Earlier this week, I shared that I go ALL OUT at Christmas time and I don’t feel bad about it. Today I’d like to share some ways we save money all year round so that we can enjoy a big Christmas without guilt or challenge.
We definitely splurge here and there on fun treats throughout the year. But for the most part, most of the time we try to keep the special treats special. Here are some examples…
How We Save Year Round So We Can Enjoy a Big Christmas
1. We don’t frequently buy coffee from a coffee shop.
If we’re traveling or out for a fun event out of town, you bet we’ll enjoy a special drink from a coffee shop. But the hefty receipt reminds us why we don’t splurge on that treat regularly!
At home, we always have a pot of coffee ready to brew. We buy fun add-ins and enjoy delicious coffee in our own mug for a much cheaper price tag.
2. We rarely eat out.
Again, we reserve this for times of travel or for being out of town for an event. When we’re home, we’ll occasionally order pizza when there’s a great deal online or when I’ve had a full day from going to court or meetings for our foster kids. Otherwise, we mostly eat at home, which saves hundreds or thousands of dollars since our family is large.
3. We rarely go to movies.
Once a year or so, there’s a movie that Matt and/or the boys like to see in the theater. Otherwise, we wait for the movie to come out on Redbox. Lots of money saved, but still a lot of fun to be had!
4. We buy ice cream from the store instead of from a restaurant.
Ha, this is a silly one, and also a confession that we now frequently buy ice cream to keep in our freezer. :) What can I say? We have a lot of teenagers in our house. And a dad who likes ice cream.
All sugary confessions aside, here’s how we save money on this treat: We’ve found that we can go to DQ and spend $3.50 per person, or we can go to Walmart and spend $2.98 for our entire family. We don’t even just get the boring kinds. We get cookies and cream, chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter cup, chocolate mint, sea salt caramel. (Don’t look at the ingredient list…don’t look at the ingredient list…if you don’t know what’s in it, it can’t hurt you. Heh.)
So we’re getting the same deliciousness as a DQ Blizzard at a fraction of the price.
5. We don’t have cable TV.
We have zero channels, and we have Netflix. That’s it, and yes we miss watching sports sometimes but that’s what friends with cable are for. (We offer to bring food in exchange for watching the World Cup. It’s a win-win.)
I have no idea how much this saves us each year, but thousands I’m guessing. Hundreds at least.
6. I buy Christmas wrapping paper and decorations 50%-90% off after Christmas to prepare for the next year.
I took a friend with me last year to take advantage of the huge discounts. We’re still laughing about how much we got – and high-fiving about how much we saved!! It’s hard to pass up such inexpensive wrapping paper, right?
I always get lights to have on hand next year to replace broken ones, gift bags, tags, ornaments, paper plates and napkins, and whatever else I feel we can use. Oh my, and lots and lots of wrapping paper.
None of this is a judgment against those who regularly enjoy cable, coffeeshop coffee, ice cream outings, etc. This was just me sharing that we choose to enjoy treats at home more often than enjoying treats out.
And then when Christmas rolls around, we have extra money to splurge and enjoy extra special treats and outings. I don’t consider this a sacrifice – like we’re saving all year long so that we can have a big Christmas. This is simply our lifestyle, and it means that at Christmastime we kind of go nuts, because it’s fun and we feel that THIS is the time to go all out!
How about you? How do you save and when do you splurge!?