Our January…

Last year I started a series called “Celebrating The Small Things” were every week I would do a round up of all the little things I had to be thankful for such as one of the children learning to tie there shoes or the excitement of seeing the first flowers of spring.

Being the unorganised and scatty person that I am, committing to getting this done every week all got to much but I still wanted to keep something going this year so I’ve switched things up about with a round up style post of our month and I hope you like what you see.

We kicked the year off in a pretty amazing way with a visit to Center Parcs. This is by far one of our favourite places to get away too but the price isn’t always to attractive. We managed to get a great deal and had a few days to relax, try out some new activities, swim to our hearts content and eat our body weight in pancakes.

After a pretty hectic Christmas and a trip away we decided the rest of the holiday should be dedicated to relaxing, recouping and enjoying our new home. I am always on the look out for the next thing to do and after a discussion with the kids we decided this year would be the year to take things at a slower pace and enjoy things like movies nights and playing board games instead of always being out chasing a new adventure.

I’m truth if was Frankie that really made me feel terrible about the amount of time we spend out as he informed me he never gets a chance to just go to the park and ride his bike as I’ve always planned something. I know you mum guilt hits you all the time but I really felt terrible at the fact I must have been putting so much pressure on them.

It was Frankie’s birthday at the beginning of the month and we celebrated him turning seven with a his first day back a school which didn’t go down to well and a steak dinner. Next year it’s my mission to not let the December and January birthdays go so unnoticed.

I jumped on the keep fit bandwagon with the majority of people and got myself back into David Lloyd more regularly again. The weight had certainly piled on again over Christmas and I was eager to hit those goals again this year.

After a bit of a nightmare with going backwards and forwards to hospital and orthodontist visits, both Izzy and Archie are finally on their way to getting perfect teeth after having their braces fitted.

I’m sure most of you feel the same and get pretty bored of the same old meals everyday. I was as bored of cooking them as the kids were of eating them so I dusted off the cookbooks and tried some things I’ve never had before. All I can say is move over Wagamama as I can now cook a pretty mean katsu curry!

I’ve been adding a few pieces to the house to put our own stamp on it, but with things being a little tight I have been trying to my good friends EBay and the bargain corner at IKEA and found some great pieces. It always makes me feel happier to know I’ve got a bargain.

We rounded the month off with our first event of the year and it was a good one to say the least. We headed to Islington for the release of How To Train Your Dragon. Not only was it an amazing movie they you all need to see but the interactive event was amazing and the boys literally felt like they had been transporting the Isle Of Berk.

Some Extra Pennies For Christmas

  
It may only be October and many of you will be fed up with the shelves already being stocked full of Christmas goodies, but as we all know before we know it the big day will be upon us.

With the average family spending around £821 over the festive season here are some tips to help you find the extra money.

Shop Around

With a good 12 weeks you have plenty of time to shop around for the best price on gifts.  Around this time of year the large stores have plenty of cut price offers and three for two deals.

Check websites regularly so you don’t miss out of one of tour little ones much wanted presents for a knocked down price.

Last year I followed several pages on Facebook that brought up Amazons daily deals.  I saved a fortune on a lot of the presents the kids wanted.

Have A Clear Out

As with most of us we all have things lying around the house that we no longer need or want.  It is a great time to make the most of this and start to list on selling sites such as eBay.  

We always have a good clear out of toys, clothes, books etc and put them on eBay around now.  The money that I make then goes into PayPal and I use that to by presents with.  I would say that over half of my presents were bought like this last year and it really feels as if you are getting something for nothing!

Stop Those Morning Lattes

I am a great lover of a coffee shop but I know that it does nothing for my purse!!

All theses little extras like magazines and those cheeky little cakes you pick up all add up and could go a long way towards the Christmas budget.

Say we spend £2.50 a day on coffee five days a week, that will work out at £12.50 a week.  If you were to forgo that for the next twelve weeks you would make a saving of £150.  A fair whack of the Christmas budget hey?

There are apps that you can download such as Spending Tracker that can show you exactly where you are over spending.

Just The Kids

A long time ago I stopped buying presents for friends and family and now just buy for the little ones.

This may sound harsh but for us it’s the exitment in the children’s faces when that get what they want that is the best present.  We find that having some days out together in the lead up to Christmas is much nicer and also kinder on the pocket.

I do however have one exception and that is my sister as she has five children to buy for and she has none for me to by back for!

Early Bird Days Out

Keep an eye out for Christmas days out at this time of year as many will be up with discounted tickets if they are booked now.  Have a look for things you would really love to do and you could save some money on doing it.

Homemade Gifts

For me there is nothing better than receiving a handmade gift.  There is so much more love and thought in them and handily they are a lot cheaper.  The children love preparing chocolates and cards for their teachers and taking them in on the last day of term.

I hope I have given you a few tips here that will come in handy and go towards a happy yet thrift Christmas.

Do you have any tips oh saving over this expensive time.