Good times, on the cheap
Guess what? It’s still possible to have fun over summer without breaking the bank. It just takes a little restraint. For example, you could get a $5 mineral water for every second drink instead of a $15 glass of wine (your head will thank you the next day, too). Go on a beautiful BYO picnic with your mates instead of meeting at an expensive restaurant. Think twice about buying a new outfit just to wear to the staff Christmas party.
While you’re limiting your celebratory spend, why don’t you see if you can ditch a daily habit for the next few months to free up some cash for gift-buying? For example, instead of catching public transport to work, make the most of the warmer weather and walk or ride. Or bring lunch from home for a month. This could save you a couple of hundred bucks, which you can then put towards buying some scented soaps for mum and a Kris Kringle for a cousin.
Speaking of gift giving, you don’t need to go all out to show someone you appreciate them. In fact, the most heart-warming gifts are often handmade. Search how to make a macramé hanging basket and get crafty tying knots. Get creative in the kitchen and whip up batches of rocky road to give to the neighbours. Give your mum and dad a voucher for a day’s labour (or whatever you’re good at). You get the gist.
If you’ve got your heart set on buying real presents, then shop a little smarter. Hunt for bargains online – they do exist. Gently downgrade expectations – if your loved one has expensive tastes, hint at more affordable options instead. Set a budget per person (making sure you can comfortably stick to it) and rise to the challenge of shopping to that budget. It can be done. And don’t be afraid to talk to other members of the family about setting a spending limit – you can all but guarantee that everyone will be keen on the idea.
And remember, be clear about your bigger savings goals. This way, you can look beyond the silly season to what you’re saving for – so that if you do end up being a bit of a scrooge this year, then at least you’ve got a good reason for it!