Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Time!!

Merry Christmas my lovely friends and followers!!

The jobs are all done, the Christmas treats are all made, the food all prepped for tomorrow's family lunch, pancakes are made and ready for our Christmas breakfast to be had once the boys have excitedly torn into their presents....and Santa seems to have visited while I was working away in the kitchen.

Don't you just love Christmas?! I certainly do!

Have a wonderful day sharing Christmas with your loved ones,

Eat, Drink and Be Very Merry!


MrsW xx

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Making Christmas Easier On The Pocket

As I wrapped some of the boys presents last night my thoughts trailed back to a comment on facebook that I saw saying "why do bills have to come in December?!" and I thought I must post how we manage our Christmas funds so it doesn't hit the pocket as hard. For some families December is a real struggle and once upon a time it was for us as well.  I haven't shared a frugal post in a while so why not start with this one? :)

We started this way of managing Christmas when Master 7 was a baby and we had gone through a few Christmas's as a family and our credit card got hammered every year, leaving us with a lovely Christmas day but when they fun was over we had this massive debt added to the card to somehow take care of.....that was not what a young family needed, so it was time to take some action.

We worked out that the biggest financial hurdles of Christmas were buying presents and special Christmas food. So we started this system involving two key items - saving for presents throughout the year and paying our December utility bills off over the course of the year to give us extra money in December for food and last minute Christmas items. We did this by these two systems:

First we took a figure that we thought was realistic for Christmas presents, I think we started with around $500 back then although it is a bit higher now...
We divided this into 12months to get a monthly figure, then to our budget we add this monthly figure. When we first started doing this we opened a new account just for this Christmas fund. So every month we squirrel away this amount into the Christmas account and leave it be. This builds up over the year and means coming close to Christmas time I know what funds are set aside for when the sales start. I'm not one for buying in the middle of the year and putting things away as  I prefer to wait until closer to December to start organising what I am getting for everyone as tastes can change in the course of half a year.
This can be changed into fortnightly or weekly amounts also depending on your pay cycle. The important part is to work out a little bit from each pay and put it away somewhere it can be left to build up for the end of the year.

The next step we took which proved a major help was organising the December bills for Power, Phone/Broadband and Cell Phone to be paid over the course of the year. Come December you will be in credit enough to cover the bill meaning you have the amounts you normally pay monthly free to use for Christmas - for us that was food :)
We worked out what we would pay as an average for each month by adding the previous 12months of bills together and dividing by 12.  With this monthly figure we divided that into a further 12months to break it down into a small monthly amount to build a credit over the year and we changed our budget to reflect this. No matter what the bill came in month to month we paid this set figure.  This has always meant by the time you get to December the credit covers the bill and you also get to take advantage of the early payment discounts as well.

As a side note we have found over the years of doing this for power the credit you build up over the warmer months at the start of the year covers the larger bills in Winter and once winter is over the credit starts building up for Christmas, so you aren't playing catch up on your winter bills either.

This system has worked well for us over a number of years now and a stress free Christmas is the best Christmas :) I recommend annually or every couple of years you review the figures to make sure they are still working of you although you should include any increases in the utility bills when the happen.

This is our magical Santa visit from 2011 :)

Just remember a budget is your most important tool for managing your money and avoiding/paying off debt. I hope this may help in some way if you are struggling to make ends meet at Christmas time.

MrsW xx

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

School's out for Summer!

I cannot believe that this year is already over for the boys at school. It has gone so fast! It has been a lovely first day of the summer school holidays today just hanging out with my boys, we all wish MrW could have been here with us but unfortunately he is working hard until Christmas Eve before he will get a well earned couple of weeks off. The weather isn't the nicest but it has meant we have just chilled out and not been tempted to go anywhere. So for now we are counting down to Christmas!!!

It has been a super busy last couple of months, and time...well it just ran away on us! I finished my Semester 2 exam and assignments passing with great marks (phew!) and now in the middle of Semester 3 with my next assignment due in mid Jan so I will continue over the holidays to chip away at the work for the paper I am doing.

In November I completed my first Triathlon and I have my next this Sunday in which I am feeling prepped and ready to race :) MrW and I have also competed in several cycling races over the past month including our favourite ride around Lake Taupo - 160km for MrW and half the lake for me at 73km with great results :)  We have our next cycling event a few weeks after Christmas, so after the Triathlon this weekend I will have a quiet week to recover and then another couple of harder training weeks before the event. Luckily it's a local ride so we don't have to travel to far.

Here are a few snaps of me completing the triathlon :) It was perfect weather and I came in at 1hr 26mins for the Sprint Distance (500m Swim, 20km Ride, 5km Run). My goal for Sunday is to come in 6mins faster.....I have been training hard ;) Fingers crossed!

I'm the one in front of these three :)
Off on the ride

I had so much fun!

We hope to go camping over the holidays for a few days on the lawn of a friends bach by the beach, otherwise we will be spending the holidays doing day trips and getting the long awaited jobs completed around here. The boys are tired from their year at school and so we are looking forward to a quiet holiday to recharge the batteries.

Well I can smell my lemon cake cooking so it must be nearly done, I thought I would just pop on and say Hi! now the holidays are here I am hoping I may find a few minutes here and there to write a always I have so many recipes floating in my head that I must share with you all.

What have you been up to?

Until next time,

MrsW xx
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...