Sunday, December 20, 2009

Money for Christmas

Somehow, even in the years when I had next to no money, I've always managed to find enough for a Christmas that makes me happy. I tend to go overboard with presents for a few but I've never bothered with sending cards or having a Christmas party since there's never been any reason to do so - no one I know bothers with cards either and any parties tend to be either work-related or impromptu. So that's a saving there but for most people, eliminating the annual get-together or not sending the annual greeting is not an option. I also don't have or know any children - so I don't spend any money there either.
I do spend a lot on food - but then again, I really don't. I've never spent more than $60 at a time at the grocery store. What's my secret to avoiding the expensive Christmas grocery order? I buy it gradually through the year.
A lot of the traditional holiday items can be bought earlier in the year and stored. A freezer and a storage area are truly wonderful things. A few years ago, when I was really broke, I made due by buying all my items gradually, one thing every week. Somehow, an extra three or four dollars is a little easier to handle during the week than an extra hundred. A tin of nuts or a bottle of pickles bought in October, a box of chocolates when they go on sale in December or extra cranberries or pumpkin when the Thanksgiving sales are on isn't as hard to handle. I discovered that a turkey bought at one of the sales in July, when it goes for practically half of what it goes for now, tastes just as good as one bought at the last minute. Just freeze it and you're set. And just in case you're wondering about storing a turkey for that long, if your freezer's working fine, it will be OK. I've had them more than a year later and they were good.
If you have treats and chips left over from Halloween, don't eat them - freeze them - and have them during the holidays. Chips freeze really well. If you bought too many or received too many chocolates for Christmas, freeze them as well. It will be good for your diet and you'll have candy for next year (provided you don't raid the stash). Chocolate freezes beautifully - just don't put it in the refrigerator. For some reason, chocolate will turn white in the fridge but not the freezer. Chocolates stored in the freezer will look and taste as good as the day you put them in. I had proof of that the other night when I found a box of Ganong peanut clusters at the bottom of my freezer. They had to be in there since 2004 or 2005. They were delicious.
I don't know of these tips will help anyone but they worked for me.
Buy extra when you have the cash. When you need to, use up the stash.


  1. I start buying my Christmas presents in January and always have a freezer and storage area full of stuff. They're great resources!

  2. Wow!Some great ideas here.I did not know chocolate froze so well!!Thanks for sharing.:)~Sharon

  3. It's a rare year when I don't start shopping in January - stuff is just cheaper then and for the most part, I can buy stuff ahead of time for the people I buy for. Of course, if you have kids, this goes out the window since they change and grow so much through the year - clothes or toys that may suit them in January won't the following December. I think it's just a case of adapting the best way you can.