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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Mirror, Mirror

So after reading my money-saving tips around Christmas, The Mirror rang and interviewed me about how I became PromotionalCodes' Savviest Christmas Saver.

Well they called me the 'Ultimate Christmas Penny Pincher' but that sounds a little - well - Scroogey. And I am anything but!

However I do consider myself the Queen of Christmas. Annie Claus, take second place!

I have the Power of Christmas! 

You can read the full article, by fellow journalist Julia Rampden here: This bargain hunter is having the luxury Christmas of her dreams for half the price

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Christmas Cards for the Cash-Strapped

Students! Welcome to a world where you have plenty of time but no money. Enjoy it because we who have more jobs and an income have no time - and would relish the opportunity to swap with you!

However had I known then as a student what I know now - such as how to make sweets and jewellery and cards and jams, and create cheap/free presents for people, I might have made both better use of my time and of what little dosh I had left after the books were bought and the rent paid and the budget brand food was purchased ... barely covering one shelf of the fridge.

So here are my tips for crafting your own Christmas card toppers, using scraps of wrapping paper, coloured paper from the inside of envelopes (or reuse marketing material as you see I've done here) some thin card (from a tissue box), those colour palette cards from a home hardware store and some puffy sticky pads from the pound store.

With these, and some blank cards (you can buy a bulk pack of 50 from Argos for about £5 if you do not want to make your own out of coloured card), you can create some amazing cards that can be sold to your friends for a small profit or given to friends and family at birthdays, weddings, Christmas and other occasions.

The cumulative savings will be incredible and the recipient will be extra thrilled to receive a professional-looking home made card from you.

Now I confess, I made this Christmas Card while on a train. Therefore the photos are not great and my space was limited. However, perhaps this would be a good way to while away a couple of hours as you travel up to uni and back, if you are a science student and therefore do not have free time, unlike we English Lit grads.

So here's how!

You will need:

  • Some wrapping paper
  • Old cardboard (ie tissue box)
  • Sticky foam pads (double sided). You can buy a roll or sheet of this in most dollar/pound stores
  • Some colourful scrap paper - the one I used here was from a flyer that John Lewis put through our letterbox - recycle, reuse, save the environment AND money
  • Colour palette cards from a DIY store
  • Scissors
  • Stick of glue
  • Ribbon to decorate. I use those ribbons found on chocolate boxes or bath gift sets or in clothing; I cut them out when I buy the top/dress and store the ribbons in a box.
How to:
  • Cut around the shapes on the wrapping paper carefully.
  • Stick them all on the card, making the most of all the space available.
  • When dry, cut them all out, like this: 
That is a lot of coverage! 
Layer a smaller one on top of a larger one with an eye for the colours; for example either a matching pattern or a complimentary colour. Use the foam pads to create a 3-D lift effect, like this:
Card-making on a train? How peculiar!
Then layer these on top of a contrasting colour palette card, and cut this equally around the edges, leaving a decent space of c. 5mm to 1cm Trim the corners if you like (this also helps to cover up any slightly un-straight cutting).

Then layer this on top of your scrap paper/rectangle of wrapping paper to match the colours of your main card topper. Trim the edges again if you like, as here, and then glue onto your card.

Voila... A handmade card-topper, and it will have cost you barely anything. Maybe add any rhinestone stickers or ribbons to finish it off, if you have any.

Here's one I made on the train. It ain't perfect - I chose an awkward shape - but it can be as complicated or as simple as you like. And it will look awesome to your friends and family.

The finished product - happy days!
The more of these you make, the better you will get - and you will get asked to make cards for all occasions (for money, too, which is amazeballs).

Have fun, students! I'd like to see your creations
. Tag me on Instagram at @simoneysunday