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. 

Monopoly money at ChristmasSo 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.

Gayle Bryant
Wife, homeschool mom of four, columnist and author of The Grocery Cart Challenge.


Photo Credit: HowardLake.


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