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 ✌🏼️