Savvy Mums Ditch Chocolate for GIN in Homemade Advent Calendars That SAVE Money
Have you seen the ‘Ginvent’ Calendar? Two thrifty mums have swapped chocolate for gin and their homemade advent calendars have gone viral online.
Bored of chocolate and frustrated by rip-off prices, two mums decided to make their own and save money in the process.
And it’s not just gin. Bargain hunters have made their own with beer, books and other gifts too. They reveal how you can get more for your money by making your own, often from unconventional items.
These advent calendars can be made from all types of household items, such scraps of fabric, pringle tins, and even loo rolls.
The Ginvent Calendar
Quirky advent calendars have soared in popularity over the past few years, with many companies offering fun alternatives to the usual chocolate filled ones.
This has included a rise in calendars for adults, most noticeably alcohol based advent calendars.
One type of these different advent calendars that has taken off in popularity are gin advent calendars, also known as ‘Ginvent Calendars’.
These can be bought from supermarkets, as well as speciality gin shops.
This adult take on an advent calendar comes at a high price of around £100, with some costing up to £125
But if you make your own, you can save a lot of money.
Tanya Barrow, blogger of Mummy Barrow, made her own version of this type of advent calendar after working out a way to get more for your money.
Tanya said, “Every year people tagged me in posts of gin advent calendars that retail at around £100, which got me thinking maybe I could do it a bit more cost effectively.
“A ‘wee dram’ of gin in a tiny bottle between 24 little windows looks cute, but over the years it has crept up in price, and has never really struck me as being great value for money.
“This year it is selling for over £100 for a total of 72cl of gin. You can buy a bottle of damn fine gin for less than £30, so paying four times that for it to come in an advent calendar sounds a bit like a raw deal to me.”
In order to make her own ‘Ginvent’ calendar, Tanya used an empty advent calendar that had the windows in.
Tanya spent £35 on this, and said, “Whilst I have to factor in the £35 I have spent on the calendar this year, next year I won’t have that expense as I will be keeping it this year and reusing it for a good few years to come.”
Next she just had to find the gin.
Miniature bottles of gin can be bought online from just £2.69 from justminiatures.co.uk
Tanya spent £5 per bottle on hers, she said “It doesn’t take a mathematician to work out that if you buy 24 at £5 each you are spending as much as you would on the original gin advent calendar, but the difference with this one is that you get twice as much gin for the money.
“Also, rather than them being identical bottles you get a great variety of different little bottles to look at as you sample that day’s gin.
“The other bonus with doing this with slightly bigger bottles is that you have enough gin in each bottle to share. Having double the amount of gin in each bottle, compared to a shop bought advent calendar, means there is enough in each for two people to have a decent sized G&T”
Other types of high end advent calendars are also available.
Amazon offer a range of different alcohol filled calendars, such as prosecco, craft beer, and a liquor advent calendar.
These are far more expensive than normal chocolate calendars, with a liquor one costing £270
However one savvy mum has found a way to make a similar calendar for a fraction of the price, using just loo roll, wrapping paper, and small liqueur bottles from a supermarket.
Shannon Beckham, blogger at The Beckham Project, was inspired to make the unconventional advent calendar after a friend made a wine advent calendar for her.
She said, “Last year a friend of mine created a wine advent calendar for me. This year I had the idea to create an advent calendar for my husband using miniature liquor bottles. I’m excited for him to get to open a different type of booze everyday.”
By using cardboard tubes from loo roll, it hugely reduces the cost of the advent calendar. Kitchen towel rolls or wrapping paper rolls will also work for the project.
Shannon said “The main cost for this project is in the mini bottles of liquor, or whatever you decide to put inside the tubes. I spend £2-£3 per bottle.”
This times 24 works out at a total maximum of £72, almost £200 cheaper than the Amazon equivalent.
The advent calendar doesn’t just have to be for alcohol though, Shannon said, “You can always fill them with something else- small toys, sweets, travel size beauty products, chocolates, or Legos. Pretty much anything that is small enough to fit inside a toilet paper roll would work.”
Shannon has also made her own advent calendars for kids, using christmas themed books and wrapping paper.
She said, “I wrap up all our Christmas (and some winter themed) books and then every night we open one and read it. It’s always the same books, although I have added a few new ones over the years. When Christmas is over I pack up the books along with the tree and decorations so when they come out again in December it’s like they are new again.”
To do this, you’ll just need Christmas or winter themed books, some wrapping paper, and a set of labels to mark the days.
Shannon’s other tricks for Christmas are “My biggest DIY tips for Christmas is to start early! I love Christmas and love enjoying the season so I usually start on any DIY projects in October. It seems silly, but I like to be all done by the time December roll around.”
Members of the Latest Deals Facebook group have also shared their tips and tricks for making your own advent calendars.
Alice Barlow said, “My partner buys a tub of Celebrations and numbers the chocolates (2x of each) so we have to scavenge round the tub in the morning to find them. It means we also ration the tub.”
Celebrations can be bought from a supermarket for a little as £5.
Hannah Lewis said, “I usually put chocolates in my own advent calendars, however this year I managed to pick up a 10 pack of earrings, and two packs of six pin badges for just £1 in Primark.
“I also bought a couple of Primark’s mini 60p nail varnishes and will add a couple of chocolates in as well.”
Shannon Louise Simpson made advent calendars for her husband and son. She said, “I’ve made my husband an alcohol one, with beers, ciders, cocktails, and a bottle of rum for the last day. I’m also going to do some bar snacks in between, like beef jerky and pork scratchings.”
“I’ve done one for my son too. He prefers sweets to chocolate, so I bought lots of different fun sized bags, sprays, candy sticks, and other sweets, and tied them to a wreath. It was really cheap, it only cost about £7 in total to make.”
Hannah Smith shared a picture of the advent calendar she made last year
She said, “I made this last year using felt and leftover Christmas fabric scraps - it did take a while, but I can reuse it each year by filling the pockets with different treats.”
Teresina Large also has chosen to use books for her advent calendar, “I have wrapped up a book for each day in brown paper and string, and have used stamps to put the numbers on the paper.
“I’ve also seen someone make one out of Pringle boxes wrapped in paper. They put a paper lid on the front of it with a number on, and then glued the tubes into the shape of a Christmas tree and wrapped a big bow around it.
“They filled the tubes with beer bottles to make a beer advent calendar, but other things could fit into them too.”
One saver is repurposing Christmas decorations to make her advent calendar this year.
Kim Broadley said, “I am making my advent calendar out of plastic baubles that you can fill yourself. You can get five for just 40p on Amazon. I’m using glass paints to paint the advent numbers on them, and then I’ll fill them with chocolates or little gifts.”
Karen Bradshaw has also found new uses for old Christmas belongings. She said, “I’m recycling an advent calendar from last year. There are 25 boxes with that show a picture puzzle when turned around, and I’m going to fill them with chocolate.”