Woman shares how she's managed to do Christmas for completely free
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Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Maddy Alexander-Grout
The most wonderful time of the year is often the most expensive, but it turns out that this doesn't have to be the case.
Maddy Alexander-Grout explained that she decided to plan a completely free Christmas for 2022 after only buying a few presents last year.
She explained to Tyla that while they were from charity shops, her children 'actually really liked them' and 'reduced packaging meant that they could play with them faster.'
"So I just thought, 'Well, I'll try and see what I can source this year'," she said.
This meant going on a mission to get presents second hand - and fund the purchase of them by selling otherwise unwanted items.
Maddy told Tyla this consisted mostly of clothes, particularly for babies, and boots.
"I've been getting presents from car boot sales, Facebook marketplace, eBay, and Vinted but mainly charity shops," she said of this year's presents.
"We actually haven't bought any new presents at all this year.
"The only things that we've bought are our pyjamas from Sainsbury's, which we've used our Nectar points for."
On the subject of Nectar points, this was the savvy mum's secret weapon in obtaining a completely free Christmas dinner.
"We haven't actually done the Christmas shop yet because most of it's fresh and needs to be bought before Christmas," she tells us.
"But we've got £350 worth of Nectar points so I know that I will more than cover the Christmas dinner.
"[It] will be completely free because there's no way that we're spending more than £350 on one meal - that would be insane.
"Anything that's left over Nectar points-wise, we'll just start saving again [for] next year. So that covers our next year's Christmas dinner as well."
Explaining how she managed to get so many Nectar points, the mum said the family shops at Sainsbury's 'at least twice a week' and gets their normal food shopping there - which 'involves quite a lot of yellow sticker shopping.'
She added of herself and her partner: "Both of us have got our car insurance with Sainsbury's - we also get our petrol at Sainsbury's.
"It also helps that I don't buy any clothes from anywhere other than Sainsbury's, so we always get nectar points from the clothes that I buy as well."
When asked exactly what she has spent on presents, Maddy said it's been about £50 in total from charity shops - proof that you really don't have to spend a fortune.
She said: "One of the best things that we've got so far are the scooters for the kids. They were £7 each and they would have been probably more like £60 if I'd have got them new.
"We've budgeted for about £200 for the Christmas dinner.
"We didn't need to buy any Christmas decorations or anything like that because we've saved them all from previous years."
The mum, who runs her own discounted voucher website - My VIP Rewards - explained that she got the presents for the rest of her family cheap too.
"I start to buy relatives' Christmas presents in the sales as soon as Christmas is over. I already had a couple of newer type presents, but they were from the sales from earlier on in the year."
She went on to explain that she made the most of the January sales by buying vouchers for the shops she wanted to purchase from 'using the My VIP Rewards website.'
"My VIP rewards is where you buy discounted gift vouchers," she tells Tyla. "It's cheaper than than if you would spend cash."
While it's obviously a little too late to bag a free Christmas for 2022 like Maddy has, her story is certainly testament to the fact that if you plan ahead, it can be done.