Victoria B on 30 November 2021

Got paid today. Stressful. Paid essential bills first, naturally. Then the non essential bills cos I can't afford the late fees next month. Last pay day before Christmas. So got what I could. Looked around online, used that pay over three months thing to get some books and toys for kids, not much, more stocking filler stuff, not ideal but what else can one do. Went to a clearance store today also, got a couple toys there (actually got about £70ish pound worth of stuff for like £25 so can't complain, some nice hotwater bottles type things with kid friendly covers, great Xmas gift when heating isn't always guaranteed even when bills are paid - so drafty here it's nuts). It's traditional for me to give my kids a 1st December bundle tomorrow, with their chocolate advent calendars and some Christmas clothes, just a pair of thick socks, one top and one outfit each for kiddies tomorrow. I'm sad cos I had so much for them that I'd brought through the year but lost it all when we were made to move house very last minute. So having to get what I can on only two universal credit payments, plus bills from old and new place, so unjust. But kiddies aren't complaining, still making fun memories, making our decorations from recycling things, so making it work. Kids don't need much. I know they don't need much. But I'm still sad I can't give them much. I'd love to spoil my kids. I'm not talking about wanting to take em on fancy holidays or buy the latest tech every year, that's not what I long for, I long to be able to give my kids the things people need to fit in socially in school. Nice well-fitting clothes that aren't obviously second hand. I'll not be sending Xmas cards into class this year, the class sizes are too big, that'd be like £4-6 worth of card. The teacher even said most of the parents can't afford Xmas cards so we'd not be standing out. But I feel bad not sending kids in with something, my two love giving gifts (they made gifts for people this weekend before we even made decorations cos they wanted to make sure we'd have enough resources to do so bless em), so I'll send them in with some Christmas themed sticker sheets (two sheets of stickers for £1 in Poundland) and kids love getting stickers. Funny the ways we manage to save pennies when saving pennies is so essential. Why buy a tree for £20+ when £5 of tinsel and some card and sellotape make a fine enough wall tree. Christmas deal is sorted though, got some Aldi vouchers online, free delivery, got some this month and some last month. Total of £40 which is more than enough for Aldi food items, just doing a buffet style Christmas dinner so will be cheap. I got £50 of vouchers last year and only used £35 of them, so £40 should be enough. And any leftover can be used within a year so won't be wasted. Also topped my Argos card up, incase I need to visit Sainsbury's quickly for essentials, I'd normally use Iceland but their prices have gone up and no guarantee you'll get what you order these days, so as I've already had covid I just go shopping now and save pennies that way, so the Argos card is a safer bet for emergency food needs now. I feel anxious to make the season as fun as normal for kids, I know they won't mind so long as we have family fun together, but I'm still anxious. Kids deserve better than stressed and hungry parents.

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