The hidden costs of Christmas tradition

I LOVE Christmas tradition – love it! Actually, sometimes I think I was raised by elves…

We have a long standing list of traditions that we do for Christmas, and up until a few years ago, I hadn’t actually considered the financial cost. I was very much in the feeling of Christmas and had no problems swiping my card here and there to keep the tradition alive. However, when that credit card statement arrived I had always spent more than I intended.

A few years back when I started my Christmas Club account I added our ‘tradition costs’ to it and the financial burden in January has been eased. It’s really easy to fall into a spending spiral when you want to ensure beautiful memories for your kids and for you. Of course there are ways to do Christmas without spending money, but there are something’s that I wouldn’t be without.

Here is a list of the ‘tradition costs’ for our family that I now add to the Christmas account.

Trip to city to see Santa, Christmas Windows & Parade

  • Parking/Public Transport – $30
  • Photos and Frame – $50
  • Yearly decoration each – $75
  • Sand painting activity – $30
  • Food and drink (we take some of our own for snacks but have a lunch or a dinner together) – $100

School holiday concert/activity/play

  • This year it’s Brickman – $100

Neighbourhood lights drive around

  • Fuel – $20
  • Christmas attire (hats/clothes etc…) – $50

Christmas Carols

  • Parking – $10
  • Food/Activities – $80

There is nearly $500 spent here over the last two weeks leading into Christmas Day. To have that as one hit out of the weekly spending plan or added to a credit card is costly. It makes sense to spread this out over a savings plan for the year, right? $10 a week is easier to handle than $500 in one hit.

You may spend more or less than this, everyone is different. It depends on what you earn and where you want to spend it. I’m clear that these are ‘wants’ for me each year and I’m responsible about where those funds come from.

What are your traditions? What are they costing you? Are you happy about that?

Read more of Michelle’s Christmas blogs here.

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