Why are we addicted to spending too much money at Christmas time? Is it the easy way out? Sorry to be confronting but I know some parents who prefer to buy their children expensive gifts to shut them up instead of taking the time to really connect with them.
As we enter a period of turmoil and financial uncertainty, my family is adopting the following lifestyle changes. We may not be short of a quid and neither are you but we feel that there is something empowering about not being a slave to consumerism. Here are our 16 tips. If you have some of your own please share.
- Buy a smaller/fuel efficient car. Aim for a car that spends less than 7L per 100km.
- Walk short distances instead of taking the car. I know many senior executives who are now commuting by bike. Read this great book: Simply Car Free
- At Christmas, involve your children in making gifts instead of buying them.
- Cook at home 6-7 days per week. It costs much less and is healthier for you. It costs an average of $10,000 per year to buy groceries. To eat out would cost you $30,000. Cooking at home is also a great way to bond with your family. (If you have trouble connecting with your family at the best of times. Here are 5 Awesome parenting tips)
- Take a packed lunch to work.
- Drink water instead of soft drink.
- Grow your own vegetable garden. More and more people are doing so. It saves you money and is healthier for you.
- Stay healthy. It can save you tons of money on doctor’s visits, hospital bills, and medicine over the long run. Prevention is cheaper than the cure. Eat healthily, exercise and relax. Simple and effective.
- Don’t buy clothing from designer brands. There are many local designers who sell clothes for a fraction of the price that are just as cutting edge. Fashion is transient and not worth the expense. Often we are paying big dollars just for the label. I’ve heard of garments sold for over $1,000 which costs as little as $1.50 to make in China. How do they justify that?
- When it comes to children’s clothing, select one special outfit from your favourite store and opt for hand-me-downs or scour the web for last season specials – online children’s clothes shopping is easy and so much cheaper.
- Limit use of mobile phone and especially text messaging. I’ve waste up to $5.00 for a conversation on text. Now I pick up the phone and call someone instead – costs me 14 cents!
- Save energy. Hang washing in the sun instead. Limit use of air conditioners and heaters to extreme weather conditions only.
- Don’t book expensive venues for Christmas parties, have them in the park or somewhere free, focus on enjoying the company of your friends, family and nature.
- Don’t sign up for expensive gym membership. Exercise outdoors with family and friends. I know a guy who only uses body weight for his exercises (push-ups, sit-ups, squats etc…) and he has an amazing physique!
- Wash you car at home. My family and I have fun doing it. It’s another great way to spend time together.
- Stop using credit cards. A lot us use a credit card for the convenience of not having to keep an eye on our budget. Manage your cash flow instead and save hundreds in interest.