My kids and family get DOUBLE the presents with my budget shopping hack and it SAVES me £1,400 | The Sun

A MUM-OF-TWO has managed to save a whopping £1,400 this Christmas using a clever budgeting hack.

Jamie-Lee Birch has revealed how her kids "luck out" from her tricks, ending up with double the presents, despite spending less.

The 32-year-old from Gloucestershire challenged herself to complete Christmas on a budget for a second year running.

One of the main ways she's managed to do this is by shopping second-hand for the majority of her gifts.

Jamie has been buying for 28 people in total so the stack of presents brand new quickly adds up.

Now, she still manages to give valuable gifts but finds them for far less.



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She told The Sun: "I think most of my friends and family like that they get more for their money by getting second-hand."

So far this festive season Jamie has spent £600 on gifts, experiences and Christmas food.

If she'd bought everything at full price she estimates her total costs would have been around £2,000.

Jamie told The Sun: "I've always been quite thrifty.

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"I was raised by a single parent and was no stranger to budgeting and hand-me-downs.

"We've never had much disposable income and when I had children I vowed I never wanted to get into debt over Christmas."

Jamie has been sharing her mission to have a cheaper Christmas with her 87.3K followers on her TikTok jamie_rose88.

The marketing executive says she started properly shopping over Christmas, she also began making lists and finding items at the best price.

She said: "I utilise sales like Prime Day, but I also get items from charity shops, Vinted, Facebook Marketplace, eBay – you can get such good quality second hand, and sometimes brand new too for a fraction of the price."

Here are some examples of gifts Jamie has picked up for less:

  • Minecraft Lego on eBay for £8 – RRP £18
  • Playmobile Garage Set on Facebook Marketplace for £4 – RRP £29.99
  • Fort Kit on sale for £10 – RRP £29.99
  • Harry Potter Lego set on Amazon Prime Day for £30 – RRP £45
  • Jack Wills jumper in a charity shop for £8 – RRP £34.95
  • Abercrombie and Fitch polo shirt on Vinted for £6.50 – RRP £29
  • Wedgewood Trinket Box in a charity shop for £2 – RRP £18
  • Hoards of books for £1 or less – RRP from £5 to £10
  • Melissa and Doug Magnetic Pretend Play at a car boot sale for £1 – RRP £16

She has also thrifted stocking fillers, each costing roughly £2 or less, which has saved her probably around £20 to £30 on each stocking.

Last year she gifted mainly pre-loved items to her friends and family and has served as an inspiration to them.

She said: "Since I did Christmas on a budget last year and spoke openly about thrifting, I have noticed a lot of my friends and family have started to embrace it too.

"For my daughter's birthday, she got a preloved Nintendo DS from family and my son got some Timberland shoes – both things that would have been out of budget new so in my opinion my kids lucked out getting preloved."

It's not just Christmas gifts either. Jamie has saved hundreds of pounds by being creative with days out with her two kids Harper, 7, and Kit, 3.

These include exploring Christmas light displays, nativity scenes at their local church, free events in the area and Christmas movie marathons.

After two successful years of doing Christmas on a budget, Jamie can't imagine doing it any other way.

She explained: "I love it. I feel that setting a strict budget helps me to get clever and be more thoughtful and mindful in the gifts I buy.

"Especially whilst my children are young – I am aware the older they get the more expensive their wants will become so I am making the most of it."

Jamie's top tips for Christmas on a budget

If you're looking to save some cash on festivities, Jamie has rounded up some savvy tips on how to save cash on Christmas on a Budget.

It's important to have honest conversations with friends and family about cutting back on buying so that everyone's on the same page.

"Decide to go for a drink with a friend instead of buying gifts, do a Secret Santa in a friendship group or family, have a chat about only buying for kids or adults, and don't feel crass to set a budget with friends so that everyone is aware of expectations," she said.

Setting a budget and creating a designated saving space solely for Christmas can also be really helpful to keep you on track.

Jamie explained: "Decide how you will make that money, saving some of your wages each month? Side hustles? Check in each month to check you're on track."

There's still time to hunt down bargains in charity shops in person.

But she says one of the best things you can do is start early – so it could be time to think about next year.

Jamie said: "Have a list of who you want to buy for and what by the end of the summer and then you can start keeping an eye out for things so it isn't a mad rush."

Another tip is to have a look at what budget Christmas activities you can do as these can tend to break the bank too.

Jamie recommends finding a charity where you can meet Santa as these are often cheaper, she and her kids visited a grotto at a local museum for £5.

She added: "Meet up with friends for at-home Christmas movie marathons or gingerbread house decorating.

"Take walks around your neighbourhood looking for Christmas lights. There's so much you can do on a budget at Christmas time."

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Her final trick is to make sure you're strict with yourself and don't be tempted to go over your budget.

"Remember that Christmas magic isn't something you buy from a shop – it's something so much more," she said.

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