Living a frugal lifestyle can become a bit discouraging after awhile. It can seem like all work and no fun–often for little progress. So, each month I take a look at 5 ways our family saved. I hope to encourage others to find small ways that they saved. Remember, frugal living is a marathon not a spring. Every little bit adds up!
5 Ways We Saved in December
1. Used Ebates to Book a Hotel
We traveled to Texas and Oklahoma this month in order to be with family for Christmas. In order to save some money on our hotel room, I first went through Ebates. Ebates is a website that will give you cash back for any online purchase made–you just have to go through their website first. So, go to Ebates, type the name of the store into their search bar (like Amazon, Expedia, Target, etc.), and then click on the link. You will receive cash back for the purchase you were going to make anyway. So easy!
(And, right now if you sign up for Ebates HERE, you’ll receive $10 cash back just for creating an account and making your first purchase. If you do any online shopping at all, Ebates is the way to go. I’ve earned over $250 in the past year.)
Amount Saved: $10
2. Enjoyed Free Holiday Entertainment
There are so many fun, free things to do as a family in December! This month we:
- Went to a local lights display
- Visited Montpelier on its free admission day for a holiday tour
- Enjoyed our town’s Christmas parade
- Hiked in several local and state parks
- Listened to Christmas stories read aloud at a local bookstore
- Went to a pajama story time at our public library
- Attended a play at my school (we got in free since I am a teacher)
Hooray for free entertainment!
Amount Saved: $40 (if we had spent $10 a week on entertainment)
3. Limited Presents
My husband and I have decided to intentionally limit the number of gifts that we give our children. We do this for a few reasons. First, we want them to understand that celebrating the birth of Christ, that standing in awe at the Incarnation, is the most important part of Christmas. Second, we hope to help our children learn to be content with what they have and not be always searching for better and more. Finally, we understand the limitations of our budget and don’t want to go in debt for Christmas presents.
So, we spent a total of $35 per child this year. That is significantly below the national average of $224 per child.
Amount Saved: $100 (I can’t fathom spending $224 per child, but $70 per child seems a more reasonable sum for a frugal person to pay. Since we spent half of that, I credited us with saving $100.)
4. Shared Meals at Restaurants
Since we were driving to Texas for Christmas, we spent a total of four days on the road (two there and two back). That means that we ate eight meals at restaurants. This could add up quickly! In order to save some money, my husband and I always share an entree. Since portions at restaurants are enormous, this works out nicely. Our children also share entrees. We typically only get one meal for the three of them to share.
(A side note: We usually have a picnic lunch each day we are traveling in the summer, but the weather was too cold to do this in the winter.)
Amount Saved: $80 (saving an average of $10 each meal)
5. Used Gift Cards for Starbucks
One of my favorite treats is a chai latte from Starbucks, but I don’t have them very often due to the price. Instead I happily drink tea (sometimes with a bit of milk and sugar!) at home. However, a few of my wonderful students gave me Starbucks gift cards for Christmas. My husband and I enjoyed stopping at a few Starbucks on the way to Texas and splurging on some drinks. Yum!
Amount Saved: $20
Total Saved: $250
What did you do this month to save money?
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