocheting!
Check out my growing collection of patterns for crochet and  knitted gifts!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING - NOW!

I know it's only August and I know I say it every year, but - start your present shopping now!
I hate to see Christmas stuff in the shops each August, just as much as everyone else, but it is an inescapable fact, planning saves us money!
At the moment there are summer sales which do not just include summer items - there is jewellery, homewares, sweatshirts, tee shirts, nightwear, toys - all perfectly great Christmas presents!
Make your list and see what you can buy - stick to your budget at all costs - if it's £10 per person - stick to it (well, I do allow myself up to £10.99 if I see something just perfect!), if it's £5 per person - stick to it. Like me, you'll be glad come January. Who wants to see the cold grey New Year in with a bundle of debt - or being absolutely skint until the end of February?
Once you've made your "who to buy for" list - think! Aunty Edna probably doesn't want any more hankies or ornaments - what does she really like? Is it a particular perfumed talc?, home made fudge? more batteries for the remote control - or a combination of all of those? I often fill a Christmas gift bag with an assortment of what I call "consumables" tailored exactly towards the recipient - the older generation in my family want stuff they can use - not more stuff to fill drawers with or ornaments to dust.
Another idea is to buy vouchers - gone are the days when there were only book tokens or Boots vouchers - you can get vouchers for almost everything now! Post Office gift vouchers - easily available locally to you, are redeemable in over 17000 outlets! Or if you want to buy online then try High Street Vouchers - again, they have a massive choice of retailers. Garden tokens are popular and my local cinema sells gift tokens for its performances. It pays to think - we all know that if we are rushing around buying gifts at the last minute, it costs us more.
Thinking saves us money!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

QUICK! GET ALL YOUR CHRISTMAS PRESENTS NOW FOR UNDER £5 PER PERSON!

Yes, yes - I know the temperatures are rocketing outside and none of us want to be sitting at our computers - but I feel this is a real oppportunity for frugal money-saving and, as such, not to be missed!
Debenhams is having a sale (when aren't they, you may say) and I've been looking specifically at the Gifts and Toys section and it's worth an hour of your time. I've seen loads of great gifts and I've only gone up to £5! (I don't go beyond that figure).
Here's how you do it. Just go to the Debenhams sale Gifts and Toys section (it's not all gifts and toys, by the way - there's clothing items, jewellery etc., as well) and make sure that you change the "Sort by" box (top right, under the Blue cross sale banner) to "Price (low-high)". This enables you to make sure you're not tempted by any high price stuff! I always make sure I don't go beyond £5 - that's my budget!
Here's a few things I'm tempted by-
Hello Kitty Mini frisbee £2.40, a Julien Macdonald Snake bangle £2.40, Ben de Lisi Hematite faceted stud earrings £2.50, I am Stig mug £3, Worlds Apart stunt kite £4, travel Monopoly and Cluedo £4 each, Jack Daniels whisky and hipflask set £4, Craghoppers insect repelling socks £4, Guinness slippers £4.50, Matthew Williamson girl's sequinned tie cardi £4.50-£5, Marvel Comics pen set in case £2.75 and more.
There's loads of toys, candles, jewellery, colourful boxers, knickers, socks, t shirts, sweets and chocolates. Be quick the site is slow today and I wonder if that means it's very busy. A couple of items I spotted earlier already seem to have disappeared!
Debenhams charge £3.99 for standard delivery (free to your local store), but I've come across this free delivery code SHD1 on a forum - it may well have ended- but there's no harm in giving it a try! You may just be lucky.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

IT'S NEARLY SUMMER - START YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!

In my many recent visits to the local charity shops in the last couple of weeks, I've realised that there seems to be an abundance of bric-a-brac and gifts - people are spring cleaning and having a clearout while they're at it! They're cleaning under their beds and finding little bags of unwanted Christmas gifts that they didn't know where to put at the time, so they just rammed them under the bed- I know- I do it! They're getting out their summer clothes and coming across boxes of stuff in the back of their wardrobes that they just don't have the space to keep any more. That's where we score! The charity shops are quieter in good weather and often have more stock. Get your gift lists written and start visiting your local charity shops regularly. Goods are continually being sorted and displayed - as shelves empty, the shop staff have to fill them, so keep visiting and make sure you go before Friday or Saturday as I've often spotted something on a Thursday - thought I'd come back for it on Friday afternoon or Saturday, only to discover it's gone! Look for new, packed gifts, good glass or pottery, unusual (but perfect) mugs to pack with mini gifts or sweets, new knitting yarn to knit gifts with, or, if you are a jewellery maker - loose beads or findings to create that individual piece that no-one else will ever have.
Remember, if you spot a bargain, buy it at the time - as the odds are on, someone else will spot it too!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I hope you all had a great Christmas and a frugal Happy New Year to you!

Those who like to comment on the economy tell us this coming year will be tough - there may be odd rises in house prices, the economy and employment, but they'll be "blips" unfortunately and the overiding opinion is that we are not out of recession yet - and not likely to be for a while.
All we can do is be frugal, pay down our debts, try to get together a crisis fund, budget well, do our price research on things we have to buy, make do and mend, grow our own fruit and veg, barter with our neighbours - and, most of all, laugh, love and be happy!

Happy Frugal Christmas will now take a break until the festive preparations start again - but don't forget you can carry on getting frugal tips and info at Happy Frugal Year!