Greetings dearest readers, I am hoping the first day of December finds you still financially solvent. So far, you’ve had to dodge many money missiles, like Black Friday sales and festive season flyers and events. As you can see from my Quicken pie chart, I have not escaped the wrath of Christmas and winter shopping without a few scrapes and cuts.
Here is my spending for two weeks. I’ll cover some these expenses in more detail later but I made a couple of big purchases over the past few weeks. I’ve spent about $200 on Christmas shopping; $700 on winter tires; and about $400 on a winter coat, festive wear for parties, and clothing. It’s more than I usually spend on myself but I don’t anticipate needing to buy another winter coat and snowpants for a few years. I’ve also been averaging about $150 a week for entertainment spending which is higher than my usual $100 a week. I did plan for this and in anticipation of the holiday season, I did free up more money to go towards the higher costs of having a social life at this time of year.
My goal was not to go into debt this Christmas paying for parties, socializing, or presents. My monthly debt payments are down for November or December but I am happy if that’s the worst I can say about this time of year. Could I do Christmas for cheaper? Sure. Do I have to go to all the things I want to go to? Not really. But that’s not the point of Christmas for me – I just want to enjoy the holidays with my friends and family. There are many months to be miserly and I’ll be happy to get back to my more frugal financial ways come this January.
Life Under Construction:
So how’s everyone doing with Christmas spending? I am avoiding the malls this season and doing a lot of my shopping on Ebay. In the past, this has been difficult for me since I tend to be the Master of Last Minute Everything (I’m sure that’s a real thing). This year, I’ve planned ahead, avoided the crowds, and still saved myself some money even after shipping costs. I saved about $40 on my husband’s Christmas shopping just by not walking through the doors of a local shopping centre. I know Ebay isn’t a new concept and I’m sure this isn’t a revelation for many of my readers – but online shopping is really the way to go. Once the Christmas season is over, I’ll do a write up of my experiences and share them with you – Did everything arrive on time? Was the product represented accurately? How did they handle returns? There’s a learning curve with using Ebay but it can be worth it!
Winter in Canada means many things but here in Alberta, you better brace yourself. If you don’t have an emergency kit in your car that includes first aid supplies, candles, blankets and other associated survival gear – you could be at serious risk if your car breaks down at the wrong moment. Temperatures can drop dangerously below zero in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. And did I mention the snow? We’re on to our second blizzard warning of the season. You better be prepared.
Since I like being alive – and not losing extremities to frostbite – I am investing in all the necessary winter supplies required for safe travel. Recently, I purchased a set of four winter tires for about $700. I bought them on sale and saved about $100 but the more important priority was that they had a good safety rating.
Sometimes I feel comfortable buying something “on the cheap” but I am less inclined to do this with my only four points of contact with the road. A lot of people can argue quite convincingly that “it’s the driver that makes the difference” or that winter tires aren’t any better than summer tires but I am not picking up what they’re putting down.
My personal recommendation? Get winter tires. If you live somewhere that experiences lower temperatures but only gets a few inches of snow (I mean you, Vancouverites), you’ll still encounter ice and then occasional freak snow fall. You’ll feel a lot better on that icy bridge with a set of good tires to get you across.
That’s it for this week, my friends.