Welcome to The 157th Festival of Frugality: The Queen’s Speech Edition! And a special welcome to all first-time visitors to the Miss Thrifty blog. If you would like to stick around, please feel free to put your feet up: some of the most popular posts include thrifty household tips, my beloved Thriftymobile and a hotlist of Frugal Twitter Users. For regular updates in your RSS reader, whack the big orange button to your right.
With the Festival on the other side of the pond this week and Christmas looming, I thought I’d go for a quintessentially British theme. As you may know, we take the seasonal festivities very, very seriously over here; Christmas Day is centred upon a vast lunchtime banquet at which we all wear paper crowns, eat until we pop and try to keep the flaming Christmas pudding from setting the curtains ablaze. After that it’s copious quantities of sherry and telly until bedtime. The day after Christmas Day is a public holiday, to give everyone time to recover.
So there is plenty to choose from when it comes to selecting a theme. I was going to go with The 157th Festival of Frugality: The Alka-Seltzer Edition, but on reflection felt that this would provide an unfortunate impression of the scenes of carnage Dickensian delights for which the British Christmas is renowned.
Instead, I have plumped for another fine British Christmas tradition. On Christmas Day, Her Majesty the Queen flickers into life on our television screens and delivers the Royal Christmas Message to us, her loyal subjects. A Royal Christmas Message has been broadcast on the BBC every year since 1932.
Fifteen years ago, another TV station decided that one annual Christmas Message was not enough. So every year, on Christmas Day, Channel 4 broadcasts the Alternative Christmas Message for people who can’t be bothered to watch the Queen. The Alternative Christmas Message has a different, often controversial presenter every year, but the message is always delivered in the Royal style.
So sound the bugles: here, without further ado, is the Christmas 2008 Festival of Frugality.
EDITOR’S PICKS: HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN
AC Gaughen presents 10 Useful Secrets the Cell Phone Carriers Don’t Want You To Know posted at Cell Phones. Some interesting tips and insights here.
Jennifer Derrick presents Frugal People Will Suffer Least posted at Saving Advice. Jennifer argues that if the “green economy” takes hold, prices will rise – but frugal people will be the least affected. Sounds good to me!
FruGal presents Top 5 Ultimate Money Saving Tips posted at FruGal. And DR presents 97 New Ways to Save Money (from DR Readers) posted at DR’s Money Management Blog. I picked out these two posts because they approach the same subject from opposite directions – and both pull it off with aplomb. DR has a deliciously lengthy list of money saving ideas; just about everything is there! FruGal has a list too, but she has boiled hers down to the top five essential tips. Both lists make for great reading.
JAMIE OLIVER: ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2005
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver was chosen to deliver the Alternative Christmas Message following his successful campaign for better quality school dinners. He argued that although the meals cost next to nothing to produce, schoolchildren deserved better than junk food. Yes: it’s the classic Frugal v Cheap argument!
SHARON OSBOURNE: ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2002
The MTV matriarch addressed the nation and described her family’s “roller coaster year”. I have chosen her to head the money section of this Festival of Frugality because whatever you think of her, this woman is a financial whiz. She rescued her husband’s career from the doldrums, relaunched him as a highly successful solo artist and created the hugely lucrative Ozzfest summer touring festivals. Megabucks deals with MTV and other media organisations followed. Not bad, eh?
Catherine presents Frugal Homemaker Plus: This just in: I’m a selfish, miserable miser who is ruining the economy! posted at Frugal Homemaker Plus.
FMF presents Free Money Finance: An Easy Way to Save When Shopping? posted at Free Money Finance. A short but sweet idea.
Thursday presents Two Options To Budgeting posted at Wealth Junkies. Thursday notes: “Budgeting is touted as some kind of cure all for many money problems. But for some, budgets don’t really work. There are alternatives to budgets, that allow us just as much control over our money and where it goes. There are two in particular that I would like to focus on today. The Spending Plan and The Balanced Money Formula.”
Todd presents Evaluate Advice Using a Framework of Questions, Part 1 posted at HarvestingDollars.
MoneyNing presents Bargaining to Advantage: Lowering your Bills in a Recession posted at Personal Finance Blog by Money Ning.
Scott Crawford presents 10 Big-Ticket Clutter Items to Sell for Instant Cash posted at DebtGoal.
MARGE SIMPSON: ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2004
Marge: In world events, the friendship between America and Britain is stronger than ever. You’re like Mini-Me to our Doctor Evil, helping out in all our zany schemes to take over the world! (imitates Austin Powers) Haha, yeah baby! (Full transcript here.)
The following posts are especially for you, American friends: lots of financial tips, tax and savings advice and details of retail deals. But no Dr Evils…
Silicon Valley Blogger presents Ebates Review: Online Rewards, Double Cash Back When You Shop! posted at The Digerati Life.
Credit Shout presents Tax Benefits for the Middle Class: What You Should Know posted at CreditShout.
Super Saver presents Retailers Offering Great Deals to Attract Holiday Shoppers posted at My Wealth Builder.
PFR presents Time To Lock In CDs After Fed Lowered Interest Rate Again posted at Personal Finance Reviews.
Sam presents More Ways to Save on Auto, Home and Health Insurance posted at Fix My Personal Finance.
Howard Ditkoff presents Recognizing the Shameful Ostracism of Ecological Economics During America’s Economic Crisis posted at SystemsThinker.com Blog.
QUENTIN CRISP: ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 1993
The writer, raconteur and gay icon was chosen to deliver by Channel 4 to deliver the first alternative Christmas address. Throughout his life, Quentin Crisp was an eccentric who refused to conform to expectations; instead, he was happy because he did “his own thing”. The following posts display similarly quirky or free-thinking attitudes to modern living.
Carole DeJarnatt presents Gifts for the Backyard Chicken Keeper or Birding Lover in Your Family posted at Fowl Visions. Quirky in my book! I’d love to have some backyard chickens though.
WIFE SWAP: ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2003
Michelle: Even if he just went to the shops and bought me a chocolate bar or a penny chew I’d like it because it’s come from him and he’s bought it. He’s never bought me a Christmas present though, not once in all the years I’ve been with him, and I’ve been with him for 17 years.
Barry (a “professional gambler”) and Michelle Seabourn were a couple who appeared on the first series of UK Wife Swap. The duo captured the nation’s attention: mostly, we goggled at Barry’s laziness, stinginess and expectation that his wife would wait upon him hand and foot at all times. Who better to beam above the home and relationships section of this carnival, than the hapless Michelle?
J. Money presents How we’re putting the Mrs. through grad school! (so far so sexy) posted at Budgets are Sexy..
Chris presents Household survival tips – 8 proven ideas to save on fuel posted at Home I Own.
BRIGITTE BARDOT: ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2005
Ah, Brigitte! Your Christmas address focused upon animal rights and veal exports, but there aren’t any related entries in this week’s Festival of Frugality. So I have lumbered you with the gorgeous posts instead.
Aryn presents Clean Out Your Closet and Donate Old Clothes to Charity posted at Sound Money Matters.
Richard Taylor presents Save Money on Prescription Eyeglasses for Only $8.00 posted at Fun With Living Blog.
MONKEY: ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2008
Last but not least is this year’s Alternative Christmas Message, to be delivered by the nation’s favourite knitted toy. I suspect that many of those outside the UK may be bemused by the love and affection lavished upon Monkey, who was catapulted to fame after appearing in advertisements for a digital TV station and PG Tips teabags. But it just goes to show: the homemade ones are the best ones!
Broke Grad Student presents 25 Tips, Ideas, Resources for Frugal Holiday Gifts and Decorations posted at Broke Grad Student.
With love from Miss Thrifty.