Must Have Christmas Recipes

I have been asked a lot recently about our Christmas Menu.  And what I recommend for Must Have Christmas Recipes.  So I decided to put all the recipes together that I will be using this year so that there is an easy reference point to make it easier for you guys!

A collection of Christmas Recipes that you will come back to year after year!
My must have Christmas Recipes

What shouldn’t come as a surprise is that most of them are sweets! Haha don’t say you weren’t warned! It doesn’t mean we only eat sweets at Christmas but it means I am NEVER put in charge of savouries at any family event unless it is Potato based! I know my calling!

So here is the good stuff!

The only potato salad you will ever want or need!

Rum Balls – a great family tradition!

Bake Play Smile’s thermomix fudge!

I made it today and I will making it again before the big day – the BEST rocky road

The forever favourite – Chocolate Spiders

Chocolate Brownie Christmas Trees – the perfect bring a plate!

The best dessert for a hot Christmas Day – Chocolate Flake cheesecake

The best Australian dessert of all – Pavlova

I hope this makes it easier to find all the recipes I love!  I love Christmas and I love baking for Christmas it just has so many memories for me!  I hope you enjoy this collection of recipes too!  Wishing you and your family a peaceful and beautiful Christmas!

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Brownie Christmas Trees

I love Christmas, and I love chocolate so it’s only natural that I combine both and make these Brownie Christmas Trees.  These are perfect for when you need to bring a plate and you don’t have a lot of time.  They look great but are very simple!

brownie christmas tree recipe
A great recipe to spread christmas cheer

You need a batch of brownie – I of course used my favourite stand by recipe (you can get that here.) but any recipe would be fine.  Prepare the recipe as normal but bake in a round cake tin.  If you are using my recipe I used one round cake tin, and as you can see from the pictures it is quite thick pieces. So for example if it was for a school function I think splitting the batter over two cake tins would work perfectly fine and you make double the trees!

Once you have baked the brownies and allowed to cool completely you are ready to decorate them.  With a serrated knife cut your brownie in half and then quarters.  Cut each quarter into thirds.


1 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar

1 dessert spoon butter

2 dessert spoons boiling water

1/2 teaspoon green food colouring (or more/less)

Decorations – Mini freckles (mine are from Coles in the baking aisle). Peanut butter chips (mine are from Woolworths in the baking aisle).

You could use any other decorations like m&m’s etc, but I had both of these in the cupboard and I think they looked great!


Mix together until it forms a thick paste.

Spoon into a piping bag, I used a small star tip.

Start from the top and placing a small about of icing at the top to stick your star (peanut butter chip).

Pipe the icing like tinsel piping side to side on the brownie. Place the baubles (mini freckles) along the tinsel.

Allow the icing to ‘set’ before transporting.  You can also stick a paddle pop stick into each tree to for the trunk!

Happy Christmas! I hope you love making these.  I found them easy and fun to make I hope you and your family love making them and eating them as much as we did! xx

love budget mum blog - frugal and budget living blog



Should you use Afterpay?

Recently on a holiday I went out to dinner and sat next to a friend of a friend. As conversation does these days were talking about the power of the internet and how easy our lives have become. To go shopping – you can find something online – Google a discount code and have it delivered within a couple of days . No wonder physical shops are declining – then the magical unicorn Afterpay came up? Have I used it why/why not. My dinner companion was a big advocate for it so I decided to look into it further. Have you used after Pay? I have – all in the name of research. So should you use Afterpay?

Should you use Afterpay? What are the benefits of using Afterpay?
Is Afterpay for you?


How it works

A heap of online and physical stores offer after pay. You sign up with Afterpay and they act as a third party to pay for your purchase for you. You have to enter your bank account details and each fortnight you pay back ¼ of your purchase price for 4 payments over 8 weeks. So it effectively like a layby but you get your purchases upfront. And the money is direct debited out of your account – so you don’t forget.


What is in it for Afterpay


So the retailer gets their money upfront – so they are happy campers. But how does Afterpay make money – they obviously aren’t doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. So although there are no fees if you have the money in your account. There is if you default on their debit. It is a $10 fee each time your default. No matter if you buy a $800 couch or a $7 necklace. So basically Afterpay are hedging their bets that more people will default in one of their payments than have the money in their accounts.


Potential problems


If you are an amazing budgeter with great self control then I see no problems with after pay for some situations. For example a great buy on a heavily discounted Christmas present in August. Before your Christmas budget kicks in November. However once you have popped your Afterpay cherry – it in my opinion could very easily spiral out of control if your not careful. They make it very easy to use once you account is set up. I know of people who use it everyday and already have found themselves in trouble. So I would proceed with caution. If you do have it – or you find it useful to spread out payments for Christmas etc. Think about downloading their app – so you can manage your payments.


My Opinion


Since I have used it – would I use it again? Probably not. I still think the best way to go is to have the money first! Especially once you have the purchase you rarely want to spend the money paying it off. BUT I can see its benefits for other people – with strong self restraint.

*This is 100% my opinion and not in anyway affiliated with Afterpay*

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Potato Salad

This potato salad recipe is honestly the BEST potato salad recipe.  It is great served hot or cold, and probably the number one dish I get asked to bring to BBQ’S.  Once you have had this potato salad you won’t want any other recipe!

The perfect side to a BBQ, a great salad to go with any protein!  You will want this at your next family function!
The only potato salad recipe I use – and I get asked constantly to bring to BBQ’s
Potato Salad Recipe

2 kg of potato (I use the cheapest ones on the day! But pontiac are good)
4 eggs
1 cup of good quality whole egg mayonnaise
1 cup of sour cream
2 tablespoons seeded mustard
200 grams of diced bacon
juice of a lemon
parsley to garnish

Delicious potato salad recipe - perfect for every function!
the perfect recipe for christmas, easter, bbq or church functions.

1. Put eggs into saucepan and cover with cold water, place onto stove on high, once boiling, continue to boil for 10 mins.
2. Clean potatoes (wash and/or peel depending on potato) cut into
1 1/2 cm pieces, it is a chunky potato salad.
3. Place potatoes into a large saucepan and cover with cold water, place onto the stove to boil, depending on potato size it will need to boil for at least 20 mins.

4. Once eggs have boiled, drain and place into bowl and place into the fridge.
5. Start making the sauce, mix together the mayonnaise and sour cream (you can use a different quantities but you want the end to yield the same amount eg 3/4 cup mayo and 1 1/4 cup sour cream). Add the lemon juice and mustard, stir until all combined.

6. Place diced bacon in frypan and fry until crispy. Drain on paper towel if needed.
7. Once eggs have chilled, start to peel and cut into quarters.
8. Check potatoes, choose a larger piece of potato, pierce with fork – if it is easily inserted they are ready, if not allow to boil longer.
9. Drain potatoes well, place half into bowl that the salad will be served in.
10. Pour in a quarter of the sauce and stir through.
11. Add existing potatoes and sauce, stir until evenly combined.
12. Scatter cut up eggs on top, and finish with bacon! Add parsley if you have some on hand!

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Rum Balls

Rum balls the essential Christmas treat.  This recipe has been made by our family for generations.  Constantly on our Christmas Table!  We love them and I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!

the perfect frugal treat rum balls
The perfect Christmas treat.

1 packet crushed biscuits (scotch finger, milk arrowroot, or if your feeling adventurous chocolate ripple or ginger nut!)
1 tin condensed milk
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup coconut + extra to roll
1 cup mixed fruit
2 tablespoons of rum


Crush the biscuits in either a food processor or by hand – place in large zip lock bag and bash with a rolling pin.
Mix in all other ingredients.
Roll into balls and roll in coconut.
Store in fridge or freezer for as long as they last! Haha in the freezer at least 3 months, but no matter how good you hide them, they will be found and will be eaten!

Makes about 24

Thanks for checking these out, I really do hope you enjoy these as much as my family does!

Budget Mum Blog

Save on Christmas Day

Christmas IS expensive but there are ways you can save both your finances and your sanity!  Early planning is key to making sure that you keep within your budget on Christmas Day! Save on Christmas Day with these simple tips.

how to save on Christmas

Tips to use on Christmas Day!

Saving on presents – by now you should have done your shopping but nothing is better than a home made Christmas present – you can check out some ideas here.

Put the children to work – get creative making table decorations, bon bons, wrapping paper and cards.  There are so many things that can be made for A LOT cheaper and with school holidays around the corner it is the time to get the kids busy crafting up a storm!  Both cute and more importantly frugal!

Plan your meal and start shopping early!  If you have to have ham on your Christmas Table, shop around and start now.  Shops will be starting to have sales now to get your business, start comparing to save.  Many items can be bought in advance and either stored in the fridge or freezer.  Avoid buying food just because you think you should!

Bring a plate – the biggest expense is the food.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  If people offer take them up on the offer.  Not only does it save you money but it also saves you effort!  Asking people to make a contribution to the food and drink is totally reasonable, even if it isn’t the norm in previous years don’t be afraid to implement it. If you are worried about asking – be polite and be specific! “We have always loved your potato salad and were wondering if you would mind brining it to Christmas Dinner!” people find it hard to refuse when you love something of theirs!

Don’t forget that Christmas is about spending time with loved ones NOT going into debt. I hope you can use these tips to save on Christmas Day!

Budget Mum Blog

Cheap Christmas present ideas for every one

Christmas is an expensive time of year the extra food, gifts, parties, costumes, secret santa it really adds up.  The easiest and best way to start early – and keep out of debt!  Here are some great cheap and frugal gift ideas for everyone!  Because no one want you to go into debt for them. Friends, church friends, teachers, brother in laws, below there is a frugal, budget friendly gift for everyone on your list.  Here are some great tips for cheap Christmas present ideas for everyone.

thrifty present ideas for the whole family this Christmas
Frugal gift ideas for everyone on your gift list – no credit card christmas
Thrifty gift ideas for everyone.

Plants.  Start early and propagate some you already have like succulents or grow some flowers or herbs by seed.  Its easy and cheap to do especially if you use a nice pot.  Easy to buy a plain terracotta pot from your local bunnings for a couple of dollars!

Flowers. If you have a lovely garden time to take advantage and give the lovely gift of fresh cut flowers – wrap in some bright tissue paper or plain paper with a lovely ribbon and you are done!

Baked goods. Baking a batch of shortbread or a fruit cake is a gift that keeps on giving.  Even better are items like rocky road and rum ball that require no baking! And cheap to make, especially if you bake in bulk and give to more than one friend!

Preserves and sauces. Perfect for even the fussiest of gift recipient! Homemade sauces, relishes and jams are perfect for pretty much anyone!  Reuse your own jars and over the lid with some fabric scraps and your gifts will be loved just make sure you label your jars with whats inside!

Presents in a jar. Cookie, brownie, or cake mixes – layered in a pretty jar is the perfect gift for people who may receive a lot of gifts at once like a teacher.  They can cook the contents at their own leisure with minimal effort!  Just make sure you include the instructions!

Home sewn items.  Santa sacks, christmas apron, bunting – so many easy projects you can make with little sewing ability to make personalised gift that the recipient will love!  Get creative many ‘sewn’ gifts don’t even use a sewing machine!

Photos/artwork. If you or someone you know is a budding photographer or artist a nice original photo or artwork is always welcomed!  Perhaps a younger member from your family could be the artist!  Grab a couple of cheap frames from Kmart and another present is sorted!

Second Hand or Vintage.  Know your crowd with this but I would much prefer my son to be given a quality second hand gift that a cheap plastic one.  This is probably true for many families. Too many gifts can be overwhelming but thoughtful quality gifts even if they are second hand are always welcome!  Many times at a second hand shop you also can find new items that still have the price tag on if you have the time to look.  A lovely ‘vintage’ scarf that you have taken the time to wash and iron would always be a welcome gift by many women.  Checking out your local second hand shop isn’t a bad idea as long as you take the time to wash and clean it and present it in a beautiful way!

I hope you find something above that is a great gift with a cheap price tag!  No need to go into debt for christmas gift just get creative instead!

Budget Mum Blog


Preparing financially for Christmas

Christmas is coming time to start preparing for it.  It is not an emergency and is not something you should have to put on a credit card or use your emergency fund.  It is something that you should have been planning for (it’s at the same time every year) since last Christmas.  Say YES to a no credit card Christmas. Preparing financially for Christmas can be easy you just need to stay focused.

My aim this year is to have all my shopping done before December.  So far I am on track with only a couple people left.  But most of all I want to stick to my budget. I will by using my  fly buys points to buy the extra food we need, all the other gifts have been spread out in our weekly budget.

Planning for Christmas so it is NOT a financial burden
preparing your finances for Christmas
Preparing your finances for Christmas

Work out EVERYTHING you need to buy – gifts, presents for under privileged, extra food, Christmas party tickets – EVERYTHING.

Set a budget, know how much it will cost.  Set a budget and see if you can beat it – be creative with gift idea.  It really is the thought that counts most of the time.

Make a list of gifts that you need to buy and hunt down the best offer.  You have time on your side and you need to use it.  So much investigation can be done online from the comfort of the house – so get busy!  Work out exact gifts so you know what you are looking for.  The worse thing you could do is go into a shop with your Christmas money and just ‘look around’ you need to know what your buying and if its a good buy.  You still have time to order online and find the best price.

Get creative – make a list of gift you can make.  Thing about potting plants, baking cakes, sewing personalised santa sacks, or kiddie craft to make tree decorations.  Pinterest can be your best friend for frugal gift ideas.  I would love a plant that you have potted yourself so much more than a box of chocolates or mug. Think about your recipient and get creative.  Teachers, co-workers, friends from church would all love a gift you made. But most of all one that they know you didn’t have to go into debt for!

Make a list of extra food you need to buy, it’s not only the presents but it’s also the food you need to take.  Be on the look out for items on special you need, items like drinks, chips and lollies will go on special stock up at 50% off and keep for the busy times.  An extra $5 in the trolley for the next couple of weeks will make it so much easier close to Christmas.  Cashing in your fly buys points for food vouchers is a great way of keeping your shop under budget.

Start to make extra money – think about cashing in your Fly Buys points, selling extra items around the home, start doing Surveys. Spread it out amongst the weeks left but DO NOT use your credit card.  I hope these tips help you prepare financially for Christmas, I would love to hear any of your tips!

Budget Mum Blog


No Spend September

Why should you have a NO spend September?  Why not?  What do you have to lose?  Having a no spend month is a great way to introduce your family into frugal living and making do with what you already own.  September is also a great time to set up your family for summer time expenses which seem never ending – swimming lessons, Christmas, Vacation Care, holidays, school fees, new uniforms, I could go on and on.

NO Spend September
why September is the perfect time to have a No Spend budget Month

Why should you do this now?  Having a no spend month at anytime is awesome (you can read more here), but in September is a great time to start savings for Christmas, Summer and the New Year.

Christmas is expensive and part of becoming frugal is being prepared for future expenses and NOT making more debt for yourself.  Christmas expenses such as presents, parties, bring a plate, lunch and dinner really add up.  But even without children the expenses can spiral out of control and for most Australians the Credit Card gets a work out.  But by have a no-spend September you can save the money and put it towards Christmas so you can start preparing and buying items now.

Maybe you don’t celebrate Christmas, No Spend September is still for you. After Christmas the expenses don’t stop and that is why so many families debt escalates – the beginning of a school year is always an expensive time of year of families.  Books, uniforms and excursions all add up  – so wouldn’t it be nice if you already had the money saved from No Spend September?

School holidays is also another great reason why September is a great time to have a no spend month.  The Christmas school holidays in Australia are at least 6 weeks long depending on your school.  Extra money is always handy for activities either at home or outside (check out some cheap ideas here), or vacation care fees, presents for the ever obliging grandparents that help out etc! A no spend month, ensures a great summer holiday for everyone!

Not sure where to start but want to join in the front of No Spend September?  All you need to do is not spend any money – it’s that easy!  You can set the rules – I always buy essential groceries and medical.  But try to keep other spending to a minimum eg – no clothes or house decor and no takeaway! It’s a flexible as you want it to be – but if you fall off the wagon, please don’t give up.  Dust yourself off and jump back on!  We are only human – to join in the fun follow me on instagram.  If you have any other great reasons why September is the perfect reason for No Spend September please leave them below!

Budget Mum Blog