Woman creates bargain £10 beauty calendar with freebies5 min read

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Buying an advent calendar can certainly be described as an overpriced purchase full of items you might not necessarily want, but one savvy student has created her own filled with free goodies – and it cost just £10. 

Steph Bamber, 24, from Bournemouth, decided to make her own beauty advent calendar after seeing how expensive the ones on offer in the shops were.

The university student and retail worker posted a picture of her gorgeous homemade advent calendar to money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk, and penned: ‘My advent calendar bought from the works… 

‘Covered the drawers with free wrapping paper from Poundland last year (they wouldn’t scan so they gave it free) and glued it with free pva glue from O2 Priority back in the Summer… 

‘Going to fill it with free beauty samples I’ve received over the last few months’.

Steph Bamber, 24, from Bournemouth, has revealed how she created her own advent calendar filled with free goodies - and it cost just £10

Steph Bamber, 24, from Bournemouth, has revealed how she created her own advent calendar filled with free goodies – and it cost just £10

Thrifty Steph told how most of the advent calendars she saw were either expensive or contained items she wouldn't use

Thrifty Steph told how most of the advent calendars she saw were either expensive or contained items she wouldn’t use 

The savvy student filled each day of December with free beauty samples she's received over the last few months (pictured)

The savvy student filled each day of December with free beauty samples she’s received over the last few months (pictured)

Her stunning calendar soon went viral with over 450 likes and 60 comments full of compliments such as ‘looks so pretty and such a personal gift’ and ‘wow this is great’. 

‘I wanted a beauty advent calendar but all of the ones on offer were either expensive, had a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t use, or they were sold out,’ explained Steph.

‘I thought that by creating one myself it would last for years to come, and I can completely customise it to make it totally unique and individual for myself!’

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Firstly, the savvy student had to find somewhere selling a blank advent calendar that she could fill in, but she wanted it to be a reusable wooden one as opposed to a cardboard one.

‘I found that The Works had the 25 drawer cabinets in their regular stock range, and realised they would be ideal for Christmas calendars,’ she said. 

‘I purchased one, and at the till asked if there were any special offers on them. The cashier said they were £15 each or two for £20, so I bought one for my other half too.’

The savvy student told how she decided to make her own beauty advent calendar after seeing how expensive the ones on offer in the shops were (pictured)

The savvy student told how she decided to make her own beauty advent calendar after seeing how expensive the ones on offer in the shops were (pictured)

The university student covered the drawers with free wrapping paper from Poundland and glued it with free pva glue from O2 Priority. Pictured, before

The university student covered the drawers with free wrapping paper from Poundland and glued it with free pva glue from O2 Priority. Pictured, before

When she got home, Steph decided exactly how she was going to decorate it.

‘I decided I had some lovely leftover wrapping paper from the year before and I would use that to cover each drawer and around the edges of the calendar,’ she explained. 

‘I actually got the wrapping paper free last year, after Christmas I had popped into Poundland and decided to pick up some wrapping paper as it was half price, but when I got to the till it wouldn’t scan so the cashier let me have it for free!’

She continued: ‘I stuck the paper on with PVA glue and then filled each drawer with beauty samples, miniature products, and trial sizes that I’ve gathered up for free over the last few months. The finishing touch was sticking numbers on the drawers.’

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‘I couldn’t find anywhere that sold numbers which went from 1-25 as most went from 1-24, so I created my own from sticky labels.’

‘Now it has the pride of place on my side table and I’m looking forward to opening each day, knowing it’s something I actually want!

Steph decided that creating her own advent calendar would last for years to come, and I can completely customise it to make it totally unique and individual for myself! Pictured after

Steph decided that creating her own advent calendar would last for years to come, and I can completely customise it to make it totally unique and individual for myself! Pictured after 

Another impressed with Steph's efforts commented: 'Looks so pretty and such a personal gift' (pictured)

Another impressed with Steph’s efforts commented: ‘Looks so pretty and such a personal gift’ (pictured)

In total, the finished product cost £10, with the drawers two for £20 and the wrapping paper was free from Poundland last year.

Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, commented:

‘I love this environmentally friendly and totally unique advent calendar.’

‘You can re-use it every year rather than chuck out supermarket ones which are all plastic inside, and it stands out against all the big overpriced ones you can buy in-store.’

‘To get free samples to stuff each door with, have a search for Free Stuff Facebook Groups and just Google ‘freebies’.

Meanwhile, the PVA glue was free from an O2 Priority offer earlier on this year in the Summer –  and the contents were all free items she’d applied for or asked for at beauty counters.

‘So happy that I have this for years to come, it’s environmentally friendly as it is reusable, and it’s so unique and customised,’ explained the student.

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‘My top tips would be to make sure any items you have will definitely fit in the drawers before getting started on it, and I would suggest using a pritt stick instead of PVA glue so the paper doesn’t wrinkle as much.’

Steph also provided tips for sourcing the free gifts to fill each day of the advent calendar.

‘Keep an eye out for any adverts that pop up on your newsfeed on Facebook, as sometimes they ask you to sign up for a free perfume sample or a trial sized product,’ she added.

While one branded the advent calendar 'gorgeous,' another praised the 'excellent idea' (pictured)

While one branded the advent calendar ‘gorgeous,’ another praised the ‘excellent idea’ (pictured)

Steph's top tips on creating your own advent calendar include using a pritt stick instead of PVA glue so the paper doesn't wrinkle as much. Pictured, the finished product

Steph’s top tips on creating your own advent calendar include using a pritt stick instead of PVA glue so the paper doesn’t wrinkle as much. Pictured, the finished product

‘Also, sign up to Debenhams Beauty Club, it’s free and every few weeks they have a new sample that you can go down and collect by scanning your card.

‘Thirdly, always ask for any samples when making a purchase in a department store, they’re always more than happy to give you some!

She added: ‘Lastly, Feelunique have a pick and mix sample selection on their website where each month you can select five sample products to receive.

‘I’s a one off cost of £3.95 for shipping and handling but you get that back in the form of a voucher, then you can use it against all future purchases (they will keep issuing you vouchers for £3.95 so long as you keep re-ordering the samples with your previous months voucher).