Monday, December 12, 2011

Avoiding the headache

I'm pretty confidant that for most households that aren't rolling in the Benjamins (or Bordens, as they Canadian case might be), December and January are penny-pinching months. We're in the same boat. I planned ahead, homemade many gifts or bought things at discount, used up points and then paid for shipping. I budgeted, stuck to it (mostly) and kept in mind that cold winter months mean double and triple the heating costs for our house. No matter how I finagle the budget and how far I manage to stretch a dollar, December and January are just months where we are left finding ways to make less go further.
I try to avoid putting anything on credit without first having the money to pay it off as soon as the charge appears online. I do put most purchase on my card, because we have a great points reward system. This has meant that I have to be really on top of checking our balances online and anticipating the rest of the month's spending and budget before I go out shopping. (Or stay in, online shopping!) That's not to say we don't go over coffee shop budgets or entertainment, because we often do, but it helps me reign things in during months like December and January.
I wish I could share how I saved money on my Christmas gifts this year, but I don't want to spoil the surprise! I did opt to make our own Christmas cards this year with a stamp I bought on etsy, mass-printed family pictures, and card stock. I think they came out looking pretty decent, and not cheap, which I feared. This saved me about $50 from what I spent on last year's store-bought cards and pictures.
I also am reigning in the holiday purchases this year. No decoration extras this year, maybe next year. I don't need them, even tough it's tempting to run into the beautiful stores on Main Street with their holiday window displays!
I am making all of our meals at home this month, no eating out. No renting movies (there are a ton on TV this time of year), no coffee shops for me (Rich uses them during night shifts to stay awake!), and no online shopping-period! I am trying to have more no-spend days by finding free things for Abby and I to do, and anticipating my (insane) hunger patterns by packing homemade food when we go out.
This has all helped balance the extras that come with cold weather and Christmas spending, so hopefully we don't have a holiday banking headache come January, where I hope to turn my focus to preparing our home for one little girl to turn three and two little girls to arrive!

1 comment:

  1. Good for you!! We are big on budgets in our house too. I have had a bit of fun though with all of the sewing money I have made. It has been a bit of the fun money and I have bought myself a few things that I never would have before.

    I haven't worked in nearly 5 years now, but we still miss that second income at times. I am thankful that we have the ability to live on one income. Living in Faro really makes that a possibility. Are you sure you don't want to move here next?? :)


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