That’s it! The Christmas countdown has already started. In fact, I noticed it had started on November 1st… only minutes after Halloween ended, stores were putting their Christmas decorations out. While I think it’s a bit crazy, but perhaps it can help us prepare a Christmas budget ahead of time. As a result, the January credit card bill should be less painful when it arrives ;-).
I have tried to think about how I can save money for my Christmas gifts and how much it would actually take. Since I have 2 children, I have quite a bit to gather ;-).
Saving 3 coffees a week ($40)
I have decided that I would cut coffee at work until Christmas. I still enjoy one at home before I leave but I had this little vice of having another one while I start my laptop at work and take a peak at the stock market opening. I have traded the nice, warm Caramelo Coffee from Second Cup for a clear, refreshing glass of water. This will not only save me $2.25 per day (which means about $40.50 until Christmas) but it will also help me stay in shape. Can’t really say that cream and sugar is a good thing for my belly…. Even though it tastes so good! So with $40, I will able to buy at least 1 gift!
Cutting down on restaurants ($225)
We spend a lot of money in restaurants. In fact, it is not rare that we order in on Friday’s and then go out to eat with our children on Saturday, helps reinforce table manners ;-). Therefore, we easily spend $75 to eat out on a weekly basis. Since there are about 6 weeks until Christmas, I will try to cut 3 weeks of restaurants out. However, just saying that we will cut on restaurants is not enough. We need something worthwhile to replace these special occasions in order to suffer less. Instead of trying to cut modify our choice of restaurants, I have thought of changing our habits and simply not going to restaurants at all.
Solution #1: Special Feast Fridays
I suggested to my wife that we could prepare a special meal on Friday night and have dinner together. So we cook grilled cheese or pasta for the children then put them at bed around 8pm and then, we can cook a nice meal to eat alone like we used to do. While this will result in slightly higher grocery bills, we will still save money, eat healthier food and spend more quality time together. And honestly, what could be more fun than sharing a bottle of wine while preparing a gourmet meal with the love of my life…
Solution #2: Invite people over
Instead of going to restaurants on Saturdays, we have decided to invite people over for dinner. We will see more of our friends and still have a great evening. The great part is that we will also get invited by them eventually. Therefore, it will cost less than a bill for 4 people (William is not eating as much as I do!) at the restaurant. In order to make sure we don’t over spend on food, we ask our guests to bring the wine and we take care of the rest.
Instead of spending $75 per month, I plan on spending around $35 more on groceries and save about $40 a week. This way, we won’t feel like we are missing something, we simply change our habits. Who knows, we might like it enough to keep doing it after Christmas!
Cutting all non-necessary expenses ($200)
Life is full of unnecessary daily expenses. How many times do we see something that we like and just buy it on the spot? This will probably be my biggest challenge; not spending on extra food, extra wine, clothes or electronic gadgets until Christmas. For the first 2 frugal ideas, I am able to change my lifestyle in order to help us out. But for this one, I will simply sacrifice my lifestyle in order to fit into my Christmas budget!
So in the next 45 days, I should be able to save $465 for Christmas gifts. This is $10 per day. It shouldn’t be that bad, don’t you agree? If you have other Christmas saving ideas, I’m looking forward to read about them!
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