Wednesday, 19 December 2012


If things are really bad this year and you have no money, an overdraft and debts, don't stress about buying expensive Christmas presents for everyone, it's really not worth getting deeper in debt for the sake of one day and all the commercial hype that comes with it.
Instead, decide on small gifts for those who you are actually with on the day like Rocky Road or Fudge, prettily wrapped, but for those you may not see, send or give later an Official Christmas Cheque - print these off and fill them in with a gift of your time. It could be walking Aunty's dog for a month, weeding Grandad's flower bed or mowing the lawn (later on in the new year of course!), giving a non-driver a lift to a bigger out of town shopping centre or painting a room for anyone who can't manage it themselves. Put them in an envelope and trim with a bow. 
Done! A gift for (almost) nothing!

Sunday, 16 December 2012



Fudge is a favourite with many people and makes a lovely gift in a pretty bag decorated with ribbon and a label, so I was really please when I came across this great Phil Vickery video on Youtube showing how to make fudge (or if you prefer to read the recipe and instructions, Carnation has his recipe on their website).
It may now be too late to start knitting or crafting a present, but it's never too late to knock up a batch of fudge!
Phil explains clearly how to make fudge with just 4 basic ingredients; milk, condensed milk, butter and Demerara sugar, what equipment you need, what may go wrong, how to beat it for smoothness and how to test for setting. Plain and simple instructions and no complicated ingredients (although you can add cherries, or chocolate and nuts if you want to).
A real Frugal winner in my opinion!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


Make someone a gift of Tutti Frutti Fudge, Christmas Chutney, basic Fudge or Rocky Road, the recipes are all there in my Happy Frugal Christmas frugal recipes.
For chutney, re-use any small screw-top jar you have, cut a circle of fabric (doesn't have to be a Christmas print - red, green, blue or red check will be fine) secure with an elastic band and cover with your parcel ribbon and tag.
For cookie or sweetie gifts you really need the bags you can buy from cook shops, or squares of the cellophane that florists wrap flowers in - sometimes they can be persuaded to sell you a metre or two!
All these home-made foodie gifts are, of course, cheaper if you make more, because there are always ingredients and bags etc left over, so if you can, get together with a friend, put on the Christmas CDs and have a Christmassy cook-up! That way you share both the costs and the proceeds - and have some festive fun at the same time!

Friday, 30 November 2012


Poundland has loads of gifts and they are, well - yes, you've guessed it, just £1 each!
Now, I know what you're thinking- Poundland? £1 for a present? But, amongst all the cheap perfume, aftershave, plastic rubbbish toys etc, there are some gems to be had.
Look for brand names in toiletries and chocolate, anonymous items like sparkly scarves, shopping bags, DVDs or think about fun decorative things that will fit into a mug or a make-up bag, a plant pot or any other container that seems relevant! 
I can see several things I like; a beaded trinket box, a dustbin desk tidy, pretty photo frames, an owl money box, hand warmers and animal print beaded pens!
It can be done, but you need to go soon as you can and not on a Saturday! Go when it's quiet and take your time!



If you receive pension credit, employment and support allowance, or incapacity benefit, you can buy up to 36 stamps – first or second class or a mix of both – at the old price of 36p (second) or 46p (first) instead of paying the new prices of 50p and 60p. 
This is a saving (if you buy the maximum of 36 stamps) of £5.04 - certainly worth having, but I can't help thinking 36 stamps at 36p is still a huge outlay for those on benefits! Remember you have to buy them all at once.
Nevertheless, a saving is a saving and 4 million people are entitled to this one- I wonder how many of them know about it though?  Apparently the Post office says in October it sent a leaflet explaining the scheme, to every household in the country - but I for one, did not receive it! 
So, if you are entitled, but missed out on the leaflet which explains how you can get this saving, you can telephone the Post Office for a form and voucher, but be quick the last date for ordering it is 18th December and the stamps must be bought by the 24th (bit late for your Christmas cards then!). You can also fill in an online form to get your voucher HERE or call into your local Age UK office to collect one.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


I don't know about you, but my Christmas planning has been forgotten in all the chaos of moving house! I can't find my present list- I have all the cupboards to empty and pack up yet and more presents to buy!  So, I hope you're all doing better than me! On a positive note, I have ordered a turkey!
I have just popped into a couple of charity shops on my way home and they are selling lots of tree decorations and Christmas gifts for very little - I need to go back when I've found my list!
If you're a knitter, take a look at my Free Christmas Knitting Patterns collection - I'm trying to bring together my festive favourites from all over the 'net and my aim is to get to 100 patterns before Christmas! (I'm up to 76 as of today!). 
If you have a Christmas favourite knitting pattern that I haven't featured yet, let me know in the comments box - I'd love to link to it!

Saturday, 24 November 2012


Well, a well under £5 present, actually! Owls are all the rage in the fashion world this autumn and this little bejewelled vintage look owl on a chain necklace has to be a bargain at just £1 and £1.29 delivery! Great present for an on-trend teenager! (and at that price you could throw in some chocolate too!)

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


28 different designs of free Christmas cards to pint out and colour in! Cheap cards and quiet kids - all in one!


Free Christmas labels to print out and colour in (10 different designs) - keeps the children occupied once school holidays have started and provides all your Christmas present labels!

Thursday, 15 November 2012


Another £5 present - well, probably! Make our Tutti Frutti truffles or Rocky Road and bag them up in squares of patterned cellophane or buy bags from Lakeland (20 for £3.99) then trim with parcel ribbon and a home-made label!


Tabasco® Chocolate 

A really unusual present for that uncle or brother with a taste for the hot and spicy - Tabasco Chocolate! 50g of chocolate in its own embossed Tabasco labelled tin, £3.99 from Lakeland!
Check out other Five Pound Presents here!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


Now's the time to get our decorations out and sort through, seeing what is too tatty to use again, what can still be used or what can be transformed into something else. But if you think you really have to have some new stuff, don't buy luxury decorations - go round the charity shops (now is the time they usually start putting decorations out), check what the supermarkets have to offer and don't forget the pound shops! Pound shops have lots of Christmas decorations and you can achieve a great Christmassy look on a few pounds. The trick is to colour co-ordinate, giving you the luxury look!
If you have the patience, there's lots of ideas in this blog for cheap or free decorations; a Christmas tree from a folded magazine, a gorgeous snowflake from printer paper, origami wrapping paper stars, junk mail stars, table decorations and more!


If you love knitting then the Free Christmas Knitting Pattern blog is a must-see for you! At the moment there are more than 60 free Christmas knitting patterns on there and the list is growing all the time! There are decorations, gifts, toys and much more.
Check out my growing collection of patterns for crochet and  knitted gifts!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012


Make a pint of sweets! Buy a pint glass and get creative! You could make it look like a pint of beer by filling it with Cola bottle sweets and topping off with milk bottle sweets! Or if your recipient has a taste for some other kind of sweets you could fill the whole glass with their favourite sweet! Alternatively buy £4 worth of any chocolate bars that will fit in your glass - another Five Pound Present!
Check out other Five Pound Presents here!


Finger Fairytale Temporary Tattoos - turns little fingers into puppets! At £3.50, an absolute bargain for any little one! 
Or choose Animal Hands Temporary Tattoos for talking hands!
I've deliberately linked to John Lewis to buy them from, as they will deliver free to your local Waitrose for you to pick up.
Check out other Five Pound Presents here!


Make a friend or relative a really personal present in the form of a calendar with their family photos on it!  
Get a calendar from Ebay (about £3.25) which will take your photos in a ready made pocket and order prints from Jessops as part of their 40 free prints offer when you sign up, and collect in store (avoiding delivery charge).  
Get the original photos from any you may have of the family or poach them from your relative's Facebook page!
A present for under £5 that will be truly personal and original!
Check out other Five Pound Presents here!

Saturday, 10 November 2012


Five pounds? Five pounds I hear you say? Yes, it can be done! So if you are watching the the pennies like me and need a Happy Frugal Christmas, then read on...
A budget of £5 per Christmas gift sounds impossible and even worse, mean, but the secret is to spend  little, but make it count! Your £5 gift will mean so much more than the amount spent if you actually take the time to think about the recipient. What does he or she like? What are their hobbies, interests, passions? Do they like roses? Are they gardeners or chocolate connoiseurs? Do they want to teach themselves to crochet? Do they enjoy baking or like old-fashioned retro sweets?
Think creatively and your gift will be very much appreciated, however little you spent on it - after all, as the old saying goes, it's the thought that counts!
So with that thought in mind, I'm going to see how many gifts for a fiver or under,  that I can come up with in the next few weeks. They may be home made or shop bought, or a mixture of both - come back and see!
Check out other Five Pound Presents here!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Tom Smith came up with the idea for Christmas crackers in 1847, seven years after a trip to Paris, where he had seen the French "Bon-Bon", a sugared almond wrapped in a twist of paper.  He used the idea, adding a love motto to his version and then, after being inspired by the "cracking" noise of logs on his fire, came up with the "snap".
The cracker began to evolve and grow in popularity and Smith's business moved to larger premises in Finsbury Square, London. Later on, his sons Tom, Walter and Henry took over the business after his death and a drinking fountain was erected in Finsbury Square to commemorate the man who had invented the cracker.
Walter later introduced the paper hat in the cracker and scoured the world for unusual (and small!) gifts to include inside.
The company created crackers for the Suffragettes, Charlie Chaplin, the Coronation and war heroes. 
Crackers were also made for the Royal Family and still are to the present day.



These beautiful wrapping paper origami stars can be made from all those little scraps of Christmas paper that we all have left over! You can hang them on your tree or perhaps even make several and join them together for Christmas bunting.
All you need is a 6" square of left over wrapping paper and small buttons, or other embellishments for the centre.


That's it - I'm starting Christmas blogging again and it's not even Halloween yet! I usually like to resume my frugal Christmas blogging once we've got that out of the way, but I'm seeing some really good moneysaving gift ideas around so - deep breath, I'm making a start!
Happy Frugal Christmas shopping!