A British mum has revealed how she wants to save thousands of pounds this Christmas – by refusing to buy people presents.
Heidi Ondrak, 51, from Plymouth, used to splash out over £1,000 over the festive period but this year, as the cost of living crisis rages, has decided to ditch the shopping altogether.
The mum branded Christmas a ‘huge marketing ploy’ and said she will ‘never again’ spend her hard-earned cash on gifts for family members, who have previously seen her handing out £50 each. person.
The only exception is her two children, Daisy, 13, and Archie, 15, who will receive a few packages but nothing new; all the gifts will be bought from charity shops or car boot sales.
Heidi Ondrak, 51, from Plymouth, has revealed how she wants to save thousands of pounds this Christmas – by refusing to buy people presents
The mother-of-two called the gift-giving tradition ‘crazy’ and said she would give her children second-hand items from charity shops and car sales.
Among the things Heidi plans to give away this Christmas are a number of freebies, such as this soap she got online as a sample
“The gift tradition is insane, I don’t need anything, neither do most adults,” said Heidi.
‘What’s the point of stressing and racking up credit cards and debt just for one day a year?
‘I’m not religious and Santa isn’t real, it’s all a big marketing ploy to make us feel compelled to spend money.
‘It’s not worth going bankrupt for a day.
The mum-of-two claims it’s ‘not worth bankrupting’ yourself for ‘one day’ – and instead shops in charity shops for second-hand items (left, a jacket she bought for £7, and right, a bathroom set from a charity shop)
Heidi believes that many items for the holidays can be found at car sales (pictured, part of a box filled with 30 cards Heidi Ondrak picked up at a car boot sale)
‘Christmas is not about consumption and greed, marketing just makes us believe that, and our children are purposeful.
Heidi’s Christmas saving tips
– Buy used goods from charity shops and car boot sales
– Recycle toys and games from Gum Tree or Facebook
– To cut the cost of Christmas dinner, pool with another family
– Buy chicken instead of turkey
– Fill the plates with extra fried potatoes
– Don’t go crazy with desserts
– Make a meal plan for the year and stick to it
– Recycle wrapping paper
‘I refuse to spend my money gambling on this anymore.’
The mother-of-two has also cut her children’s budget for the festive event.
Previously she spent £1,000 on her children alone, but this year she has given them both a £200 budget – with all gifts used.
She said: ‘If I had very young children I would get toys from the boot of the car and sterilise, children grow out of things really quickly so it’s usually in perfect condition.
‘My children want clothes and electronics, I buy refurbished tablets and phones online and clothes.
‘I will let them have a budget if and when I find things in the charity shop that are boxed or new with tags I will throw it away for Christmas.
‘I usually get bags and tops for my daughter, while my son wants protein and fitness related things and very often I have found unopened protein powder on a date also at the boot sale, so I keep an eye out.
‘Just explain how budgets work to your kids as they get older.
“For younger kids, just buy smart boxes and recycle toys and games from charity shops, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and markets.”
As well as saving money on her own Christmas shopping, Heidi has some tips to help other families cut their festive bills.
In the past she spent £1,000 on her children alone, but this year she has given them both a £200 budget – with all gifts being spent
The mother branded Christmas a ‘huge marketing ploy’ and said she will ‘never again’ spend her hard-earned money on gifts for family members who have previously seen her give her £50 a pop.
The mum-of-two is now determined to find savvy ways to cut costs around her home, including at mealtimes (pictured, using a ready-made mash)
Meanwhile, Heidi is also keen to cut costs at her supermarket shop and is cooking up a batch of meals to feed her family (on the left, making burgers and on the right, a slow cooker)
From swapping the holiday meat to scrapping your oven, here’s some savvy advice from the super saver.
She said: ‘Pool with another family; previous years me and my friend pooled our resources and our families ate together.
‘Buy cheaper meat, turkey is so overrated, get a chicken, it can be cooked in the fryer, vegetables are cheap.
‘There’s no need to go crazy, top plates with extra roasters, don’t go crazy with tons of desserts, make a meal plan and stick to it and always shop with a list.
The mum-of-two, who is also a fan of the supermarket’s reduced yellow label section, advised others to make a meal plan and stick to it
‘I’ve been eating out for the last few years at around £75 a head but will be cooking at home this year and as nobody really likes turkey I’ll buy a chicken.
“Wrapping paper can be used again if it has been saved from last year.
“What I do throughout the year is buy neutral wrapping paper for birthdays and use the same roll at Christmas.
‘My decorations will be recycled from previous years and the tree lights will not light unless they are battery powered.’
Heidi, who uses a deep fryer to cook her vegetables for Christmas dinner (left), also advocated bulking up meals with cheaper vegetables (right)