Saturday, 7 September 2013

108 days

108 days to You Know What.....I mentioned it yesterday, but today I have been through our finances again more closely and worked out what needs to be achieved by the end of the year - and it isn't a pretty sight!  Our savings plan has had some serious hurdles to cover this year and it is beginning to look like one or two of the fences might just be too much for it.  

Christmas could be a seriously expensive time, for all and sundry, if we don't take control and make some decisions, probably very soon!  Frugal Queen has had a post this weekend with some brilliant ideas, so do hop over there and have a look at her strategies for success and sanity.

What will we do here in the Fens?  

I've had a little while to think about some of our areas of expense, and how to deal with them sensibly.

Christmas Cards

I still have a serious stash of cards from past years, and so there will be no spending on actual cards.  Many modern and technologically-savvy friends won't mind a wave on Facebook or an email, but I will be hand-delivering cards to older friends in the village and the local towns when we are out and about.  Getting the cards written early enough means that we can deliver them without making a special trip.  One or two special people will get letters instead of cards and perhaps a few photos as well.  These are people who live further afield and whom we don't see in person from one year to the next, unfortunately.

Christmas Pudding

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I made two of these last year, so this is covered already.  It will be very well matured!  I may not make brandy butter this year, as some people [!!] seemed to use the pudding merely as a vehicle to get the brandy butter into their mouths in rather large portions, so perhaps a nice orange-zest/juice flavoured butter would go down nicely with the pud this year.

Christmas Cake

It is only the FH and UJ who will eat this, so it will be a small, home made one.  This will get made in October half-term to give it time to develop the flavours.  I have been using the same recipe since 2000, so it is a good one, which the FH and UJ both love.

Christmas Dinner

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The Aldi Three-Bird Roast went down very well last year, so that will probably be on the menu again this year.  It cost £9.99, and it would be handy if they kept the price the same!  The vegetables will be fresh or frozen, the Yorkshire pud will be home made, and the stuffing, courtesy of AF, is already in the store cupboard.  I always buy the crackers in the sales in January so they are tucked away in the garage.

Home made treats

I do make mince pies in rather large quantities, but they always get eaten by the family and the guests who pop in, and the congregation at the chapel when I take them along there.  The ingredients are not terribly expensive, and I have dried fruit in stock for the making of the mincemeat.  A good sponge will keep those who hate dried fruit happy, and a couple of tubes of own-brand "Pringle"-type crisps with a home made dip will be great for evening munchies over the festive period.  We have lots of pickles in stock, and with the addition of the normal cheese ration, the FH will have a good supper now and again.


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We have collectively decided that there will be fewer gifts given outside the family as the children we have been giving them to are growing up and are more and more difficult to buy things for because we never actually see them!  There are about 6 local children who will receive gifts, and a couple of cyber-friends to whom I love to send small items.  The older local children might receive hat and scarf sets as I have lots of wool in stock!  I do like to show my appreciation to the teachers at the village school, and last year made them the mock Ferrero-Rocheresque sweets, so they may well get those again. They are very economical to make, too.  I also have several tins of condensed milk ready for the fudge making.

The girls

I have already begun to stash away small items for their stockings, and I will be waiting for their suggestion lists to come forward in about six weeks' time.  The lovely thing is that they know that the season is about more than gifts, and know not to be greedy in their list-making.  The YFG has had a tablet for her birthday and understands that she will not get anything as valuable as that in December.  The EFG also realises that she will be needing items like a new laptop when she goes away to uni next autumn, so it would be daft to be spending out on things like that now - her laptop is getting on now, but I am hoping it has another year in it!

The tree

Our tree will make it through another year!  

Remembering that Christmas for us is about Christ is one thing, but knowing that it doesn't hold that meaning for everyone, it should still be more about relationships, spending time with friends and relatives and taking time to recharge the batteries than it is about spending money.  We can have a good time without bankrupting ourselves for the rest of the year. 

You will be spared further posts on this until December as you now know our plans!  Anyone wanting any of the recipes I have mentioned, just ask and I will link you up with them - they are all here in previous year's posts.

40 tips for September over here at Frugaldom - fabulous post - some of these will also help with the Christmas spending.


Judy Y said...

You are very organised! I'm so impressed :)

We have at least set the date for our extended family get together which is good as we can at least plan around that!

Mrs. Mac said...

It is wise and necessary to plan and save for Christmas. You have a good plan laid out. We stash away a bit of $ each month so it's not a big burden at the end of the year. No credit card use either. Have a blessed day.

Mrs. Mac said...

P.S. Here's a blog that you might get some frugal tips from. This gal spends only $100 a month for food/groceries, etc. She barters and gets swag bucks from Amazon, etc. Has a big garden, etc. Coupon clips like a queen.

Frugal in Bucks said...

Mmm, that pudding, those cakes. Look lovely. We can all go a bit mad with shopping. We go to my parents and my mums fridge is always heaving. X

Morgan said...

@FIB - yes, we always have the host's role at Christmas as my uncle will be here at some point, my dad will drop in over the period one afternoon, the FH's cousin will come over on Boxing Day perhaps, etc. There is no one else in our immediate family who ever hosts a gathering on Christmas Day, so we stay home and welcome those who want to come to us. Of course, when my mum was alive, things were different and we would all go "home" to her!

Morgan said...

@Mrs Mac - thanks for that link - I will pop over and have a look :)