My Vicky Challenge last week was a bit quiet. I didn't have any major bargains at all!
I wrote in my savings book though that I had $100 in savings from packed lunches and $300 in the painting I did for the week. So that is $400 I recorded.
Luckily I have other stuff to talk about or that would be the most dismal blog post ever!
My savings subject this week is "Revisiting Christmas" as Vicky would say. Like anything else we can go along doing the same things for years and years but a revisit or review can be a very good idea.
Christmas can be tricky because many things are family traditions and any change will cause a revolt.
But Christmas should be wonderful and not a nightmare and certainly not something that goes on the credit card or ruins your budget.
A review is good.
Hopeful the Christmas Challenge has helped you get ahead and make lots of things towards your gift giving. And we still have quite a bit of time yet. In October I begin making Christmas cakes and so now is a good time to think about what I am, and maybe are not going to do, this year.
Making cakes in October is fantastic as they improve with age and then there is less cooking to do in December. A whole heap of gifts are made.
Last year I had a bit of a review. Dried fruit is fairly expensive and this cake does cost quite a bit to make. I was making four double batches. So last year I cut it right down. I made them for Andy and for Dad and a set of mini cakes in Texas Muffin trays. I individually wrapped those. This was a lot less that usual.
(The recipe for this cake is here. )
I realised I could give a giant round of shortbread (which looks and tastes really good!) for a lot, lot less.
Also my coconut ice is much less expensive and the kind of thing you only need a small amount of as it is so rich. So small slabs of that seem big!
A review of the food you buy and what you cook can really be a good idea! Over the years prices change! The number of people we are feeding and giving to can change a lot as well. The choices are more also. Once we could buy a turkey. Now we can buy turkey in all sorts of cuts and sizes and the same goes for most of the foods we buy.
The same applies to food we might be contributing to an event or going to someone else's home. This used to be a bring trap for us. Generous and delicious doesn't have to me it cost a fortune. Andy used to contribute trays of seafood to a family event costing him a fortune. Some of my ideas presented he thought we great i.e. giant potato salad, tray of baked veggies, spectacular layered trifle dessert, beautifully presented Pavlova with berries... all which came out at $10 and under versus the $150 he was spending!
My revisit so far this year has had me decide to change my wrapping paper theme. I love gifts to look really nice. Over the years I have had all kinds of themes. One year I had white and sparkles. Another year I had brown paper and rustic. Another was pale blue and silver. One year I did silver and pink.
This years theme is "everything that is left over from all the other themes!"
Yes there will be a sea of differently wrapped gifts. They will still look nice. I have plenty of paper and ribbons to use up!
Another is I am not buying any decorations! No matter how gorgeous they are! The last couple of years I have used things I have found to decorate with, apart from my collection from over the years.
I picked up pinecones at the farm and sprayed them and I collected deer antlers as well which looked lovely.
The year before I decorated my parcels with gum nuts I collected. This looked nice and was basically free (except for some glitter)
Laine's words have always stayed with me. It is more important to stay within your budget than to give fancy gifts. She was clear on that. I think of it often. In her story she was in a difficult situation where she needed a gift and only had $3 left (from memory I think it was $3!) and she made it work!
Table settings and floral decorations can also be things you have. Bowls of glittery gun nuts would be beautiful! One year I used bottle brush (This is bright red for the US and UK ladies) and I have used deer antlers, pine cones and garden flowers. You can also use decorations you have. I saw a table settling that was a row of little glittery houses and twinkly lights. It was the ladies collection from over the years and instead of keeping it on a shelf she made it into the table feature. Beautiful!
A review of the gift list is another. There could be a few on the chopping block. I am feeling brutal and think if I have had no acknowledgement or thanks in two years from gift giving then I would rather give to charity.
And charity is another one! A couple of years ago we had a serious review about this. Many are not in fact charities at all. When the CEO of a charity is driving a car that costs more than your house then I think you can smell a rat. We decided to cut out the middle man and found ways to give that we know everything is going to someone who really badly needs it. We feel know we are doing a lot more good.
Could we give a family gift rather than individual ones? Are there expensive parts of Christmas that we can change in some way?
My childhood memories of Christmas are beautiful! The best things to me were... the anticipation! The fact that Father Christmas (Pa) repainted the swing set every Christmas Eve. The carols and lights on the houses and sitting under the Christmas tree.
Chloe and Lucy tell me their best memories were the drives we took to see the lights and eating supper under the twinkly tree.
mmm all these highlights were basically free stuff!
Lets have the best Christmas ever and do it in such a way that come January 1st we are starting a new year without any kind of burden from December spending.
How did your Vicky challenge go? (Or how did your savings go last week?)
What are your savings tips for December? What areas do you feel cost you too much and how could you change these?
One thing I know for certain... last minute shopping is the worst! When we are in a hurry and desperate we are more likely to pay something we wouldn't normally consider. So that is one reason I do everything I can early.
Potentially a revisit here could be a big saver. I hope so!
Have a good new week! xxx
The little birds...
If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.
Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.