Budget, budget, budget… and Christmas spending

Back to the budget… our big trip stuffed it, we YOLO’d way too much and have come back with no savings & a hefty credit card debt. Bring on Christmas haha.

So back to basics and saving where we can. It’s going to be tight. 

I’ve jigged the budget as much as possible. From experience our biggest places to save besides the obvious blowing money, is our grocery budget. At the moment this budget sits at $170 for 2 adults, 2 kids & 2 big dogs. We normally spend around $40 on meat and $40 on fruit and veg – that leaves $90 at the supermarket. Which sounds like an awful lot on paper… but it doesn’t seem to be at the checkout. I guess that does normally include a fruit top up but that would only be another $10-$15.

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs on people in similar situations that do it for $100 a week. Amazing. The dogs cost us around $10-$12 a week, so it’s not like that’s a big part. It’s the convenience foods that do us in. 

So I’m starting small. From this week I’ll aim for $150 a week – that’ll save us $20 a week. Doesn’t sound like much but if I can keep that up, it’s a cool $1,040 a year more in our pockets. 

The next part I’m focusing on is Christmas. Damned if I’m getting into anymore debt, but I also only ever want to give presents that the recipient would love. I believe in being frugal but not at the expense of a thoughtful gift. I’ve just got to hunt the best deals out and plan rather then last minute grab. 

I have 21 presents to get…

2 x kids (including Santa presents) 

8 x nieces & nephews

4 x grandparents / great grandparents

2 x token family presents 

3 x teachers

1 x bulk childcare gift

1 x hubby

Out of these 19 there are a fair few that are only small gifts, but they all add up. I should have $200 in fly buys points by the time Christmas comes around so that will help either towards Santa presents or Christmas Day food. 

In 2014 I spent $812.47 on Christmas presents. In 2015 I spent $601.80 excluding mine & hubby’s presents. I have no idea why I didn’t write them down and no idea what we gave each other haha. But we normally cap it at $100ea so say $801.80 for 2015. 

This year I would like to be around $800 again. 

I remember one year sitting around with some friends when I mentioned my budget for everyone was always around $800… they all were shocked and said they spent that on their kids and hubby alone. We’re not talking about older kids either, we’re talking about under 5s at the time! I left the catch up feeling like an awful parent. How could I be so tight? I didn’t feel like I was being stingy to my kids, but I must have been! 

I went home and went on some savings forums for perspective… and quickly got it (thank you frugal community!). I then looked at my kids at the time that were 1 & 4… & promptly realised they didn’t need $500 in presents. There will be times to come down the road when they’ll be a LOT harder to buy for, but for now they’re happy just to open stuff. Anything. Every year I’ve wrapped up a box of coco pops and they have LOST THEIR MINDS. They don’t get stuff like that normally so it’s an absolute treat. And while it seems stingy to wrap up a box of cereal and throw it in their sack – who cares if their eyes light up & they scream into the kitchen for a bowl? They’re happy. Isn’t that the point? They don’t care if that box cost $4 or $4000 at their age. So when we buy expensive presents for little ones – are we buying it for them or for us? Are we programmed to think that a present won’t bring happiness unless it’s expensive? Or we’ll be judged if we don’t spend a certain amount? 

While I can get away with simple presents, I’m going to. There will come a day when they will be teenagers and the whole playing field will change. So for now I’m going to savour their excitement over the simple stuff because Christmas should be about family, friends, happiness & contentment – not about money stress ✌🏼️

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3 thoughts on “Budget, budget, budget… and Christmas spending

  1. Oh gosh! So many things to say. 1) Sweet Jesus you have 6 regos? I thought 3 were bad. 2) you need to start secret Santa or no gifts for people over 10, i know my family is smaller but seriously that’s just a crock. It’s the expectation that’s fucked. Everyone is old enough now they buy what they want when they want. 3) um I don’t really have a budget for Christmas but I know I’d never spend more than $350-400 ever. Glenn’s not a big gift giver so he only really buys his mum something small when I push him. No other presents for his side of the family… Which is a bit strange but now I’ll start with the Lana’s homemade gifts. Mitch and I agreed along time ago not to do presents and we split mum and dad’s gifts. 4) what is a token present? 5) you keep records that far back of budgets? 6) I would love a box of Coco pops in my Santa sack Evey fucking year! Keep doing it even when they are teenagers.

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    1. Haha we used to do no presents once you hit 18 (10s a bit young lol) but then I started buying something little for my eldest niece cause she’s alone at Xmas (Cairns) then I figured I should buy something little for the other 2 over 18s too. It’s normally something small tho. I don’t mind buying for the nieces & nephews. Xmas is for the kids 🙂

      The grandparent presents are normally snapfish calendars on sale going halves with Shell so it’s like $10ea.

      Token presents – one is for Brads step sis cause she doesn’t have kids. I remember being the one without kids and having to buy for everyone else’s lol. So the girls give her a bottle of wine haha. Other token one is for my sis – it’s normally just the latest hot sauce from the markets or something.

      We don’t buy for other siblings and their partners.

      You don’t have to give childcare presents but I like to. They bent over backwards to take Ash a lot more for me when Dad was really sick. Least I can do as a thanks. I just buy 2 boxes of favourites on special and the girls and I bag them into little bags and put them in an op shop basket with a thank you note & bow. That way they can each grab one.

      I was just going to do a token home made present for Abbey’s teachers (she has 2 that job share and an aid) but after seeing just how much effort and care they have put into her I decided to get something more. After asking my teacher mates for ideas it was a resounding ALCOHOL so instead of picking the wrong thing, I’m going to give them each a $20 liquor land card to pick their own wine & get Abbey to write them a thank you.

      Haha yeah in 2014 I decided to write everything down so I knew how much to put away over 2015 a week. Then I did it in 2015 for interest. I’ll do the same this year as well but more keeping tabs on myself.

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