Friday, 9 December 2011

Like a bat out of hell the make do box of goodies

Where did that wind come from?! Yesterday morning at 9:07am I boarded a train on the Durham/ North Yorkshire border and boy was it blowing a gale. The train felt like it was being blown south to London by the wind. I got back to London and thought phew a bit calmer but by the evening the wind, albeit a bit gentler than up north, was blowing a gale around me again. All I can say I was glad of my Moncler duvet coat. I was as warm as toast and felt protected from the elements.

Now I'm safely back home it is on to matters of a giveaway. Not any old giveaway but a Make Do Style giveaway - a box of treats filled with collected samples, gift bag nail varnishes and old costume jewellery used on shoots - you know the bit where it says 'stylist's own'. The Mango plastic link necklace in the box appeared in an Iceland ad!!

Anyway the competition rules are easy all I want from you is to give me your top tips for saving money or tightening your belt or how you live within your means. Simples! Get on your soap box and hold forth....


  1. I have to admit I'm not that great at living within my means. But now that I'm consciously trying to cut back I think that the best tip I have is to prioritise.

    For instance bills vs shoes... Unfortunately bills win.

  2. I tend to forget the whole living within my means thing if I see something I really want.. So the solution to this is not carrying any more money than you can afford to spend, and budgeting so that you know if you can afford to treat yourself or if you have to wait a few weeks.
    Lovely giveaway, please enter me!
    mustbeadreamer [at]


  3. The best tip I have is to never use charge cards unless you currently have the money to pay for whatever it is.

  4. I buy (new or second-hand) or repair, whichever is more cost-effective, electronic goods, appliances and other discretionary items only when they break down.

  5. My tips are having something that inspires you to save (we're currently saving to buy a house which is far more important than new shoes!) and ebay/carboot sales for clearing all your old junk and making some extra cash too!

  6. We set a strict limit this year: only one gift for each person on our list, and it can cost no more than $10.

    Our lists are all two people long. Sweet.

  7. I am on a constant quest to save money and the best way I have found is with food shopping, I now shop on line so am never tempted to throw things in my trolley that I don't really need just because they look good and before I checkout, I go through it all again and take out what isn't essential. I reckon I save far more than the £3.50 delivery charge.

  8. Great idea!
    The key for me is planning ahead and organising as much as possible and setting a realistic budget if you can.
    Groceries & Household stuff:
    *make a weekly meal plan to include kids' packed lunches and snacks if required so you know your basics list and can rotate ingredients for variation
    *bulk buy essentials such as loo paper and washing powder when they are on special offers
    *as you know what you need and when, it should be easier to use any coupons you collect along the way
    *this way you should have everything at hand and not be tempted or have to resort to expensive corner shop purchases or impluse buying

    Other stuff:
    *know what you have in your wardrobe, be realistic and (brutally) honest about what you actually wear and use and make a list of ONLY things that need replacing or to fill a gap as your life evolves (eg more work clothes or more casual)
    *have a 'dream' goal of items that you really, really,really want because everyone needs motivation
    *whenever you feel tempted to buy something, stop and ask whether you need it or want it and whether it is worth it or better to wait (and save the money) for your dream item instead
    *break it down into smaller chunks of weekly savings that you can make or even just to keep within the budget you've set yourself so it doesn't seem so daunting and will be a little less painful!

    CC (in more than a little pain!)

  9. shameful but cutting the end off tubes of nice moisturizer and cleansers and scooping the last bit out of the bottom.


  10. What a fab prize.
    My main thing is avoiding magazines, window shopping and chucking any tempting catalogues and brochures that arrive in the post straight in the recycling bin as they just serve to tempt you into buying what you didn't know you needed.
    Only buy things with cold, hard cash. It's far more painful to part with money rather than hand over plastic.
    I keep a picture of Jon & I on a beach in Goa in my purse, every time I see it I know that by frittering my money away I'm one step further away from my dream.

  11. Oh well you know me I say sod it and buy stuff, so I'm not going to be beating Coco's amazing tips but I can suggest you hit up eBay over Xmas especially Xmas day and the few days after when everyone is having festive fun and shopping the sales you can be bidding on bargains!

  12. Wow! amazing box of very gorgeous goodies!! A lot of incredible tips have already been written out here - I will be using them in time! For me, I have had something of a revelation in the last 4 months. At the end of August I had a baby, Luca. Like many others, I used to travel to work, not thinking about my street or area, and basically buy whatever I wanted, when I wanted without much thought or concern. I would always make promises to budget, but something would catch my eye and, well, you can guess the rest! I used to think I deserved x, y, z. Now I am on a budget as I try to eek out my maternity leave and spend more time with the Lovely Luca Valentine. Here are my top tips:
    * Think first. I use the traffic light system in my head. STOP. Do I really need it? want it? every penny helps...
    *be aware. I used to spend rather willy nilly - I really really must have those leather shorts from Zara and I don't care whether they are £20 or £50 or £75. they will be mine. Now I look at what I'm spending and really think about. I try to envisage the amount.
    *use the community around you. I used to have a good old community spirit in the office, but did not know anyone round here. Now I know the whole street and also lots of local people. This has been amazing and money saving; for example Gary the Gardener cleared my guttering for me with his long ladder (it's not a euphemism) while I gave him a lesson in excel - he has never been shown. We both probably saved about £65 on that one. We share magazines and newspapers up and down the street now and even bought 4 Christmas trees together to make savings. I have made friends with all the local shops who give me discounts for fruit, veg, coffee, all sorts of things that I would never have even thought about before!
    *following on from the last point - things that are free are fun!!! We go to our local library for a wriggle and rhythm session once a week (previously I had considered very expensive music classes for Luca), I spend my days at the Southbank, the Science museumn, the V&A, the natural history museum - these things are all free and amazing!!!!
    *think creatively with what you wear. I don't have much time, money or inclination for clothes shopping right now. Also breastfeeding is somewhat restrictive on the old wardrobe. I have actually ENJOYED re-thinking my current wardrobe this autumn rather than buying lots new. I go to charity shops and pick up weird and wonderful items to add to my existing wardrobe. items i have purchased so far have been a bow tie, a pearl necklace, a frank usher sequin top!, an old cure t-shirt, scarves etc - all to add to my current clothes.
    *enjoy the here and now. It's so easy to always be wishing; wishing you had this or that, a bigger house, a second home, a fancy car and then when you get that you're still not happy and still wishing for things. Instead I feel free from all this cash transaction mentality and instead revel in the moment and the best and free things in life such as family, friends, laughing and interesting ideas and people! sounds a bit hippy? well I feel a bit evangelical about it.

    Love the blog - so love it!
    keep it up!
    Camilla (

  13. My top tip would have to the old 'one in, one out' rule - nothing ground breaking but it works for me. If I am going to buy myself something, I make myself get rid of something else by selling it on ebay or donating it to charity. It stops me from having lots of the same thing and also makes me thingk before I buy something! :)


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