Enjoy a Hearty Christmas Feast without Burning Your Pocket

With gifts and decorations, the holiday season can quickly add up resulting in you spending more than originally planned. Fortunately, you can still prepare a delicious holiday meal for family and friends without over-spending. There is certainly something to be said for not spending more than necessary. Here are some ideas for Christmas food ideas and cheap Christmas meals to save you a little cash.

Plan and Prepare in Advance

Planning in advance is perhaps the best way to save money on food during the holidays. With some advanced planning and preparation, you can still have an exorbitant meal at a low price. Where many go wrong is waiting until the last minute to decide what to prepare. This results in last-minute, impulsive shopping and can really put a dent in the holiday budget. First, take some time to make a menu of what dishes you will prepare. Then, make a list of all ingredients you will need with emphasis in all. Don’t leave out anything, including drinks and beverages. Check your refrigerator and pantry for items you already have and make a note of which items you need to purchase. For items you have but are running low on, make sure you purchase enough to replenish your stock.

Secondly, start purchasing items in advance. It can be intimidating to go out and buy every single item. The last thing you will feel is as if you are saving money. Not only is it easier on the budget, purchasing items 1-2 at a time in advance can even make the actual meal more enjoyable if money is tight since you will be less likely to dwell on how much the meal cost.

Downsize Meals and Dishes

Think back to past meals and make a note of which dishes were the most popular, and which were not. If you usually have loads of leftovers from your green-bean casserole, it may not worth making this year. If your rhubarb pie is hardly touched, don’t make it. Those enjoying your meals obviously have other favourites. If you insist on including these in your menu, just make less. Or, cut it out altogether. The cost of ingredients adds up quickly. Focus on the dishes that are the most liked. Not only will it save money, it will also save you time and effort. Cutting down on desserts is another great way to downsize your meals without downsizing the joy of holiday foods. The trend is usually far too many desserts. Just keep it simple with a pie and some cookies. You do not need to have a dessert buffet to satisfy your guests. By the time they reach dessert, most are too full to eat most of the desserts anyways.

Take Advantage of Money Saving Christmas Offers

Shortly before the holiday season, food retailers usually have special promotions for on traditional holiday ingredients and foods, such as turkeys, hams, potatoes and stuffing. By preparing your menu and ingredients list in advance, you will be in a much better position to take advantage of these money saving offers. An easy way to overspend on holiday food is to make impulse purchases on sale items, only to find out during the meal preparation that you didn’t need that much stuffing or already had enough potatoes. It is not saving you anything if you purchase two cans of evaporated milk but one sits in the pantry until you finally toss it. This is a fantastic time to find cheap Christmas food.

As you see, it is possible to have a special holiday meal and stay within budget. It is all about sharing and celebrating with family and friends. Planning and preparing in advance is a great money saver and stress reliever, adding to the holiday joy rather than taking away. Keep it simple and always be open to asking guests to bring a small dish. One great way to share the cost is to invite your guests to bring a dessert. Many enjoy making desserts and everyone will likely be happy to contribute.

Go Green at Home to Save More Pounds

Save Money and the Planet by Going Green

People are becoming increasingly aware of our environment and are thinking of ways to go green and clean up the environment. There is also a good spin off from the green movement and that is the fact that green living not only saves our planet but will also save us quite a few pounds as well.

Here are some things that you can do at home to go green and save money on your energy bills. When we use less energy we will have less pollutants being emitted to the air.

  1. Keep your filters clean: This will save money on bills. When your filters are clean your heating or cooling system will have to work less hard to produce heat or cooling to your home. This means less energy is burnt and fewer pollutants are emitted to the air. When you use less energy you will pay less.
  2. Turn down your thermostat: even one degree will save 10% of your energy bills. This will help to burn less energy and emit fewer pollutants into the air. Over the course of a year this will add up to quite a bit. Turning down your water heater will also save money and the environment.
  3. Recycle: recycling your newspapers will save 1000,s of trees per year. Trees act as natural filters for the air and will filter out many pollutants. They are also a natural habitat to many birds, small animals and insects. Recycling will help to save trees and keep your energy costs down as using recycled paper is cheaper.
  4. Energy proof your home: Most homes, especially if they are older, have many places where cold air can come into the home. The worst places are droughty windows and cold air coming from the roof and walls of the home. It is good to install better fitting windows and insulate the roof and inner walls of your home.
  5. Use your appliances less: One of the biggest energy eaters is your dryer. When the weather permits you can line dry your clothes and save a lot when you use your dryer less. Also take care to turn off lights when you are not in a room. This small amount of energy saved makes a big difference to your pocket book and the environment.
  6. Solar energy is when you use the sun to generate electricity. This is done by using solar panels. This does not cost you anything as the sun will generate the energy.  The panels are generally placed on the roof of the home.

There is a free UK solar panel scheme in place in Britain. In April 2010 the FIT program was implemented by the British government. It resulted in free solar panels being distributed to a limited number of homes. The government pays the company a special tariff for installing these solar panels on the roofs of the houses. The home owner gets free electricity generated from the solar panels and saves a substantial amount of money on their energy bills. This scheme serves as a good incentive for homeowners to save money and help fewer pollutants to enter the atmosphere.

  1. Your vehicle:
    1. Letting your engine idle will burn unnecessary fuel. If possible it is best to turn off your engine if you are going to be stationary for a while.
    2. Drive a little slower: even a 10 MPH difference will help to burn less fuel and fewer pollutants will be emitted to the atmosphere.
    3. Hybrid cars: if you are thinking about buying a new car consider a hybrid one. These cars allow you to use an alternative fuel like biodiesel mixed with fossil fuel.  This will save your a lot of money at the petrol pump and fewer pollutants will be emitted to the atmosphere. There are also petrol/electric Hybrid cars. These can save you even more money as they run on electricity and petrol.

5 Great Gifts You Can Get With Voucher Codes

Shopping for gifts can be a costly endeavor. This holds true for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries or other special occasions—it’s all the same money being spent just for a different reason. How would you like to be able to save money each and every time you need to purchase a gift? It is possible thanks to the increasing availability of voucher codes retailers are offering today. For those unfamiliar with this concept, let me give a brief synopsis so we can move onto some great gift ideas you can get using them.

Voucher codes are really just online coupons you can use to shop online. They may also be referred to as discount codes or money off codes. Retailers promote their products, sales, specials and promotions in a variety of methods with voucher codes being one of them. Rather than the shopper bringing in a printed coupon, they are able to simply input a set of number, letters or a combination (the “code”) of both during the checkout process at the retailer’s online store. The discount is calculated automatically, your final cost reduced and checkout continuing as normal. The best part is you saved bundles without ever leaving your home. The selection of products, gifts and gadgets is seemingly endless—another benefit to using voucher codes to find what you need at a discount price.

Here are 5 great gift ideas you could easily find with voucher codes.

Gift # 1 – Food, Drink and Edible Gifts

When you aren’t sure what to gift to someone, the classic edible collage of chocolates, edible arrangement or gift certificates are all favorite picks. Fortunately, there are many voucher codes online for retailers offering some fantastic gifts of this sort. You could try Majestic Wine, HamperGifts gift baskets or Green and Blacks organic chocolates among many others.

Gifts #2Books

Books are another popular gift perhaps because of the wide selection of tastes, interests and topics available. You can certainly find something of interest to anyone. Voucher codes can save you money on books as well, including retailers such as Waterstones and Borders.

Gifts #3 – Gadgets and Electronics

Voucher codes are certainly not in short supply when it comes to electronics offering discounts for stores including Amazon UK, Argos, Play.com and Sharp, to name a few. The holidays are a particularly popular time for gifting electronics which are known to enjoy huge holiday promotions, but the savings are here all year around when you know where to find them. A great place to start would be the Electrical Goods, Department Stores and Home categories.

Gifts #4CDs, Music & Movies

Most have received music or a movie for a gift at some point in their life. That’s because these are two of the more popular ideas when it comes to gifts. With that in mind, you will be glad to learn that you can save on these items also – Amazon being the most common since turning into the “go-to” place to shop online for CDs or DVDs – but many other online retailers offer discount codes for these items as well.

Gifts #5 Jewelry

Of course, we cannot talk about gifts without mentioning jewelry which can actually be a rather expensive gift. Fortunately, voucher codes are readily available for jewelry purchases making this beautiful and appreciated gift less of a hit on the pocketbook. Be sure to check out the codes available before making the big purchase – the savings will be worth the time.

UK shoppers can find voucher codes for any of these great gift ideas, along with many other products and stores, easily online. Fortunately, the Jewellry & Watches category makes finding these savings easier than ever.