Cost Saving Christmas

By Joan Mitchell

Cost saving Christmas

A few years ago the recession was something each family knew about from neighbours of their extended family, sadly now every family in Ireland has first-hand experience of it. If we can’t change the economy then we can change how we react to it.

Ebay: If you have any branded clothing (Next, Debenhams etc.) that are in good condition you can take photos of them and sell them online using eBay. I did this myself last year and used the money to buy a few Christmas presents.

Charity Shops: You would be surprised by the quality of clothes in charity shops, but you do need to be persistent and get yourself a routine. So call in once a week, get chatting to the people working in the shop and tell them what you are looking for. Whether it is a winter coat or a school jumper or a wet suit for the kids – you will find whatever you are looking for, as long as you are prepared to look every week.

Clothes recycling: These shops are springing up everywhere now so clear out your worn out or faded clothes, shoes and handbags. They only pay 50 cent per kilo but you can get €10-€15 euro from a good spring clean – remember only the old faded items, sell any good quality items online.

Cheap or free websites like or are invaluable right now. On Done Deal everything is second hand and you can buy a suite of furniture or a bike for the kids. If ‘Free’ is the key word for you, then look at Dublin waste if you need a piece of furniture or an electrical item.

Special Offers – read every leaflet from every retailer and you can build your meals for the week around what is on offer, but remember to take a shopping list and only buy what is on the list.

Bake your own bread: I know it may sound old fashioned, but there are bags of flour now with all the ingredients added so all you have to do is add milk. On average a bag of brown soda costs €2 and will make at least four big loaves which will keep you going all week – and you can make other varieties too. Making scones is easy and the more you make, the better you will become at them. Persevere and you will be surprised at how many you can make for a few cents.

Soup: We have survived many a lean week with the help of soup. Again buy whatever vegetables are on offer and make sure you have some soup mix in your store cupboard. Look up something different like roasted parsnips soup (surprisingly easy and tasty) or why now try pumpkin or butternut squash which are really heartening in the winter.

Start to think creatively and you will be pleasantly surprised at how you can save money and start to appreciate the simple things in life.