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!