Smart Reasons to Save, Use and Invest Money

Controlling Christmas Costs

How I Controlled Christmas Costs in the Past

Christmas Presents
Christmas Presents

I’m constantly looking out for value in Christmas Gifts.  For example, my wife is a big book enthusiast, so whenever I see certain authors in the Bargain Bins, I snatch them up!  Some of her favorite authors are Stephen King, Grisham, Ken Follet and others…

Sometimes, I would cheat by going to a used book store and look for volumes that are in pristine condition.  I once bought a hardback book for $1 at one thrift shop.  After examining the book for any obvious marks or dog-eared pages, I bought it.  I wrapped up my used-but-new-looking Christmas Present, and gave it to my wife and she was none the wiser.  Later I told her what I did, and she was honestly impressed (or understood that we didn’t have much money back then).

Now I often buy first editions of her favorite authors on eBay.  They are not $1, but we now have a bit more money to spend on such things.  The shipping on such purchases is very reasonable, and currently (although this may change soon) there is no sales tax on item bought online (and in particular eBay) unless the buy and seller is in the same state (at least that’s the way it is in my state).

As a bachelor, I often got by at Christmas with only spending $100 on Christmas presents.  And of that $100, fifty of it was for my younger sister as a big surprise (back then the money meant more to her than it does now).  I use to get various size boxes and put the money in the boxes hidden so she had to search for it, or fight to get it out of the package.  It was a fun time and something that we both looked forward to, but now since she’s an adult, that has fell by the wayside.

How I control Christmas Costs now

Now my methods are simplified!  All I do is create a budget of how much I’m going to spend, and then try to stick to it.  If we go over, then I try to make up for it by reducing my cost for other things over the following months until I hit my initial budget numbers.  Unfortunately this happens a lot of the time…

We usually spend a bit over $1,000 now, but a lot of that reason is because we have kids!  Kids grow up quickly, and Christmas is like magic for them, so we try to make the best of it.

How I would like to Control Christmas Costs in the Future

This might not be a surprise to my regular readers, but I would like to have money invested in dividend stocks or bonds that would provide dividends or interest money at certain intervals.  This would be my Christmas Dividend Fund and I would use that money for Christmas present purchases.  Sometimes I wonder if I should have called this blog moneyreasonsfordividends.com (lol).

I’ve had the dream of a Christmas Fund that would pay for my Christmas gift purchases, even since I was in college.  I need to start this now instead of later if I ever expect to have such a thing.

Control your cost today to enable you to have more elaborate Christmas experiences and gifts in the future!
MR

17 Responses to Controlling Christmas Costs

  1. I keep my holiday spending in check by only exchanging presents with a short list of people. I get presents for my immediate family. Being single this year saves me a few bucks too!

    • I have friends that spend thousands… but not me. Although if I were to track my spending, it has slowly increased over the years, but then again so has inflation :)

      Sounds like a smart way to go about it!

  2. Holiday spending around my family tends to be pretty fixed for everyone. With no kids, all adults, it’s become more of a pass the gift card around, than actual gift buying. Makes the holidays really easy.

  3. My budget is set by my cash back rewards accumulated for the year plus the loose change I save all year.

    That way, I never feel any pain paying for presents!

    • A lot! I figure around at least $40,000 and preferable $50,000. The numbers are high because of the taxes that would need to be paid on the dividends. But the beauty of dividends is even if you have only $10,000 saved, that will prevent that money from coming out of earned income.

      Losing earned income is gone forever. Using money from dividends will be replenished because I don’t sell any stock (of course I need quality dividend stocks too).

    • I was disappointed that my son never got really excited. He enjoyed his presents but slept in Christmas Day and isn’t in a hurry like I was!

      My daughter is better at getting excited though… Hopefully your son gets excited!

  4. We spend a lot on Christmas too. It’s usually a time we can get something for my mother in law’s house without her fighting us over it.

    I keep my spending in check most of the year. Christmas is when we buy the things we’ve been holding out on all year long. If we still want it by then, then it’s okay to buy.

    • I always want to do that but whimp out when it comes time to buy. I use to spend hours looking in a store determined to buy something, only to walk out empty handed because I couldn’t find what I considered a “deal”.

  5. I like a Christmas Fund too, but I just haven’t gotten around to starting one! Must be my avoidance of the whole holiday until around December. ;) If I can keep expenses down to the “usual” number, then I’m doing good. Any less than that, and I’m doing great!