Rosie Millard: Thrifty Living

'I've saved a packet by getting started early on christmas'

Look ahead, not down at your feet. Run lightly. Breathe deeply. These are instructions from a running handbook I'm currently following, but they could just as easily be tips on how to achieve a thrifty stance for the December shopping frenzy.

Blessed as I am with a giant family, Christmas always produces somewhat of a lurch in the Millard finances, but this year I have taken a leaf from my running guide. I am focused not on Christmas, but beyond it – to the 2008 sales. I am going to run lightly throughout the festive season, and breathe deeply. I am also going to try to do all my Christmas shopping before Gilbert O'Sullivan's birthday which, as people who read Jackie in the 1970s will know, is 1 December. I am hoarding books, make-up, CDs and the like, and will have a giant wrapping session on 30 November, which has become my favourite day of the year.

As well as making you feel fantastically smug, doing your shopping in November is the only way to avoid the credit crunch. If you get going with your Christmas list NOW, you will avoid all those last-minute dalliances with the plastic at Heal's, because at the moment you can get veritable bargains before the shopkeepers realise that it is indeed nearly O'Sullivan Day and put their prices up.

Also, you'll have time to order from the net, which you wouldn't dare to do after about 10 December. Currently, you can go for "5 for the price of 3" offers at www.booksforchildren.co.uk and enjoy an array of bargains on www.asos.com, which is running 30 per cent off fragrance and beauty brands, and which has key Crimbo ideas including Hot Head, an animal-shaped oven mitt, for a fiver, or the stunning Disco Alarm (£15), a Saturday Night Fever-inspired item whose ball lights and revolves when it's time to get up.

Sites such as The White Company have bespoke sales areas, currently offering children's pyjamas for £10.50 and women's lace trim long-sleeve shirts for a tenner. If you avoid beachy things like espadrilles (although, at 70 per cent off, why not?) no one will know you've plundered last summer's shelves. There's an exciting sales area at www.figleaves.com, where you can get a Calvin Klein antique lace bra for £20, down from £29. Even Igloo, the world's most expensive children's toy-shop, has its own "reduced" area online (www.iglookids.co.uk), where you get a £6 dinosaur set thrown in for orders over £10. Which means two presents for the cost of one.

Plan ahead, have faith that internet Christmas shopping is by now tried and tested, and you will find that by Gilbert's big day, you'll have it done – for a third of what you would have spent had you chosen to do it just before those rather better known natal celebrations on 25 December.

Frankly (and this is where the trouble begins), I have become so adept at roaming the net for bargains that it's difficult not to start picking out self-directed presents. At www.mandmdirect.com, there's a pair of women's Nike Air Max 97, RRP £109.99, for a mere £39.99. Given that you'll be saving £70, is it really any bother to pop into JD Sports, try them on and then rush back to the computer to order them?

Last year, I advised you all to go to eBay for stocking fillers. This year, I've decided to be even lazier and buy my stockings ready filled, which I've found for a bargain £3 or £5 each on www.partytoo.com. There are posh ones for £25, containing things like Luxury Afternoon Tea, and a Build Your Own Lamborghini set, but that seems far too hedonistic for a stocking. To be authentic, a stocking should have the same peculiar value system as a Christmas cracker.

No: it must be the stockings for a fiver, which you can match to gender, age and even species (they do Dog and Cat ones). Said stockings contain Dickensian things like whistles, rattles and puppets, but also trash like chocolate lip gloss, whoopee cushions and jumping beans, which hit the spot for me.

The site even offers Adult stockings, which are tempting enough for me to break my resolution that adults are just too, well, adult for stockings. Can I really see Mr Millard relishing a £5 stocking promising contents such as a Credit Card Torch and a BlowCopter (which sounds far too exciting for Christmas morning)? Er, yes, I can.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SThree: HR Benefits Manager

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

    Recruitment Genius: Office Manager / Financial Services

    £30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...

    Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

    £250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

    Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

    £230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower