A SUPER saver who does Christmas for FREE has revealed the tips and tricks that make it possible.
Maddy Alexander-Grout buys presents 364 days in advance of the big day and utilises supermarket loyalty schemes to not pay for the turkey or three-bird roast.
The 40-year-old uses Nectar points, gained through Sainsbury’s resident loyalty scheme, to pay for her entire Christmas dinner.
"I start planning as soon as Christmas has finished,” she says.
You may be surprised to find out that Maddy was once in £40k debt but crawled out of it by being financially savvy.
The mum-of-two buys presents and decorations 364 days in advance in Boxing Day sales and sells unwanted items on Facebook Marketplace to generate prezzie funds.
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By recouping the funds spent on presents throughout the year and using Nectar points to purchase Christmas dinner, Maddy is able to make the big day 100% free.
The mum, from Southampton, wants her children to have a good attitude towards money and not grow up materialistic, so she and her husband “don't go crazy on presents”.
She buys the majority of their presents from charity shops and second-hand auction sites like Vinted, as well as in sales.
This included scooters for her children, now aged four and eight, which cost her just £7 each when they would have been around £50 new.
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She even got her mum a “barely used” designer bag for £5 from a charity shop which would have cost £90 brand new.
Explaining how she seemingly does the impossible, Maddy said: "We don't scrimp and save on Christmas dinner – we have the works. Everything's got to be nice.
"I would say that our Christmas dinner and all the food over the Christmas week comes to around £300, and we pay for that with our Nectar points. We had £350 worth last year.
"We collected them just from doing our regular shopping and being really savvy, which meant looking out for the things we regularly buy and making sure we got double points when we could.
“We also get points by buying our petrol at Sainsbury's.
"This year, we're going to my mum's and she has said she's going to do all of the cooking.
“We're just going to bring the vegetables – and my husband's a gardener so they are free.
"That means that we've already got about £250 worth of Nectar points going into next year already so that Christmas is already covered.”
MADDY’S TOP FIVE TIPS FOR SAVING MONEY THIS CHRISTMAS
1. Budget for everything. Maddy said: "Make sure you've got a list and stick to it because that's where it starts to get expensive when you buy things that you don't necessarily need."
2. Take stock of what's already in your cupboards. According to Maddy, it will save you buying unnecessary things when preparing your Christmas feast.
3. Get discount vouchers. Maddy said: "Places like the Mad About Money App, which is free to download, have discount vouchers that save me hundreds every year on my food shopping – and on other items as well like toys and games."
4. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Maddy said: "It's more about the family and spending time together. Christmas isn't about having things that are better than your neighbours. If you find if you buy your kids absolutely everything, it doesn't teach them value for money."
5. Shop second-hand. Maddy said that a lot of items in charity shops are donated brand new and you can get them for bargain prices, especially at this time of the year when people often have a clear out ahead of Christmas.
Maddy shared that she used to have a “spending addiction” but has since changed her mindset to prioritise “presence over presents”.
"We cover the cost of the presents with money I make on Facebook Marketplace,” she continued.
“I've not made as much this year, but I've still made about £600, which will easily cover the cost of presents.
"We needed a new tree for this Christmas, so I got a bargain on Boxing Day last year. It was almost half price.
"Obviously, my husband and I do spend more on the kids, but we don't spend a huge amount on each other because we don't need it."
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Maddy has funded her own budgeting app named Mad About Money, where she tracks her spending and empowers others to do the same.
“I basically budget for everything,” she says.
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