Freaky! How fast has this year flown!! I cannot believe it is already the first week of November and it is only 7 weeks until Christmas!!! Yowsers!!! So given the time pressure lately I have been putting a lot of thought into how to raise some extra cash to help pay for our Christmas. Not that our Christmas is particularly elaborate, usually it is a pretty simple roast chicken lunch at my house for my mum, sister, hubby, daughter and myself. We try to keep Christmas simple and low key. No pressure.
However, this year Miss Money is hankering after a Barbie Dream House and with $270 being the best price I can find on the internet, it is a big chunk of the Christmas budget. Given I have fond memories of my 1970s/early 80s Barbie Townhouse I would really like to get it for her. Also on the Christmas shopping list is a GPS. Let us just say the one place Mr Money and I fight is in the car, usually over directions and one of us not following them. Hopefully a GPS will resolve this problem, so this is the Christmas gift we want to buy for the whole family and any poor bugger that has to be trapped in the car with us 🙂 So with a quite expensive shopping list, this year I set about looking to raise some extra cash for Christmas, and this is how I did it.
(1) Converting Our Frequent Flyers – $350 raised
As part of our strategy to pay off our mortgage faster using our offset account (read about it here), we use out credit cards a lot, always paying off the balance in full :-). This means we had accumulated a fair few frequent flyer points (53,736 this year to be precise). Now if you follow the advice of all the frequent flyer gurus they say that points are best used for flight upgrades, however, we would have to save points for an age to be able to do that plus who wants to take a four year old in business class? Not me! So every year we choose to redeem our points in vouchers to help pay for Christmas. So this year we got 2 $100 JB HiFi vouchers which has paid for our marriage-saving GPS! And an extra $150 in Woolworths vouchers to help pay for the Christmas food bill. The cool thing is now with some of the vouchers, such as JB HiFi, they email them to you direct the same day! No more waiting! Yay!!! Vouchers might not be the most value way to use your points but they certainly work for us.
(2) Selling Things That We No Longer Needed – $440 raised
From a balance bike that was only ridden once, to Xbox games to kids clothes, below is a picture of only some of the things that I have sold and are no longer a part of my house.
I sold them all on a local parents facebook group for free! It was so easy I just uploaded the photos, gave each item a price, told them which suburb to pick it up from and hey presto I converted a tonne of stuff we no longer needed or wanted into cash! Sure it took a bit of effort but it was very worthwhile. The $440 raised pays for the $270 Barbie Dreamhouse and maybe Santa might even bring her a most revered Elsa doll as well! Not to mention after cleaning out all that stuff I have some space in my cupboards and can actually see what I own!!! Win-win! Besides, who keeps a portacot when they have a four year old? – Oh that would be me! – But not anymore it was sold for $40 – yay!
(3) Checking My Spending Leaks – $120 raised so far
The last 4 weeks I have been focusing on my spending leaks. A spending leak is something you spend money on regularly that you could do differently to save money. So in my case I used to buy my lunch and a hot chocolate the 3 days I work per week (sorry, I don’t drink coffee – crazy, I know). So I calculated this one habit was costing me approximately $15 per day or $45 per working week. Over the past 4 weeks I have been bringing my lunch to work at say $5 per day and drinking the free tea at work. That has saved me approximately $120 over the last four weeks and I hope to at least double that by Christmas. Such a simple change has been a great savings tool for me. It is amazing how making small, simple changes can really add up.
So that is how Christmas in the Money household will be paid for. Any excess cash will be used on maybe a few small extra festivities leading up to Christmas, but certainly not a photo with Santa as my daughter is terrified of him!! Good luck on your Christmas savings journey. It pays to start thinking about it now as before you know it Christmas day will be here 🙂
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