I named my blog Saving without Scrimping because it was important to me that I repay my debts and save money without feeling like I didn’t have room to breathe. I’m not always successful but even when I feel constricted I look at my quality of life and know that I’m truly fortunate.
Christmas is difficult because even with being crafty and focusing on ways to not overspend there are loads of areas that I didn’t anticipate. It’s not even the end of November and I will be participating in 6 Christmas parties/dinners where we will be bringing hostess gifts and a dish. This does not include the family dinners and the possibility of us hosting a joint family affair.
I will crunch numbers and attempt to stay as close to the budget as possible but there is a loophole in my budget that I will use. I currently allocate 3% of my income toward my debt repayment. This 3% is not included in the budget as if I saw that figure every week when I reconcile I’d be rather sad and may even be tempted to lower the amount to afford frivolous items.
For the remainder of November and into December I’m going to lower that amount to 1.5%. I’m not going to adjust my budget as I do really want to keep my spending as close to the budgeted amounts as possible but I will not be upset when the inevitable overspending occurs.
My red flag was when I reconciled this week and I’ve already spent my November budget! The biggest culprit: Christmas gifts! I’ve been quite good at sticking to my gift list but the problem is that I didn’t anticipate how much it would cost. I was feeling quite smug as I had anticipated my gift budget and began saving for it in October. Turns out that my budget wasn’t nearly enough. I’ve already overspent and I still have 3 more people to purchase items for plus groceries for some of the homemade treats.
The silver lining is that for the first time I can see why Christmas and New Year’s always sends me into the red. I overspend not because I’m too generous or people have unreasonable wish lists but because I forget the number of events I attend and don’t properly budget for presents.