This December Tesco Mobile has a number of special offers on handsets that are perfect for families (including the Samsung Galaxy Ace – available for £12.50 a month or the the BlackBerry Curve 9320 - available on pay as you go for £120). With Tesco Mobile you can control mobile spending with a capped tariff (i.e. your teen doesn’t go over their monthly allowance of minutes, texts or data; you can put all the handsets onto a single bill and get perks each month (e.g. free minutes or data); plus Clubcard members get triple points for each pound they spend.
We have 3 Galaxy Ace handsets to give away: 1) Leave a money savings tip below 2) Tweet it to @TescoMobile and 3) use the #XmasSavingtips hashtag to be entered in the prize draw to win one! (Read the Terms & Conditions.) You have until 31 Dec. to enter.
BritMums bloggers who’ve taken part shared their best #XmasSavingTips. Here are their top 14 tips:
1. Use price comparison websites.
Sometimes we get in a hurry and forget but Fashionmommy’s blog reminds us of the impact it can make: “I saved £13 this way buying Rocky the Robot truck for my little boy, getting it at Boots for £51, when I’d originally seen in on another website for £64.”
2. Create homemade decorations, enlisting the children.
You don’t need fancy store-bought decorations to get into the spirit of the season. The Gingerbread House shares 5 of her favourite homemade versions, including Scrabble tile decorations, multicoloured wooden stirrer snowflakes that would suit any midcentury modern design lovers, and button trees using all the odds and ends from your button jar. “I love to save money where I can which is why we’ve been busy getting our craft on and making our own decorations.”
3. When food shopping, be willing to give up on tradition.
“Everyone in your family hates brussel sprouts, yet you buy them each year because it’s tradition? Don’t buy them,” recommends Mum Reinvented. The same goes for buying big jars of cranberry sauce you barely dip into or roasting a big turkey when your family would be satisfied with a smaller…or prefer a different main altogether. “They may only be small savings but they soon add up!”
4. Set your budget and stick to it
It sounds easy, but it’s tougher than you think, says Mummy Alarm. “Write down all the people you have to buy presents for and allocate each person a certain budget. Once you have set it, don’t go back to change it.” And don’t forget to the update the list once you’ve bought for someone, to avoid buying for them again in a panic. “Believe me,” she writes, “I’ve been there!”
5. Temper your spending with temperance
“Go to any supermarket at this time of year and see trolleys being piled high with crates of beer and bottles galore,” writes Kate on Thin Ice. “Without being a party pooper, it is important to remember that it is possible to have a great time without getting inebriated” — not to mention that you’ll end the season having guzzles fewer calories and in less need of a detox!
6. Don’t get swayed by the high-street frenzy
“Don’t blindly enter the high street fray. Have a good Google first,” suggests Ellen Arnison. You can get an idea of what you’re going to buy and where to get the best deals, or find something unusual they’ll really love.
7. Use cash-back sites
“When I mention cash back sites people look at me like I’m barking mad,” says Mummy vs Work. “I’ve been using them for about 18 months now and have earned about £600+ ! In simple terms you go to a cash back site (Quidco & Topcashback are a few) then click-through to the site your purchasing from. Once you purchase from that site you then get a % back as per the cash back site you came from.” Haven’t tried it? She reckons you should!
8. Avoid buying presents for the sake of it.
Do you traditionally trade gifts with friends for whom you buy a gift – pro forma – and they buy you one right back, no thought required? “If you have people you buy for just because you feel you have to because you know they will, suggest going homemade and exchanging cupcakes or cookies instead – it will be more meaningful as well as saving a few pounds,”says Madhouse Family Reviews.
9. Put a stop to (too many) gifts for children
You want your children to have a cracking Christmas, but have anxiety to what’s under the tree. Listen to Kate Morris: “Knowing when to stop buying presents for the children, it’s rather like writing a book – you never quite feel finished. This morning I decided to stop once and for all. ” Guess what? They played all day with the box it came in anyway.
10. Skip Santa and a free personalised video instead.
Baby Budgeting recommends skipping the hassle and buying temptation of the shopping centre Santa and instead visit “The Portable North Pole. It will save you £’s they can enjoy it again and again and it really is so well done, (saving £2-£10)”.
11. Transform old Christmas cards into gift tags
“When you are putting away the trimmings and recycling the cards, select a few cards that have a neat image on the front- a Santa face or a Christmas tree for example,” suggest Juggle Mum. “As long as the sender didn’t write on the back of the image, you can cut it out to make a unique gift tag for next year’s presents. Why…spend on shop-bought tags when these work just as well and cost you nothing?”
12. Start budgeting now for next year!
Feel like you’re spending too much this year? Now’s the best time to start planning for a thrifty 2013 Christmas! “You know how much you can actually afford so don’t go over the top. I tell my children the maximum I will spend on each of their main presents to manage their expectations (no Xbox 360′s at our house!),” says Lakes Single Mum. By making a budget early, you can manage expectations, save a little each month and still create a magical Christmas with a selected few gifts they really love!
13. Change Santa’s traditions
Tradition is what you make of it, when it comes to gift giving. If kids expect one gift under the tree and one small item in the stocking, they’re thrilled when they get it. If they expect an avalanche of goodies and only get one, they can’t help but be disappointed (“Was I naughty?” they might think.) “Bear in mind whatever you do one year, your children will expect the next, and circumstances and budgets change,” says Helen from Kiddy Charts. “Santa is stingy in our house; he gives one present and a small stocking. That’s it; and the kids are fine with that as its been that way forever.” Haven’t set it up that way? Start preparing children for the change in his circumstances so they know what to expect.
14. Spend time together – it’s free!
Whether it’s working on a puzzle together, playing a board game, or putting together a game tournament, doing an activity together is at the crux of Christmas celebration. “It is a great opportunity to spend time chatting and having a laugh as a family. At so many other times we are rushing about doing things that we do not to spend time together,” writes Dragons and Fairy Dust.
THE GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.
The winners are:
Boo, Roo and Tiger Too