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We reveal our guide to organising a kids birthday bash without busting your budget — plus, get a free fiver from our rewards club

HAPPY birthday to you . . . and you and you . . . and you. This week is the busiest of the year for birthdays. So if you are forking out a small fortune for your child’s celebration this week, you are not alone. A new study has found that parents splash out £126 on average for a child’s party — while […]

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HAPPY birthday to you . . . and you and you . . . and you.

This week is the busiest of the year for birthdays.

Alamy
The average British household spends more than £5,000 on kids’ birthdays as they grow up[/caption]

So if you are forking out a small fortune for your child’s celebration this week, you are not alone.

A new study has found that parents splash out £126 on average for a child’s party — while 16 per cent admit they spend much more than they can afford.

Daniel Zelkind of zeek.me, the giftcard marketplace behind the study, said: “Despite a fall in consumer spending, it seems kids’ birthdays are the one occasion parents feel they are unable to compromise on. It’s surprising how many parents feel under pressure to stretch themselves.”

But there are some simple ways to cut the cost of hosting a kid’s party. Here is how to do it.

  1. Share a birthday party: Organising a joint party with a classmate of the birthday boy or girl is a great way to save big. That is especially true if they share the same group of friends. Just ensure both families are happy to stick to the same budget.
  2. Plan ahead with party supplies: Pick up basic paper plates, plastic cups and cutlery from pound shops. Or go online to eBay, Amazon and partyrama.co.uk for cheap deals on character party supplies. But do order in plenty of time so you aren’t stressed about whether things will arrive before the big day.
  3. Cheat on the cake: Elaborate custom cakes can cost upwards of £100. Instead, make or buy a plain cake then decorate it with themed cake-toppers that cost around £3 from eBay. You can even add plastic toy figures for a couple of quid.
  4. Make and bake: DIY parties where kids make their going home gifts are a big trend. Try a “graffiti” party with cheap canvases and homemade stencils or Bake Off-style challenges.
  5. Discount days out. For smaller parties, getting out of the house to do an activity is cheap and easy. Tickets for Saturday morning matinees at the cinema are usually just a couple of pounds — and ideal in winter. See myvouchercodes.co.uk and Groupon for local deals.
  6. Fireman Sam fans: Ask your local fire station if they host fire safety talks. Some are happy to speak to children and show them around for free. You only need to pay for refreshments and party favours when back at home.
  7. Bag a bargain: Cut party bag costs buying bulk favours from a pound shop. Or use zeek.me to buy gift vouchers at up to 25 per cent off the normal price, which you can spend on favours or presents.

Getty - Contributor
Mums are more generous than dads, spending an average five per cent more[/caption]

  •  PRICES are correct at time of going to press. Deals and offers subject to availability.

Fancy a free fiver?

YOU can get FREE cash with super Sun Savers just for buying your favourite paper.

Our brilliant new rewards club, which launched this week, will pay back our most loyal readers.

Sun Savers is The Sun’s brand new rewards club
The Sun

Just pick up the paper each day to collect your Sun Savers codes and we will GIVE YOU £5 when you have ­collected 28.

This isn’t a one-off and there is no limit to how much cash you can save.

For every 28 codes you enter, we will give you a fiver. So over the course of a year, that could add up to £65.

We are keeping it super-simple. You don’t have to enter codes from consecutive days, so don’t worry if you forget a day or two.

Scan 28 codes from The Sun can you’ll earn one of these!
Simply collect 28 codes and we’ll give you £5 for FREE
Specimen
Get a real fiver every time you enter 28 codes from The Sun. Yes really. #sunsavers

In fact, it is completely up to you how much you save.

Download our easy Sun Savers app and quickly scan your code using your smartphone. Or go online and enter your code at sunsavers.co.uk.


What is Sun Savers? Here's everything you need to know about our new rewards club


To get you on your way, join today and we will put a bonus £1 in your Sun Savers wallet tomorrow. And the good news doesn’t stop with free cash.

With Sun Savers, we give you the best hacks, deals and tips to save money every single day.

TO JOIN: Don’t worry, folks — joining takes just 30 seconds, in three steps.

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Don’t delay — join Sun Savers now!

Best deal since sliced bread

If you buy a Marks and Spencers sandwich, you could win a free lunch worth £5.50

SAVER SPOT 1: There is such a thing as a free lunch! M&S has hidden 100,000 vouchers for a free lunch main and drink, worth up to £5.50, in sandwich packs.
SAVER SPOT 2: Look good for less. New customers at ASOS can get ten per cent cashback via topcashback.co.uk/asos. The offer has no closing date.

Boot bargain? Back of the net

These football boots at Sports Direct are almost half price

SAVE BIG: Score a saving with Under Armour Spotlight BL FG Men’s Football Boots, were £99.99, now £50 at sportsdirect.com.
SAVE: £49.99

Save 39p on your milk this week at Tesco

SAVE SMALL: Lap up this deal. A2 Semi-Skimmed Milk 1 Litre was £1.39, now £1 at Tesco. Until September 26.
SAVE: 39p

 

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House Prices

You’ll be able to get a mortgage from Marks & Spencer next year – but will it be any good?

IN addition to their posh ready-meals, shoppers will soon be able to buy a house with Marks and Spencer. M&S Bank, owned by HSBC, today announced plans to launch its first mortgage products early next year, subject to approval from regulators. While we don’t yet know what the rates will be like, M&S said the […]

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IN addition to their posh ready-meals, shoppers will soon be able to buy a house with Marks and Spencer.

M&S Bank, owned by HSBC, today announced plans to launch its first mortgage products early next year, subject to approval from regulators.

M&S Bank has announced plans to launch its first mortgage early in 2018
Getty Images

While we don’t yet know what the rates will be like, M&S said the range will be targeted at both first-time buyers and home movers with “competitive” rates across a range of terms.

Full details will be available in the new year.

Many of the best mortgage rates have been chopped recently, with lenders warning more will disappear if interest rates rise in November.

So, M&S will have to pull some decent deals out of the bag to compete with existing lenders.

M&S Bank already provides current accounts, credit cards, loans and insurance.

Sue Fox, the bank’s chief executive, said: “Many of our customers have shopped with M&S their whole lives, feeling the comfort of the brand at every key life event.

“We’re now in a position to support our customers with the biggest financial decision they’ll ever make – their home.”

She added that the company is excited to bring “M&S standard service” to customers purchasing a home.

Getty - Contributor
Buying a house on your own means you need to have the income to secure a mortgage[/caption]

Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief of money.co.uk told the Sun Online that it is an exciting times for M&S bank at the moment as they’re expanding more and more into the personal finance area.

She added that it’ll be interesting to see if the firms offers perks to their current customers to get people on board once the services launches

Considering it is too early to say what the rates will be like, she added: “It is still incredibly important that you don’t just choose your provider out of brand loyalty and shop around for the best deal for you.”

“Mortgage rates are still at record lows, but for how long is questionable with an interest rate rise on the horizon. If you’re looking to get a mortgage for the first time or if you’re coming to the end of your current fixed deal, compare to find the right mortgage for you.”


PROPERTY JUNGLE What do first-time buyers need to look for in a mortgage?


Buying a house on your own means you need to have the income to secure a mortgage.

Lenders typically only allow customers to borrow up to four times their income.

We previously reported that there is now a tool to help buyers find out which mortgages they are more likely to be accepted for.

Meanwhile, single girl Louise Blissett who bought a £130,000 flat with just a £10,000 deposit shared her tips on how you could do it too.

How to get help buying a house

THERE are several government schemes available to help you get on the housing ladder.

 

  • Help to Buy loan: This scheme is for those who have a 5 per cent deposit, and is only available on new-build properties that are worth less than £600,000. The government lends you up to 20 per cent of the property value (interest-free for the first five years) which gives you access to cheaper mortgages. You will need to pay this back at the end of the mortgage or when you sell.
  • Starter Homes: First-time buyers under the age of 40 can access this new scheme. You’ll get a 20 per cent discount on the market value of the property (new-build only) but you cannot sell or let the property for five years after you buy it.
  • Shared ownership: This scheme is available to non-homeowners who earn £80,000 a year or less (£90,000 in London). People can buy a share of a home from a housing association and continue to rent the remainder. Buyers will need a ten per cent deposit as well as money to cover stamp duty and other fees. You’ll also need to find a mortgage lender that is willing to lend on shared ownership properties

 


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Aldi

Aldi launches new Thai curry kits that are half the price of posh rivals

THAI food lovers on a budget will be pleased to know that Aldi has launched a new range of fakeaway curry kits for only £1.39 – almost £1 cheaper than posher takes on the kits. The kits come in two flavours – the green Thai and red Thai – and include fresh ingredients like chillies, […]

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THAI food lovers on a budget will be pleased to know that Aldi has launched a new range of fakeaway curry kits for only £1.39 – almost £1 cheaper than posher takes on the kits.

The kits come in two flavours – the green Thai and red Thai – and include fresh ingredients like chillies, onion and lemongrass.

Aldi has compared their new Thai Kits to posher ones on the market

Curry kits typically come with fresh herbs, coconut milk and curry paste so that you can prepare the sauce fresh rather than from a jar.

The budget supermarket has compared their oriental food kits to upmarket rivals Blue Dragon and Thai Taste Curry Kits.

You can currently pickup a Blue Dragon Green Thai Curry 3 Step Kit for £2 on offer at Asda and Morrisons, and a Thai Taste Curry Meal Kit for £2.29 on Ocado.

Of course, we’re not saying that they Aldi’s version tastes the same but in terms of packaging, they look just as swanky.

According to Aldi, the kits are “perfect for spicing up weekly meals without the hassle of making them from scratch.”

“The new Aldi CREATE Thai Green and Red Curry Kits are perfect for our customers who want to eat delicious home cooked meals, but simply don’t have the time to spend prepping and cooking dishes,” said Julie Ashfield from Aldi.

Aldi’s Red Thai Curry Kit is almost £1 cheaper than an upmarket rival
Aldi’s CREATE Thai Green Curry Kit is 90p cheaper than a Blue Dragon rival – but do they taste the same?

German supermarket rivals have been battling it out to gain ground on the UK’s big four supermarkets, luring in thousands of cash-strapped shoppers hoping to bag a bargain.

Earlier this week, we reported that Aldi is launching Prosecco-infused cocktail sausages – and we’re not sure what to make of them.


TAKE STOCK We reveal how many specialbuys Aldi REALLY stocks – and it’s all just to get you through the doors


Cocktail sausages and a glass of fizz have always been a perfect Christmas party duo. But the foodies at Aldi seem to have let the festive season go to their heads – and they’ve decided to combine the two.

The new party treats are not just brushed with a sparking wine glaze – they have Prosecco coursing through the sausage meat.

Other bizarre flavoured infusions include a festive chocolate flavoured wine and a gin-flavoured mince pies.


We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Money team? Email us at money@the-sun.co.uk or call 0207 78 24516


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Christmas 2017

Argos slashes toy prices including Nerf, Transformers and My Little Pony

ARGOS has slashed the prices on some of its must have toys as shoppers get ready for the expensive Christmas season. Parents looking to get ahead on their festive shopping will be able to get up to a third off coveted toys in the retailer’s half term sale. There are over 700 lines on offer […]

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ARGOS has slashed the prices on some of its must have toys as shoppers get ready for the expensive Christmas season.

Parents looking to get ahead on their festive shopping will be able to get up to a third off coveted toys in the retailer’s half term sale.

Some discounts on toys featured in Argos’ top picks for Christmas like the SoundMoovz Bandz and the Transformers Autobot Sqweeks robot.

There are over 700 lines on offer and most of the dealc are valid from October 11 until the October 31.

These include top brands like Nerf blasters, Little Pony playsets and Star wars. Transformers Autobot Sqweeks – which featured on Argos top picks for Christmas – is also on offer for £49.99 instead of £69.99.

Parents can also get 10 per cent off  SoundMoovz Muzical Bandz, another of this year’s Christmas must haves.

If you’re worried independent price tracking website Pricehistory.co.uk will help you work what’s a bargain and what’s not. The website tracks data for all of the items on the Argos website.

You can set-up price alerts so you can see when is the best time to buy and the site has a section which shows what items have been reduced each day.

We had a quick look and found out that –  as of July 2017 –  the best offer on the Transformer Autobot Sqweeks  was £79.99  – so the latest promotion is definitely a good deal.

Transformers: Autobot Sqweeks RC – Was £69.99 Now £49.99

The Transformers: The Last Knight Autobot Sqweeks RC is now £49.99

Autobot Sqweeks RC from Hasbro features motion and sound effects and kids can prepare for battle by switching him into blaster mode, using his movie-inspired blaster accessory.

It will be a favourite with fans of the latest Transformers movie and is suitable for kids aged 6 or more.

It is worth noting that although Argos’ offer is a good deal, you can also find the robot on online retailer Amazon where it is currently selling for £35.

Beat Moovz SoundMoovz Motion-Activated Musical Bandz & App – Was £49.99 Now £44.99

Musical children might like SoundMoovz Bandz, a wearable tech toy that allows them to create their own beats

Musical kids might like SoundMoovz Bandz, a wearable tech toy that allows them to create their own beats and rhythms as they move by using Bluetooth-connected bands.

Available in black, blue and purple – Argos is currently selling the bracelet for £44.99.

After a quick check online we couldn’t find a better deal at rival stores or on Amazon.

Nerf Doomlands Double Dealer Blaster –  Was £39.99 Now £19.99

Nerf Doomlands Double Dealer Blast is now selling for £39.99

Nerf continues to stay popular with kids as its latest model – the Nitro Long version – made the Hamley’s top toys list for Christmas 2017.

A good option for money-savvy parents, the blaster has a 24-dart capacity and can fire two darts at a time.

It is not suitable for children under 3 years old.

We’ve also checked previous prices on Argos and this has been its best offer on the toy since October.

My Little Pony Cutie Mark Magic Canterlot Castle Playset – Was £39.99 Now £29.99

In January, The My Little Pony Castle was selling for almost £80 at Argos

My Little Pony is a brand that continues to be a favourite with children throughout the years.

This tower of My Little Pony is three storey’s tall and it has a real working elevator to bring all the ponies to the second and third floor.

Parents should be aware that the ponies themselves are sold separately.

We’ve checked the prices on Argos and this is definitely the best offer the retailer had on the toy so far.

In January it was selling the castle for £79.99 before dropping the prices to £39.99 in March and raising them again in April.

The last time it reduced prices was in August when the popular was selling for £39.99 again.

Some shoppers are currently selling the My Little Pony product for nearly £120 on Amazon.

BABY Born Interactive Doll – Was £49.99 Now £39.99

The BABY born interactive doll could be a good alternative to the more pricey Luvabella

For parent who can’t afford the pricey Luvabella toy – which has been tipped as this Christmas must-have toy but cost a cool £100 – the BABY born interactive doll might be a good alternative.

The doll – made by toymaker Zapf Creation for kids aged three to five – has nine functions and comes with 11 accessories including a bottle, a nappy, and a potty.

A black version of the interactive doll also exist but it doesn’t look like it is available at Argos.


BUYER BEWARE Why you need to check Pricehistory.co.uk before buying ANYTHING from Argos


Earlier this year, Tesco and Toys R Us were among major retailers dragged into a race row for selling black dolls cheaper than white ones.

Tesco was selling the white Baby Born Interactive Doll for £50 through Tesco Direct, but its “ethnic” counterpart was just £29.99.

Argos’s latest discount is a good price compared to Luvabella but it is worth noting that it was selling the doll for £10 cheaper in November last year.

This means it might be worth checking its website again to see if it will reduce prices further around Black Friday.

Before buying anything at Argos it is  also worth checking what other retailers have on offer.

Sainsbury’s this week also launched a massive sale on more than a thousand toys including – Lego, Chad Valley, Barbie and Nerf.

Meanwhile, Hamley’s released its top stocking fillings and they all cost under £5.


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