Monday, 11 January 2016

Preparing for next Christmas

Yes, already - there are just 348 days to go after all!

Our 'Christmas' actually starts with the Winter Solstice and peters out around January 2nd - which means a lot of food and drink is consumed.

Each January we set up a sealed pot, into which we collect as many twenty pence pieces as we can. Come the start of December we had almost £130 for the week or so of festivities. This seems pretty generous to us, our usual food budget in good times is around £40 per week for two adults and three hollow legged children. I know to many it's downright miserly; and to yet others it's downright  extravagant.

As we both had to work over Christmas itself, we treated ourselves to roast dinner at a local cafe on the winter solstice. The rest of the budget was spent on nibbles, some wine and Prosecco.  I made a pie and roast for new year; and that was the end of festivities. Without treating ourselves to the cafe, a lot of last years budget would have rolled over into this years pot.

This is my preferred way to save for Christmas - we barely notice it but always end up with a good pot at the end of the year.

Some supermarkets offer Christmas savings schemes, whereby you save a little each week, and they add a bonus come December. It makes sense if you are in a rural area and are limited to a single store; but living in the city it rarely pays to be loyal. The bonus they give you probably doesn't offset the savings you would have made if you shopped around - particularly in the 'budget' supermarkets that don't offer such schemes; and local greengrocers. If you plan to invest in one, MSE has a great article about the risks and benefits of these schemes.

Instead I prefer to use my legs - my shop this year took in my local greengrocer, Lidl, a local wholefood shop and finally Tesco. I took the youngest in her pushchair, donned a backpack and made like the nativity donkey until I had everything on my list. I pre-burned a few festive calories too.

This years sealed pot was up and running from Boxing Day. Roll on December.

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