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Karl and Heather's Journey:

Holidays on a Budget

After many months in Project Money, we have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing is an ‘easy’ month. School-related activities, ice skating, un-planned expenses and life in general keep us always on our financial toes. Adding in the holiday season and the stress that comes along with it is making late November and December particularly challenging.

Although we have cut out many activities and expenses throughout the year, we are celebrating Christmas…on a budget. Our last meeting with Coach Laura entailed mapping out a per-person gift spending cap and a pledge not to incur any new credit card debt. We’ve discussed how this year we will probably feel different than previous years, but what we are lacking in spending, we are making up for in creativity. Here are a few examples…we would love to hear about yours!

Dumpster Diving

Well not actually a dumpster, but next to a garbage bin at the ice rink. After a dozen or more years on the ice, pitching an old pair of rental skates seems an appropriate end. That is unless someone who is waiting out a two-hour practice notices them and decides to try their hand at being crafty! Combine silver spray paint, glitter, bells and lace, and voila – winter & holiday décor!

silvery decoration

Tiny Tree Shopping

When I was in my early twenties (and single), I used to decorate a real-life tumble weed from Texas with holiday lights and ornaments. The likelihood of one bounding down our street in Madison is about as likely as Heather even considering the idea today. We debated even buying a tree this year since we will be opening gifts elsewhere, but in the end we decided to go tiny tree shopping. Yes its needles feel a bit cactus-like, there is definitely a facing-the-wall-side and it needs a boost from a storage chest…but it’s going to be perfect!

christmas tree

Cashing in Points

We have steadfastly saved up Plenti points so that we could put them towards gasoline expenses when really needed. We will be traveling to see family for part of the holidays and have enough points for almost two complete fill-ups! Seems most major gas stations have some kind of loyalty program these days, so you should definitely check them out for yourself.

Enjoying Madison

There is no shortage of free/inexpensive and awesome holiday activities in which to partake right here at home. The Fantasy of Lights at Olin Park, Vilas Zoo Lights, University Avenue Lights or just going for adventures through neighborhoods never disappoint. Don’t forget to bring along some snacks for the ride and crank-up holiday tunes on a variety of radio stations.

Happy Holidays from Team Duncan! Hopefully some of our tips and tricks will payoff for you as well!


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