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Christmas Spending Recap


We had an ambitious budget of $150 for Christmas this year. In early December, it became clear that we were going to go over that budget. Either unexpected things came up or I forget about people to buy for. I am not the best budgeter in the world, that’s for sure.

I tallied up our Christmas spending, and it came to $250. We were $100 over budget. For clarification, that spending does not include any gifts purchased from gift money received. The spending there is the money we spent out of pocket for gifts. Even though we went over, I think we did pretty well. Putting more thought into gifts paid off, especially with our son. We bought him educational toys and he loves them! Mom and dad love playing with them too!

All in all, Christmas was very practical this year and our family is set now with proper winter gear to handle our cold winters. Our son is always set, but mom and dad are now set too. It’s time to get outside more and do some family snowshoeing. We are excited about that. Now we need a nice winter day where we are all off work/school! That is one downfall of having both my husband and I working. All three of us rarely have a day off together now. We are working on that, though.

As for the blown budget, I plan on trying to sell a few more things and spending less money in January to make up for it. It looks like both my husband and I are going to give up soft drinks (again) for health reasons as part of our New Year’s resolutions. That will easily save over $50/month right there. Yes, we like our soda (caffeine!). There are other expenses we are talking about too, but we haven’t made a decision on yet. Cable is one thing on the chopping block as we speak.


  • Reply Bryan White |

    Be careful going cold turkey off caffeine. I gave it up a couple of months ago and I got withdrawal symptoms. Best to taper off gradually.

    Restricting yourself to $250 for Christmas presents is pretty good.

  • Reply Margot |

    Wow! That’s a whole lot of money spent on soda every month that could be going toward debt and saving you tons of money in the long term on your health. I wonder how many other food/beverage areas there are where you could cut out unhealthy items and pay off more debt at the same time.

    I’ve found that with holiday spending, I need to draw an absolute line in the sand with my budget. Otherwise, it’s always possible to keep justifying going over it. There’s always a seemingly good reason to buy more, buy for someone else, buy on a good sale, buy something you or someone else needs anyway that’s practical, etc. It’s a dangerous, slippery slope for me and my finances!

  • Reply Tricia |

    Margot – I agree. That’s a lot of money. There have been times where one of us was not drinking soda. But right now…both of us are back on it. My weakness is Mountain Dew.

    Bryan – I’ve found that it’s best to go cold turkey with caffeine. You get the headaches, but you can give a preemptive strike with Tylenol. It can be hard, though, to remember to do that. The headaches only last a couple days. Wanting the taste, though, that never seems to go away (at least for me).

  • Reply Honey |

    I could never.give.up.cable. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the BF signed a 3-year contract with direct tv, so we CAN’T give it up without a huge penalty.

  • Reply Colleen in MA |

    I think spending only $250 for Christmas is remarkable and don’t know why some of your readers are giving you a hard time about it! It included outdoor wear too for you family, right? so it sounds practical as well.

    As far as the soda, good luck! Although, I do think some luxury in a budget is good. Well, maybe not $50 of soda a month ;0) but I know that yes, I could cut out Dunkin Donuts coffee from my morning routine but one or two days a week won’t break my budget and makes me feel cheery once in a while. Everybody has their “thing”.

    We gave up cable a few years ago and don’t miss it much. There are a few shows I really do miss, like Monk and other cable shows, but we rent them from Netflix now instead. The savings just really makes it worth it. And the time is spent reading or freelancing or cleaning – I just find myself vegging in front of the TV less and less.

    Gosh, I had a lot to say about your entry! But as always I admire your eye on the big pictures. Good luck with your plans!

  • Reply Emily C |

    WOW – give up the coffee – I have in the passed and even if every once in a while you might order/make a cup – it is still only 1 cup. You will save on your health too. Start walking or running if you get a craving…it helps me always. I have given up cigarettes and 11 years later I still miss them – but I do not allow myself to attend my pity party. Go for it. Good luck!!!!!

  • Reply Tricia |

    Colleen – It’s funny, because there was a theme this year with our spending. Even with gifts from relatives – they got us scarves, hats, gloves, etc. My husband also took some gift money he received and gave it to me to put towards a true winter coat. I haven’t had a real coat in years. I haven’t bought it yet – waiting for the end of season specials so the entire amount he gave will cover it 🙂

  • Reply Tricia |

    Oh, I just realized I didn’t mention this above. A gift we gave our son was snowshoes. Mom and Dad had their own pairs, but he needed a pair so we could go as a family. Now we are all set to go!

  • Reply Tricia |

    Emily – we are not coffee drinkers, just soda. We won’t even get into the smoking habit of mine….

  • Reply Emmi |

    Instead of softdrinks, maybe buy bulk teabags and keep sun tea going in the fridge. MUCH cheaper and gives you the caffeine you are craving. The health benefits of swapping out the diabetes-inducing high fructose corn syrup for regular white sugar (a more complex sugar) are pretty high too. The brominated vegetable oil in the mountain dew is no great shakes either. Google that if you need additional dissuasion to cut down.

  • Reply MVP |

    It is SO easy to live without cable. Don’t even give it a second thought. We did it long ago and haven’t looked back. We still watch too much TV, mind you, but not as much as we would if we had dozens more channels to choose from. Do it. Also, we subscribe to Netflix for only $18 a month – a far cry from what the cable companies charge – and can watch movies and TV shows that way.

  • Reply Tricia |

    Our cable runs less than $19/month (used to be around $15, but it has been inching upward the last few years). It’s the very basic plan. But changes they are making to the programming is not sitting well with us. So we are thinking maybe it is time to say goodbye. Unfortunately, that means goodbye to all TV. We can’t even get local channels with an antennae where we live.

  • Reply Rachel |

    You didn’t do too bad with your budget. Congrats on getting through Christmas and spending less! It’s not that easy!

  • Reply mc |

    check out hulu.com — lots of tv for free. Maybe they have some of the shows you watch. hgtv has full episodes at their site as well.

So, what do you think ?