THE cost-of-living crisis has left many people wondering how they will manage the Christmas budget – but one mum from Bradford has all the answers.
Clare Hooper, 48, who works in social media, has become a TikTok sensation after sharing some of her best budget saving tips on the site, with 61,400 followers and 3.1 million likes across her videos.
Ahead of the festive season, the mum-of-three has turned her attention to Christmas hacks to save money.
From getting free decorations to finding gifts for less than £5, she hopes her savvy tips will help others struggling.
"I try [to] live by the motto when it comes to ‘live well for less’, having things in our home that help us get through difficult times can be really important," Clare told NeedToKnow.online.
"Lots of what we see on social media makes you think you have to have a big budget to do anything nice, I disagree.
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"I wanted to show how easy and affordable it can be to decorate your home year after year. I call it the champagne dinner on a Coca-Cola budget."
When it comes to Christmas, the mum is a mastermind at finding and creating her own decorations.
This year, she hasn't spent a penny thanks to reselling items before buying new ones.
As she says, "one in, one out".
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She said: "I’ve committed to myself to sell some things to pay for anything this year.
"I’m going through all my stash of decorations and loading some up on Vinted.
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"Once that has sold, I will then get something new, so it is basically one in and one out.
"I’m always making something for Christmas, foraging for green to add to wreaths and swags, using paper from the Amazon deliveries to make paper stars.
"I love making paper Christmas trees from old books.
"Painting sticks to make twiggy sparkly trees, cutting down shrubs in the garden to DIY a wreath, painting baubles and acorns with old nail varnish destined for the bin.
"I think repurposing is underrated, look at what I have and reimagine it for the person I am today, what colours/ styles I like now might be different from the last years."
The mum is a huge fan of Pinterest and TikTok for DIY hacks and encourages others to get their children involved.
Clare also has some great tips when it comes to buying your gifts. She said: "Every year I do go into TK Maxx and buy up some £5 items I’d like to have.
"I then take them home and then decide who they are for.
"I find this works better for me than trying to think up the perfect gift for £5."
She also advises window shopping before committing to a purchase around the festive period.
She said: “Window shop for inspiration, then shop in your home as much as possible. I keep all my decorations – lots for more than 25 years – so I know exactly what I have, and what I need to replace.
“I like to try and reimagine and repurpose before I replace. “The usual high street shops have so many options but I like to shop around, I like to make it part of the season to mooch around everywhere and see what’s available, sometimes it’s OK to enjoy it and leave it at the shop.
“…You have to think outside the box – Pinterest is full of ideas.”
In one of her most recent videos, Clare explains how she created Christmas star decorations using just Amazon packaging and string.
So far it has racked up over 99,000 views and over 4,000 likes.
Clare says that all you need to do is cut two rectangles out from the packing, flatten them out and then create pleats in them by folding them back and forth.
Once you have finished that, the next step is to cut off the end of the folder paper into a triangle and then attach the two pieces with string.
Finally, the last step is to pull apart your pleated paper, which will reveal your very own Christmas star.
Viewers have been left amazed by Clare's thrifty creation.
One fan said: “I love your positive energy and your style!! Lovely idea too, I will try it out.”
“Wow rustic,” another user commented.
Someone else added: “I’ve used Primark bags to do mine.”
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“Love it. I just really enjoy making things out of stuff people put in bins. Well done you,” another user said.
Someone else commented: “Oh my gosh I was about to throw some away!!! Thanks for this!”
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