Tag Archives: Cruising Through The Holidays

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!

Created a Monster!

The last of the Japanese Maple leaves.

The last of the Japanese Maple leaves.

A few posts back you may recall me telling you about sharing the vacation budgeting process with our daughter.  Well… that lesson really took!  We now hear a new refrain around the house “Where did that money come from?  Did it come from the vacation budget?”  Mr. Saver recently took advantage of Target’s promotion to receive a $200 gift card when trading in an old iPad (thanks Simply Save!).  Can you hear it now?  “Did that money come from the vacation budget??!”  No, it did not, but my husband’s mad money budget line is now at zero.

In other news, we are continuing to baby step our way into the holiday season.  This week I washed my Christmas tablecloth, thanks to Flylady’s ‘Cruising Through the Holidays‘ mission.  My goal was to enjoy the month of December instead of stressing out, and Flylady’s daily missions are helping me be ready to do that.  My husband and I met to run through a final list of what we need to buy for whom.  I am stocking up on butter as it comes on sale for Thanksgiving and made 1 batch of cut-out cookies with DD.  Today we had an early Thanksgiving meal at work and that means free leftovers tonight!


Baby Stepping to the Holidays

Now that we had our Halloween revelry, I am downshifting straight into Christmas mode.  Our first family celebration is in six weeks.

One way to ease the Christmas budget strain is to spread the expenses around using cash instead of having a credit crunch in December.  So far I have:

  • Flower poinsettia D2

    (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Bought one packet of Christmas stamps

  • Made a layout of our Christmas card on the Walgreens website – waiting for a good discount and then I can pounce!
  • Bought a gift card for the mail carrier, and a number of smaller gifts that must remain secret!

I am planning to look for good deals on baking supplies as we near Thanksgiving, and stock up, budget permitting, when I see low prices.  I have been tracking low prices for grocery items in my ValueTracker app.  I would love to squeeze another gift card out of next week’s budget too.

If you could use a little inspiration on dealing with holiday expenses, check out this short but powerful clip from Flylady.  It’s not too late to jump in where you are and “Cruise Through the Holidays“!  Taking baby steps over many weeks helps prevent that frantic feeling when everything needs purchasing on December 22.  P.S. – let me know if you are “Cruising Through the Holidays” too!