Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Save $500 Before Christmas

With all the thrifty activity at our house, I have to be honest, I’m not a very good saver. That’s more of my husbands department. He’s great at setting aside 10% from every paycheck to stuff away into our savings account only to be used in case of emergencies. Me? I’m full of great short-term ideas for solving the immediate financial needs of raising four kids, two dogs and keeping my house from falling down around my ears. But when it comes to siphoning money into a savings account I fall flat on my face. So right about this time of year is when I start the Holiday Budget Panic.. I hate to bring this up, but did you now there are about 11 weeks until December 25th? If you haven’t started saving for it yet and hope to avoid the biggest frugal no-no; the “Credit Card Christmas“, never fear. Here are some simple ideas to boost your holiday gift giving budget in a very big way.

  • An average fast food lunch is around $6. If you replaced this with a homemade lunch just two times a week for the 11 weeks until Christmas, your total savings would be $132. That’s a great start and your waistline will thank you too.
  • Instead of buying that magazine or book you’ve been wanting to read, check it out at the library. If you normally buy one $5 magazine a month that’s a savings of $15. If you buy one $14 book per month you’ll be squirreling away another $42.
  • Do you go through a $2 roll of paper towels each week? Use rags instead and save another $22.
  • Is it normal to grab a $3.50 latte on your way to work every morning? Don’t completely deprive yourself. Drink coffee from home just three times a week and you’ll save $115.50.
  • Is your car ready for an oil change? The average household has two cars. If you did two $20 oil changes yourself you’d save another $40.
  • Any boys in the house? Save yourself a monthly $12 haircut and use the clippers to get the job done. That’s an accumulated savings of $36 per head.
  • Take advantage of those cell phone plans. Most cellular providers offer free long distance during certain hours. A land line call can run you a good $20 for that monthly call home to your family. For the next three months use your cell phone during those set hours and save $60.
  • Did you purchase mortgage insurance with your house? Guess what? If you have 20% equity or more in your home, whether it’s from paying your mortgage down or because property values have risen, you can cancel that thing. The average homeowner pays $45 per month. That will save you $135.

I bet there are many more areas that you can save in but see how easy it is to accumulate some extra money in a short amount of time? So grab your calculator and get creative. Challenge yourself to a debt free holiday season and come January you’ll rest easy knowing that the mailman won’t be delivering any extra bills in your mailbox.

For more WFMW go here.


Laura said...

Good Morning!
Thank you for some wonderful suggestions...I, like you, am always focusing on the immediate...and being frugal with what I have. There are so many creative ways to cut corners...and it is a wonderful ministry to share these with others!
Sweet blessings,

Mama Squirrel said...

Sigh...Gayle, I really like the concept, but I already don't buy lattes, new books, or most of the other things you mentioned. I guess I will have to think of some other ways to fill the holiday piggy bank.

Michele said...

It is amazing how little things add up! I would suggest saving your pennies and other change. You will be surprised how quickly it adds up.

Rita said...

We just started discussing the Christmas budget last night and I felt like it was waaaaay too early. I guess it's not too early if other families are starting to talk about it! We are also going to try to have all presents bought by Thanksgiving, so we're on an extra crunch. Thanks for the encouraging words!

Katy said...

Gayle - I would love to repost this on my site. I think a lot of friends would be able to gain some wisdom from this. I would credit you of course. Is this okay? -- Katy

Gayle said...


I'd be honored if you linked to it.


crittermom said...

Good ideas! Unfortunately, I can't apply a single one of those to myself.
1 - I already eat home-made lunches.
2 - I don't read. LOL! no time >.<
3 - Microfiber rags from the local dollar store.
4 - Coffee. Yuck!
5 - Hubs already does my oil changes.
6 - No boys. (Hubs gets his done from a coworker, free of charge.)
7 - Cell phone has a friends and family plan, no charge to the 10 numbers we call the most.
8 - Not homeowners.

I come across this same problem when I see a list of "things to make your grocery budget smaller." Oh well. Again, thanks for the great ideas for others!

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

Fabulous! Simply fabulous. This is a realistic portrayal of how to save in a short period of time. Bravo.

I am enjoying your blog. Stop by and visit me sometime over at Free 2 Be Frugal!

momma-lana said...

I saved all my Christmas money the first few months of this year and have done about sixty percent of the shopping already. I've been working the deals and have gotten alot of really nice gifts. Hubby lost his job May 31 and I am happy to say there will be Christmas thanks to the money I saved early in the year.

I have to tell you though, no coffee drinker will drink coffee only three days a week! I could cut lots of things from the budget before I cut out 4 days of coffee each week!!!

Melodie said...

Fantastic ideas! It's so helpful when one can see the actual figures like that. Thank you!