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Monday, December 21, 2015

DIY Christmas? Why the heck not?

Did you read about the money-saving mother who bought hundreds of presents for her sons? Although she is evidently a savings queen - having bought everything at a discount - one has to wonder whether this devalues the worth of each individual gift.

She claimed to the Daily Mail that her children were not spoiled or treated lavishly throughout the year, and I absolutely agree that she has the right to spend her money as she feels fit. It's her choice, and her Christmas.

Personally, were I to be in the blessed state of motherhood, I would hesitate to give more than 3-5 presents to each child at Christmastime, so that I could make sure they properly understood the value of each item and that each toy would mean more to them. Furthermore, I have seen first-hand that cheaper toys just do not last very long - a friend of mine saw two Christmas toys broken by Boxing Day by her energetic three-year-old.

Therefore my mantra is, and should always be quality, not quantity. Always quality (and if you can get this at a discount, perfect!). I get this from my mother, who always told me that if she were given £200,000 to buy something, she would rather buy one exceptionally nice painting or an antique bookshelf or piano, rather than 20 cheaper, flashy items.

It seems this view is shared by many across the country; surveyed UK adults and discovered that what people really want is a good-quality, long-lasting gift rather than a cornucopia of ... well, crap.

According to those cheeky money-saving elves, investing in quality gifts can prove to be more cost-effective for the receiver, such as soy candles, which last longer than paraffin wax, and eau de parfum instead of eau de toilette.

Darren Williams from said: “Christmas is the time for giving, but why not let your gift keep on giving by saving the receiver money?

“When your loved ones ask you what you want for Christmas, think really hard about what you really enjoy doing, then think about how you can save money without compromising on what you like.

“Or better yet, what causes a hole in your pocket and what product would prevent it?

“Some of the gifts are a little pricey to start with but in the long run you’ll be thanking Santa for saving you cash.”

Here are some of the site's 15 suggestions:

1. Eau de parfum
Always go for eau de parfum not eau de toilette. Parfum is more expensive but will last for double the amount of time and the scent does not fade after a few minutes.

2. Hand blender
Buying a meal deal everyday for lunch adds up to well over £5,000 so why not ask for a hand blender to make your own soups to take to work? You can also use it to make pasta sauces from scratch which saves a fortune compared to shop brought and are much tastier.

3. Filtered water bottle
Buying bottled water to take the gym or have at your desk can add up so ask Santa for a filtered water bottle. You can refill it for free and the filter will remove any hardness from the water, making it taste better and encouraging you to drink more.

4. Salad spinner
Pre-made bags of salad are pricey and have a short shelf life. Instead buy your salad ingredients separately and use your new salad spinner to turn it into the real deal.

5. Soy candles
Soy candles burn 50% longer than paraffin candles so whilst they are more expensive they are hugely cost-effective.

They also topped this off with buying classes for yourself or a friend. This is an excellent idea. Whether it’s mechanics, knitting, cookery or woodworking, you can have loads of fun learning a new skill as well as saving money once you’ve mastered the craft.

In my case, jewellery making and card making classes would be an amazing way to take my wee craft stalls onto the next level, learning more and making more money in return.

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