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Counting the Cost of Christmas

by Colleen P Moyne (Colmo) (follow)
I'm a freelance writer living in the beautiful river town of Mannum in SA, dreaming of the day I can retire from the 9-5 to write full time.
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Woman Tired from Shopping
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There is no point in telling you that Christmas is an expensive time Ė you already know that. But have you ever actually sat down and calculated the cost at the end of it all and vowed never to spend that much again? I do it every year.

I've worked out that the last couple of Christmases have costs me around a thousand dollars each. That includes the petrol costs for all the running around, the gifts for co-workers, the last-minute stocking-stuffers and the extra phone credit for all the calls. For someone on a part-time income, thatís a lot of money.

Money in Wallet
Image courtesy of wikimedia.com

This year, however, I've put the brakes on Christmas spending. I've had some unexpected bills and, unlike previous years when I've put them off until January or February, these ones couldn't wait.

So this year I decided to be smart. Instead of buying something large for each member of my family (three adult children and nine grandchildren) I've bought one really fun thing that the kids can all play with together (kinetic sand,) and for each family, a gift voucher to spend at the after-Christmas sales. They get enough gifts on the day, and it makes much more sense for the parents to shop at their leisure to buy something they really need at a greatly reduced cost. They get more for their money (or my money) and I donít have to scour the shops hoping to find something theyíll like. Everybody wins.

Money Bags Under Christmas Tree
Image courtesy of digitalart / Freedigitalphotos.net

I've also been smarter by starting a Christmas Club card at my local Foodland store. As it turned out, Iím not cooking Christmas dinner this year (yay!) so the money I've accumulated I get to spend stocking up my pantry.

For my work colleagues, I bought a beautiful set of Christmas pencils and put them in a mug on my desk. Every time someone came in I offered them a pencil. They loved it!

Money Bags Under Christmas Tree
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / Freedigitalphotos.net

When I add up how much I've spent this Christmas, itís half of what I've spent in previous years, everyone's happy and my bills are all paid. I've decided that from now on, Christmas is going to be all about shopping smarter and getting my priorities right. How about you?

#Save Money
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Enjoyed your article. I think it is important to look at the total cost (including petrol, phone calls etc) as you did.
I put money on a couple of Foodland Christmas Club cards through the year and found this very helpful in December. I will definitely be doing it again in 2015.
Great tips here!
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