Although I’ve always been a sucker for this time of year, since becoming a parent the idea of Christmas has suddenly become even more magical. The lead-up, the build-up, the adverts on television, just everything about it has me squealing with excitement.
However, last year was my son’s first Christmas and although he was only 9 months old, it was one of the Christmas’s I’ve looked forward to the most. But, instead of being together as a family, opening presents and stuffing my face with a yummy roast, I actually spent the majority of the day with my head stuck down the toilet with a sickness bug. Nice!
So yes, it really did suck! Yes, I cried all day and yes, I was broken hearted for months afterwards but life really does go on. I can now safely say that I am finally over the grief and disbelief of losing last Christmas and extremely excited to try again this year. Harry will be 21 months this Xmas which is a great age as he is so much more aware. Over the past month, I have been introducing him to legendary Christmas gold such as; ‘The Snowman’, plenty of Christmas Songs and various cute Xmas-related stories. He also now say’s ‘HO, HO, HO!’ when he hears or see’s an image of Santa. It really is truly magical!
I have built up a lovely collection of items over the past few months for Harry’s Christmas presents, which overall hasn’t cost very much at all. To me, Christmas isn’t about spending ridiculous amounts of money. Whilst it’s going to be lovely to watch Harry opening his presents, he will probably be more interested in the boxes and wrapping paper, so in my opinion, spending a huge amount of money just isn’t worth it. Bargain hunting is within my nature, I am a great believer in the beauty of second-hand items and I’m always on the look-out for any deals or offers. Therefore, due to these reasons, I have been able to accumulate some good quality gifts but at a fraction of the cost and here are my top tips on how to achieve it…
Ok, so I am a huge fan of eBay and have relied on this selling platform a lot over the years. Whether it’s been a purchase for myself or for Harry, I’ve always received great quality products and even sold my own items on there too – a great way to save up some pennies for Christmas! Going back to when Harry was a Newborn, I used to buy bundles of clothing which always arrived in amazing condition. These clothes consisted of excellent, good quality brands such as; NEXT, John Lewis, The Little White Company etc, but because they get such little wear, you can even sell them on again after you’ve used them! Once I’d gone through a size, I’d sell that as a bundle and then I’d be onto the next search for the following size up. I’ve spent many of sleepless nights scrolling the depths of eBay, it was seriously my best friend on maternity leave!
Over the past year, I have also used eBay to buy books, jigsaws and toys too. Plus I have also recently discovered an amazing seller on there called ‘cashstreettoys’.
This seller sells pre-owned toys which all undergo quality checks to ensure that the items are safe and to a high standard before selling. It’s worth a look, some of their products are fantastic and although I haven’t bought from this seller myself just yet – I currently have a few items in my basket that I’m pondering over and their site is just too valuable not to be able to share!
So, if you’re looking for cheap bargains or a way to make some extra cash during the Christmas period, eBay is a good place to start!
Who doesn’t love a charity shop, seriously? I guess it sometimes depends on where and when you visit but even if I’m not successful, I enjoy the mooching around. It’s practically like searching for treasure, and I love the feeling I get when I finally do discover that ‘find’. Now I’m no fisherman but I can imagine it’s a similar sort of feeling to when you finally catch that fish you’ve longingly been waiting for, it’s liberating! I just adore knowing that these once treasured items have a history behind them and I also love that they’ve been given the opportunity to be re-loved and used once again. Knowing that you’re recycling items at a good cost, whilst also giving to charity is a win-win situation, right?
My favourite charity shop is a local Children’s Hospice Care store located in our nearest town. It’s an amazing shop full of all children’s items ranging from prams, clothes, toys, books and much more. I tend to pop in whenever I’m in town ‘just in case’ I find that special something, but I’m not always that lucky. I have, however, found some amazing discoveries in there over the past year. I recently bought a couple of great condition books, which I have put aside to give to Harry in his Christmas stocking (he’s getting plenty of books this year!)
Luckily Harry is at the age where second hand just doesn’t matter because to him, it’s still brand new. Honestly, the look on his face when he’s received pre-loved items in the past is just as amazing as the look he gives when he’s received something brand new. It just doesn’t matter…I am savouring the innocence whilst I can!
Not only is Facebook one of the Worlds largest social media sites, but it is also a genius way of discovering many money saving opportunities. Whether you’re on the hunt for the latest deals or looking to sell your own items, this is a site you can certainly depend on!
Facebook’s selling groups are an incredibly popular way of buying and selling items efficiently. From local selling groups to Facebook’s recent addition ‘the marketplace’, you can upload your items for free without any fees and in most cases, the buyer will collect the item, therefore dismissing any postage costs!
Over the years I have become a member of not just the selling groups within my local community, but also groups Nationwide. Whether I’ve been bargain hunting for our Wedding day, baby essentials, household items and more, I have actually been hugely successful and even sold a few items of my own.
One of my favourite FB purchases to date was a huge ‘Happyland’ toy bundle by ELC. One of my friends advertised this bundle on one of our local selling groups for £15 and I, fortunately, managed to see it almost straight away. Within this toy bundle was a variety of little male and female figures, various pets and lots of zoo animals. Plus, lots of cars, village furniture and much more. My friend kindly delivered it to me as she was passing through my village. However, I couldn’t quite believe it when she arrived…the box was full! A set like this from ELC would have cost way over £50, so I was very happy with my bargain. I actually decided to split half of the box, so I gave Harry some of the toys roughly six months ago and I still have half a box left, which I’m going to wrap up and give to him either for his birthday in March or this Christmas.
Another item I recently bought on the same selling page was a ‘RAA RAA The Noisy Lion’ toy set. It comes with an interactive tree house, all of the animal figures, a car and a train, all for £8….what a steal! The condition is fantastic, so once again I have put this away for Christmas, and I know Harry will absolutely love it!
Raa Raa The Noisy Lion Bundle.
The last selling page ‘win’ of mine was a Fisher Price car garage for just £5. I have put this away for the big day, too. It’s a little dusty, but it’s quite large and still works really well. With a little bit of TLC, I think this will make a fab pressie!
Fisher Price Garage (Needs a good clean-up!)
In addition to the selling groups, you can also ‘like’ pages that are designed to promote certain products, which also inform you of the latest deals and any up and coming store events.
Here are some links to my favourite money-saving Facebook pages:
– Bump Baby and You
– Money Saver Online
– Money Saving Mummy
– Baby and Toddler Bargain Bay
– Play Pennies
– Bargain Hub For Little Ones
– Bargain Hunters – Don’t get stuffed by Christmas
I could go on and on, the list really is endless!
So, if you’re on the hunt for some Christmas bargains, please ‘like’ the above links and be prepared for your timeline to be filled with big product promotions, store events, discount codes, current deals and much more. I promise you won’t regret it!
Supermarket Baby/Toddler Events
ALDI, LIDL, ASDA, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Boots, Mothercare – you name it! They all offer brilliant baby/toddler store events at certain times throughout the year, bringing to you some amazing deals either online or instore.
My favourites so far have been…
ALDI – Unfortunately I missed this year’s event but I’ve previously found it to be very successful. I remember grabbing some great bargains from there when I was expecting but I also found it to be very useful during the first year of Motherhood, too. With products ranging from all those handy essentials such as; calpol, nappies, baby wipes etc, to more exciting items such as baby books, nursery items, wooden toys and much more. The variety really is huge, along with some mega money saving deals too!
Sainsbury’s – The most scariest event to date, but also one of the most victorious! If you haven’t been before, unfortunately, you will now have missed this year’s date. It usually happens during mid-October and is one not to miss. Although, saying that – you have to be prepared to walk into a store that will be jam-packed with hundreds of toys everywhere, endless amounts of overflowing trollies, crowded aisles, lots of screaming children and a number of sweaty and stressed Mothers. It’s a scary World in there!
It was so busy when I went that I actually couldn’t bare it. Although I did manage to persevere, and thankfully my Mum came with me, so she kindly helped with Harry whilst I made my way through the sea of angry Mothers. Thankfully I came out alive and luckily with a few great items, too. My steal of the day was Harry’s main present, ‘A chad valley fire engine set’ for £16. Harry loves anything with fire engines and figures, so this is the perfect gift for him. I also bought a bag of ‘Thomas the Tank’ mega blocks for £5, a few books (1x interactive and 2x lift the flap types) for £8, and a set of toddler ‘pairs’ playing cards for £2 – all ideal stocking fillers.
My Sainsbury’s bargain buys.
My Mum also managed to get a few presents for her Grandchildren, too! So, despite the challenges faced, this event really is worth a try!
Amazon is one of my favourite places to buy from because it literally sells everything you can possibly think of! I pay monthly for the Amazon Prime subscription, which eventually happened after many free trials (until I ran out of accounts to use) and many months of pondering over whether I should take the plunge or not. Although I’m so pleased I finally did!
We used to have Netflix, which is great but when you’re a parent – you don’t really get to experience the full benefits of a Netflix subscription. Therefore, my reasons for changing were merely down to the fact that as a parent, I benefitted far more from Amazon Prime’s services for exactly the same price each month but with other luxuries included, such as; free next day Prime delivery service, special membership deals and discounts on certain products, Amazon Video (with a great selection of Children’s on-demand TV shows), Amazon Music and discounts on the Kindle book app.
As you can probably tell by now, I absolutely love my books and fortunately for me, so does Harry. Therefore I wanted to share with you one of my Top Amazon tips for buying books at Christmas…
If there is a book you’re interested in or you know you want to buy, search for it and click on the item as normal. Once you’re on the item’s main page, scroll down gently to the option ‘used and new offers’. This is Amazon’s selection of pre-loved books, which are sold by other companies who use Amazon as a selling platform.
Now, this option isn’t always successful. But most of the time I have been able to find good condition books for as little as 1p, and all you have to pay for is the delivery charge. Amazing, right?
Here is an example:
This ‘Giraffes Can’t Dance’ story is advertised on Amazon for £5.24. However, if you click on the link ‘used and new offers’, you will find others for much cheaper.
If you try this, please just make sure the option states that the book is at least in ‘good’, ‘acceptable’ or ‘like new’ condition and that the company it’s coming from looks reliable and has good ratings, too!
I’m sorry if I’m boring you with my book buying tips but I couldn’t not share with you my recent experience with theworks.com
This site is especially ideal if you have lots of children to buy for as you can do the ‘10 books for £10 deal’. I recently managed to buy a charming selection of Christmas stories which I have decided to split between Harry and some other tiny people. So not only did I get more stocking fillers for Harry, but I also got some brilliant gifts for others within that deal too! The best part about it is you can individually choose the selection of books yourself to cater to your own preferences.
These were my choices:
To get yours, follow the link here:
They also have a gorgeous selection of Winter/Christmas colouring and sticker books – from as little as £1.50 each. These are perfect for stockings, as well as great gift ideas for other children too.
So, there you have it…my guide towards creating a cheap but happy Christmas!
Please just remember, Christmas isn’t about being materialistic. It’s about spending time together as a family and appreciating one another. Anything you buy for your little one, whether it’s second-hand or not – I can guarantee will be loved and adored just the same. So please take the pressure off yourself and enjoy Christmas for what it truly has to offer. A time full of love, joy and kindness!
If you have your own money-saving top tips, please feel free to comment and share any links. I think this could be a great way to help others this Christmas!
Have a wonderful Christmas.