Tag Archives: Christmas budget

Revisiting the Christmas Budget

Now that holiday expenses are coming into full view, I am making a few notes for next year.  I will put them right on the front cover of my Flylady ‘Cruising Through the Holidays‘ planner.

  1. Next year, budget for holiday decor.  I should have set aside $ 100.00 for Christmas tree, lights that need replacing, and floral/plant decor.   Much to my daughter’s dismay, I usually come home with a Charlie Brown-sized tree that I can carry in with one hand.  Even those cost almost $ 30.00!
  2. Next year, set aside extra money in “Mad Money” for Black Friday.  By the time “Cyber Monday” hits I predict our mad money budget categories will be on Empty.
  3. Life in December would be much easier if I had prepared some freezer meals in November.  There are a couple of weeks that are chock-full of after-school haircuts, Girl Scouts, and work parties for the holidays.

Victorian-Santa-Image-GraphicsFairy-428x1024We managed to come out of last week with $ 50.00 left in our weekly budget.  We set the money aside for an Amazon Subscribe and Save shipment coming in December.  If you haven’t read Mr. Saver’s strategy for saving with Subscribe and Save, you can read his full coverage here.

Yesterday while our daughter was at a Christmas play, DH and I got out to Target for some Christmas shopping, and it is a wonderful feeling to come home and take the money for the gifts right out of our budget!

Savoring the Holiday Season

I can sense the holiday mania revving up, judging by the volume of retailer emails in my inbox.  Express clothing store is open at midnight on Thanksgiving??  Not for me, even with a 50% discount.  The best way I know of to enjoy the season is to make a plan for what needs to be done, what I can spend, and what I am buying at which stores.  Fewer trips saves money and sanity.

Enter… Flylady’s ‘Cruising Through the Holidays Control Journal’ – available free at flylady.net.  Here’s how I use mine.

Print your control journal for free

Print your control journal for free

You can set aside 10-15 minutes a day to bring your holiday plans to life.  Don’t stress yourself out by trying to knock this out in one sitting!

Menu Planning

Menu Planning

Are you hosting a gathering?  This is my menu plan in the works.  I also have notes for what categories of food others can bring.   Will you be needing any items such as disposable plates, paper napkins, or drinks & alcohol that you don’t normally buy?  Today I made a note to ask my husband what drinks he plans to serve, and what supplies will he need to do that.

Make a grocery list

Make a grocery list

Start fleshing out the grocery list on the next page.  Is there anything you rarely use, such as maraschino cherries or worcestershire sauce that may be expired and needs replacing?  My worcestershire sauce was older than my daughter.  Oops!

Gift List

Gift List

A gift list is essential.  For me the gifts that send me out at the last minute are the non-family gifts:  mailman, teacher, garbage man.  Put on the tea kettle, put up your feet, and spend 5 minutes thinking of what gifts you need to have for family and non-family.  Will you be putting out a stocking or a shoe for St Nick on the night of December 5?  That is a week away . . .

The Cruising Through The Holidays packet also has useful pages for those who need to mail packages, or travel to a family gathering.  At the end of the year, save the pages you used for planning until next year.  You will have a record of what you spent on gifts, and what food items you served.  This will help you start to save money towards holiday expenses long before a Black Friday email has graced your inbox!

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!

Sunday – Looking Ahead

My brain is ricocheting around from one thing to another today.  It’s time to get a notebook out and map out the next few days.  Thursday is Thanksgiving in the USA.  My first goal is to avoid the grocery store for the next three days, as it gets crazy busy!  My meal plan looks like:

Monday – Shrimp, broccoli and twice-baked potatoes

Tuesday – School concert at 3:00 – meal out!  It’s rare to have my husband home from work before 6:00 pm, so we won’t pass up an opportunity to have dinner out as a family at an early hour.

Pumpkin Pie from a *real* pumpkin.

Wednesday – Off work, off school.  Let the pie baking begin!  We will have a simple meal of lasagne from the freezer.

The rest of the week is all about the leftovers, of course!

Other tidbits on my mind include parties at my husband’s office in the coming weeks which require various food items to be brought in.  We started budgeting for the holiday office expenses in early fall, and we will need to draw from that budget category weekly from now until Christmas.  Having a set category for these work entertaining expenses takes the pressure off our weekly budget.  If you haven’t budgeted for this in the past, this year might be a great time to jot down what you spend on work-related holiday gifts, meals out, food to share at work, and clothing if you are unlucky enough to have to buy fancy clothes for parties!

Family fun this weekend included a frozen pizza in front of the TV and the great movie “Elf.”  We hope to watch one Christmas movie as a family every week from now through December.   My daughter and I also baked Christmas cookies, and I hope to bring you a recipe or two in the coming weeks.

Finally, I want to thank Beth over at Country Home and Hearth for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award.  I have been a fan of Beth’s blog for quite a while.  I have been inspired by the steps she has taken to be as healthy as she can be after experiencing a heart attack about 2 years ago.  Also, while Beth has been decluttering I have been doing the same right along with her!  Thanks Beth!