As you know, I love a challenge, and none so more than the one my friend Gemma set me last week. She has three little girls, aged 11, 8 and 5, and needed to buy them each a stocking chock full of toys and treats. Her problem? She only had £20 each to spend – that’s just £60 on the whole lot.
The girls are my honorary nieces, so I was really excited to help. Playing Santa with someone else’s cash? That’s the best job ever!
I quickly realised the trick to successful stocking fillers is to know where to shop. With such a tight budget, I hit Poundland, 99p Stores, Tiger Stores (www.tiger.co.uk); Wilkinson (www.wilkinsonplus.com) and Primark. True, there is a lot of rubbish out there, but you can pick up some really cute things for just £1 or £2. The other trick is to split stuff – packets of pretty patterned tissues; bags of lollies; and craft bits can all be split two or three ways, giving you more for your money.
In the end, I got a whopping 23 things for each little girl, for just £54 in total. Impressive, eh? My haul is above and below. The best things? Animal gloves, £2 each from Primark; Japanese doll washbags, £1 each from Poundland; Make Your Own Bracelet kits from 99p Stores; and mini metallic piggy banks, £1 each from Tiger Stores.
If you spot any other bargains that’d make great stocking fillers, let me know!