This post may contain Affiliate Links
This is a guest post from Tuppenny who blogs over at tuppennysfireplace.com where she talks about living the frugal life and saving enough money to retire early. Being frugal and saying no to spending all her money means she is on track to retire in 18 months, 15 years earlier than usual.
Saving Money at Christmas
Christmas creeps up so quickly on you that unless you’ve been saving for most of the year it can catch you unawares and send your Christmas budget out of the window. Christmas seems to start ever earlier each year with decorations in the stores from the 1st of September.
When you are on a low income or have a budget that doesn’t have a lot of slack in it, Christmas can be a stressful time. Made more so if you end up blowing your Christmas budget and are left with a debt in January.
I’ve spent so many Christmases regretting things I’ve bought and not enjoying the whole holiday experience. To stop the regret I have now instigated a shopping ban on certain items for Christmas. By banning myself from buying them I can rest more easily knowing my budget won’t be completely blown out of the water.
So what am I refusing to buy for Christmas this year?
Christmas Outfits For the Grand-Babies
When grand-baby no.1 was born I couldn’t resist buying one of those cute baby outfits for her 1st Christmas. Did the same when grand-baby no.2 was born. Only I felt I had to buy GB1 another Christmas outfit so she wasn’t left out.
When GB3 came along I realised my cute outfit buying was going to start racking up more money than I wanted to spend so decided to stop the cute outfit buying. Christmas outfits are cute for about 5 minutes, then they get chocolate, milk and all sorts down the front and the grand-babies don’t look so cute any more.
I am not a fan of jumpers, I’m more a fleece or cardigan kind of girl but I love other people in their Christmas jumpers. And I love buying Christmas jumpers. It helps to instill a festive spirit in me. Given I disliked Christmas for a long time I need all the festive spirit I can muster.
But with a growing extended family and frugal plans to retire early, buying new Christmas jumpers each year is not a good use of my money. Like the cute Christmas outfits for the grand-babies, the Christmas jumpers only get worn for half a day before either being taken off or covered in something.
And of course I run the risk every year of being bought a Christmas jumper as a present myself – which I really don’t want!
Tins of Christmas Chocolate
Ah chocolate, lovely chocolate. My weakness. I love all things chocolate but selection boxes and tins of chocolate are probably my favourite. All those different flavours, I never get tired of the flavour as it keeps changing.
Problem is, I keep eating! My chocolate eating record is that one year I managed to eat an entire 1.3kg tin of Cadbury’s Roses in 4 days! Before Christmas Eve! My defence is:
- I didn’t eat the coffee flavour ones (yuck)
- I didn’t eat much else
- I’ve never done it again
Eating that much chocolate and sugar is really not good for you, never mind the kilos you will likely gain! I have had to ban myself from buying tins of chocolate. No matter how much I promise myself they are for guests, I know from years of experience that I will eat 90% of them.
New Christmas Decorations
One of my friends has her Christmas tree and ornaments colour coordinated. Which means every few years she changes the colour scheme and the whole lot goes into the bin! I’m the opposite and keep every decoration DD1 and DD2 made and hang them all up on the Christmas tree along with the many bargain Christmas decorations I have collected over the years.
Mr2p is not keen on our extremely eclectic Christmas tree but I love it. The thing is I still like to buy new Christmas decorations. I see them in the stores in September and give in by November. Lovely, bright, shiny new Christmas baubles. But I already have too many.
Some get placed in a bowl as a decoration in itself. Not because I’m artistic but because I have too many baubles and don’t want to not put them out! So, no more baubles until the old ones break and the tree is looking too bare.
Are you one of those people who can never find anything to wear for an upcoming event? So you end up shopping a few days before to find something to wear? A long time ago that was me but I have been super good for a long time in not buying new party wear to go to the odd party I do go to.
I’m so good these days at not buying new outfits that I have even worn my Mother of the Bride outfit to 3 further weddings to ensure I get maximum use out of it. So I won’t be buying a Christmas party dress this year, like I didn’t last year.
Piles of Presents For the Grand-Babies
Young children are such a joy to buy for that it’s easy to over buy for them. Just one more cute toy, book or jumper can easily sneak into your shopping basket. But kids get so many presents from so many people that they are overwhelmed on Christmas day.
I decided when grand-baby no.1 was born that I would not fall into the trap I did when her mum was born and buy lots of stuff for them. I have a strict (ish) budget for everyone including the grand-babies and I now make sure I stick to it. I do try to get more than one present for each of them but if one present costs the whole budget so be it.
Christmas Yankee Candles
I love candles. If I’m going to spend any of my fun money allowance on something other than chocolate then it will be Yankee candles and my favourite are Christmas Yankee candles. The smells of Christmas and winter really make me feel warm and cosy.
But you know, Christmas Yankee candles are expensive, like any premium candle, and I don’t get to enjoy them that much as there’s too much else going on around me. So Christmas candles are on the banned list this year.
New Christmas Underwear and Pyjamas
I know quite a few people for whom it’s a family tradition to buy new underwear and Christmas jammies every year. But who wants to wear Christmas jammies in June? They’ll be far too thick for summer wear never mind it’s just weird wearing snowflakes and penguins on your PJs when the sun is shining.
If we need underwear and it’s near Christmas then it goes onto the stocking present list otherwise no underwear or Christmas jammies are bought in the Tuppenny household.
I love cards, especially ones with added bits, with Christmas ribbon and the like. But the ones I like are expensive! And do I need to be buying expensive Christmas cards which will get lost with the 50 or so other Christmas cards my relatives receive each Christmas? No, I don’t.
If I was fabulously frugal I’d make my own, but I am not crafty or really creative so I shall buy the cheaper cards and keep my budget in check.
Christmas Wrapping Paper and Crackers
We can end up using a lot of Christmas wrapping paper every year. Especially as I individually wrap all the Christmas stocking presents still. Note to self – stop wrapping these!
The thing is, as soon as Christmas Day is over wrapping paper and crackers get reduced as the store managers want all their Christmas themed items out of their store to make way for the Easter range. I can pick up wrapping paper in January for 25p a roll, sometimes only 10p a roll, so why would I pay £1.50?
I’ve not paid full price for wrapping paper for years. And the same goes for Christmas crackers. I have a loft, I use it to store other stuff so why not store cheap crackers that I can buy for 70% off in January? So I do. And I’m not going to be buying full price crackers any time soon.
Real Christmas Trees
I know they are seen to be more environmentally friendly as they’re not plastic or made in a factory but it just seems so wasteful to me. A Christmas tree can take a good few years to grow to a suitable size then we chop it down, stick it in a stand and kill it off within 3 weeks.
And let’s not get started on the needles they shed. I do not need a tree making me feel guilty about not running the hoover round on a daily basis. Our tree is plastic and we bought it 2 years ago in the January sale for £5. Our previous tree lasted 15 years so I consider that a bargain and fairly eco friendly.
Saving Money at Christmas
As you’ll see these aren’t big money savings but they keep my budget mindset at the forefront of my mind. Knowing I am not buying these frees me from worrying about how much I’ll end up spending this Christmas. I estimate not buying these 11 things will save me over £400 this year which is not to be sniffed at!
How will you keep your budget in check this Christmas? Do you impose buying bans like I do?