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Last year we took part in reverse advent for the first time. If you’ve not heard of it before, it is a lovely thing you can do for others on the run up to Christmas. It’s very simple to do. You basically get a box (doesn’t have to be anything fancy but it’s nice to add Christmas decorations or a sign to keep you motivated. A cardboard box will do though. You can pick one up for free from most supermarkets. Then you can either use more card to split it into 24 compartments or just leave it as it is.
You really can keep it very simple.
Most people do reverse advent from the 1st December, adding in an item to donate to a charity or homeless shelter each day. So rather than opening a little door and helping yourself to a chocolate (or piece of Star Wars LEGO in my husband’s case!), you get to gift something to someone less fortunate.
What’s the plan?
This year I’m doing my reverse advent for my local foodbank and will be starting on 1st November. This is because each year foodbanks receive the majority of donations the week before Christmas. Sadly there’s a perfect storm this year of Universal Credit coming in and the related delays in payments. Combined with the fact that there’s an increased demand for foodbanks from families who have children on school holidays it really is important to donate if you can.
What do foodbanks need?
You can find your nearest foodbank here. Over 90% of the food that foodbanks distribute to people in need has been donated by members of the public. They have provided a list of what is in a food parcel.
- Pasta Sauce
- Tinned Meat
- Tinned Vegetables
- Tinned Fruit
In addition to the above, non-food essentials can also be donated.
- Toiletries – deodrant, toilet roll, shower gel, shaving foam, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, wet wipes
- Household items – laundry liquid, washing up liquid
- Feminine products – sanitary towels and tampons
- Baby supplies – Nappies, baby food and wipes.
How to do a reverse advent for free…
I have decided to demonstrate how ANYBODY can do this reverse advent for free. Everyone can feel good about themselves this Christmas without it costing them a penny. In fact, you might even get paid in the process!
Download the Shopmium app using referral code KMMAGUHX. Shopmium is a cashback app that promotes supermarket products. You purchase the qualifying items, then scan the product and photo the receipt then they send you the cashback. Some things pay out the full purchase price, so you get these for free. Some items are on offer in store so you might get more cashback than you paid for it. Others you can look for manufacturer coupons to use in store and then get the cashback too. These latter two scenarios mean you get paid to shop and donate to the reverse advent for a foodbank. Using my referral code instantly gets you a FREE bar of Lindt chocolate. Then just work your way through the offers. These change regularly so you don’t want to miss out on any of the freebies in particular so you can collect 24 for your box during advent. The products are all from the large supermarkets so should be accessible to most. Just this week I picked up the below for FREE. The bread and frozen chicken pie isn’t suitable for the reverse advent box so we’re going to eat those but the other items are perfect!
Download the Field Agent app. You can earn money from going short mystery shops in supermarkets. The most I’ve earned from one job is £12 so far. If you’re going to the supermarket anyway, this can cover your travel expenses plus pay for some reverse advent items from the foodbank list. Christmas treats can be a real boost for families who are struggling financially so these small mystery shopping payments could go on a pack of mince pies or selection box.
Download the Bounty App. There are a number of packs for pregnant and new mums which can be acquired from Boots and Tesco when you show the staff your app. These packs contain all sorts including nappies, wipes, baby food, spoons, baby bubble bath, lotion etc. Perfect for the non-food items for the foodbank. My top tip is getting the “enhanced” packs from Tesco as you get more in those packs in terms of nappies.
Lots of other UK Money Bloggers taking part too so if you want to join in, share your images on social media with the hashtag #foodbankadvent
I can’t wait to see what you manage to collect together in your reverse advent box.