A THRIFY mum has revealed why people should start preparing for Christmas 2023 now, and claims she saves hundreds of pounds each year.
Tahnee Beck, 32, a social media manager from Holt, Norfolk, is a self-proclaimed "savvy saver" who shares her top tips on how to see your money go further – especially for fellow parents.
With the cost-of-living crisis and Christmas less than one week away, the mum has revealed how to budget for next year's soiree, one whole year ahead of time, and claims it's saved her hundreds of pounds.
"As things are so tight with the rising cost of living, I've already started working on my budget for next year," Tahnee, who shares her top tips on Instagram (@christmas.prepper), told NeedToKnow.Online.
"I've planned how much I'd like to put away each month and this way, I have a little pot of money I can use whenever I see bargains throughout the year.
"I like to buy presents early, and when good deals come along, as it saves money in the long run.
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"I can't always predict what my income will be around Christmas as I'm self-employed and we won't be doing a big roast with all the trimmings this year to save money.
"My husband and I have also agreed not to do presents for each other, so we'll be focusing on experiences with the children and their gifts instead.
"The lead-up to Christmas is such a busy time and it's so easy to get stressed – especially when money is tight.
"I started preparing for Christmas earlier when my children were small, so I could spend more time with my family during the festive season instead of running around.
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"Each year, I started preparing earlier and earlier, where I realised I could save a lot of money by shopping in sales and picking up bargains."
Here are Tahnee's top tips:
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New Year and summer sales
In a bid to make room for new season items, shops often like to clear their stock in the new year – and lots of bargains can be found in the January sales.
However, these great deals can also be found during the summer, when Tahnee believes the focus on summer holidays overrides people's shopping habits.
She said: "July is not generally a big shopping month, as people are focusing on their summer holidays and I have found that bigger retailers often drop their prices with big discounts at this time of year.
"Small, crafty businesses on Etsy and Instagram often have Christmas in July, as they need to start planning and making items early in order to beat the November/December rush."
In July 2022, she picked up some Cath Kidston pyjamas for her daughter, as well as some stocking fillers – with up to 60% off.
Tahnee also scored some personalised pyjamas for her son and some gift pouches with up to 20% off.
The 32-year-old added: On Prime Day, in July, I ordered Alexas for my kids and reduced lego sets, too.
"I look online when shops are advertising discounts and filter by the lowest price first to see what's been discounted the most.
"I don't pay full price unless it's from a small business.
"In January, shops want to clear their stock fast, so whatever is left in is often knocked down to bargain prices.
"I've bought a Christmas tree, down from £250 to £18 before and decorations from £44.85 to £13.51."
Reusable advent calendars
Apart from her bargain tips, Tahnee also likes to practice sustainability with her "savvy" hacks – and has created a reusable advent calendar which will last her kids until they are adults.
She said: "Previously, I have bought advent calendars with plastic toys in them, but I found that the children weren't interested in them for very long.
"So now, each year, I wrap up 24 Christmas books that I've been collecting for a while for a book advent calendar.
"You can pick books up cheaply in second-hand shops and used ones online.
"The kids love unwrapping one each evening and we read it together – but they also have cheap chocolate ones too."
It's no secret decorations for the festive season can cost a fortune – with lights, trees and ornaments, the prices all mount up.
However, in a bid to create a Christmas-movie home, Tahnee has put her creative skills to use instead.
Tahnee added: "Last year, I really wanted a garland for our mantlepiece, but the light-up ones I was looking at, cost a fortune.
"So I bought some cheap green fir from Amazon and a box of small red baubles, with some spare fairy lights I already had to make my own garland and I love it.
"I'm hoping to create some DIY wreaths and decorations with some forage foliage from my garden and local woods.
"I love the look of big wreaths at the garden centre, but they are so expensive – so I'm going to try and make my own.
"There are tutorials for almost anything on YouTube, so it's just a case of finding the time.
"I also like to make some gifts and last year I put together some hampers and drawstring bags for children's gifts."
Before, the mum-of-two splashed out on Christmas with big dinners, gifts and trips out for all the family – costing an estimated £2,000.
Now, she estimates Christmas 2022 will only cost her less than £1,000 and believes it's important to make the most of free activities during the holiday.
Tahnee added: "We like to focus on nice experiences with the kids and I love to do 'events' for them at home.
"Last year we had a midnight feast and a North Pole breakfast.
"We also have a hot chocolate bar in our kitchen, so we can make out own fancy [drinks] at home and save money by not buying them while we're out.
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"A lot of people are struggling this year and Christmas is usually a time that many families look forward to, especially those with younger children.
"Not everything around Christmas needs to cost a lot of money and some of our favourite family traditions are reading books together with a video of a fire playing or watching movies snuggled under the blankets."
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