How To Shop Small This Christmas: November Budget Update

Do you really want to know how to shop small this Christmas? It’s easy, let me show you how.

Shop small this Christmas is our motto since we don’t need any more stuff in our house.

For the last six months, we’ve been selling clothes that no longer fit and anything that is a dust collector.

Gone are the days that Mrs. CBB and I buy gifts for each other, and if we do, it’s something we want or will eat.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve been through second-hand shops and have seen Christmas dust collectors.

It’s great for people who want to purchase these items for someone but end up back where they came from.

Today I want to talk about how to shop small this Christmas and buy or make something useable for a gift.

Frugal Christmas Gifts
How To Shop Small For Christmas and our November Budget Update

Shop Small For Christmas WIth A Budget

Last year, I offered four free printables and a blog post about setting up a Christmas budget.

Money seems to flow out of their bank account or onto a credit card for many shoppers.

It makes no sense to go into debt for the Christmas holidays financially.

T’s SO easy to say that Johnny would love this gift even though I can’t afford it.

But then you buy it for him.

So, if you haven’t started a Christmas Budget for 2022, I’ve given you the tools to do so with a budget binder printable.

Christmas Dusters Are A Waste Of Money

Please don’t waste your money on Christmas dusters, statues, or Christmas items that collect dust.

As mentioned above, anyone who shops second-hand can tell you the store is loaded with dusters this time of year.

I know they may be meaningful to you, but the other person might not care so much but smile and thank you.

After New Year’s, when clean-up begins, you may find that Christmas duster back at the second-hand shop or for sale on Facebook Marketplace.

It’s far easier to ask who you may be buying a gift for in the family for a Christmas list.

Shop Small This Christmas And Ask For A Christmas List

Your family may all be meeting up for the holidays, and of course, you’d like to buy them Christmas gifts.

Don’t play a guessing game when buying for young kids or adults; ask for a Christmas list.

I call smart Christmas shopping instead of spending money on something nobody wants.

For example, our family members shop small for Christmas with a $50 budget for the adults.

Instead of sending us money for gifts, she buys our nieces gifts with the money she would have given us.

We always ask for a Christmas list because we budget for Christmas all year and New Year.

Not many people in our circle buy these days, which keeps the costs low.

Should Spouses Buy Each Other Christmas Gifts?

Christmas Gifts Under The Tree

No matter what, this is what Mrs. CBB and I both do now since we don’t need anything.

I know there are some of you reading this thinking that it is cold, but it’s not because it’s for our son.

If there is something we need and it’s on sale throughout the year, we buy it because we need it.

However, we did save money for our son to buy mommy and daddy a Christmas gift to unwrap.

That makes our son feel part of the shopping process and excited when his parents open his gifts.

We allow him to spend up to $20 on a gift for mom and dad, and we write him a small Christmas list.

If Santa exists, how come he doesn’t want your Christmas list too?

Yes, that’s what he asked us, and in a way, he’s right, although we could say Santa stops for the kids.

Christmas Shopping On Boxing Day For After Sales

Other people may wait until the deeply discounted sales after Christmas to shop.

Both positives and negatives come with after-sales from the holidays on Boxing Day.

  • Use a gift card you were given for a gift, but don’t rush to blow on after sales if you don’t need something.
  • Shop small for Christmas and spend more after the holidays are over and you could spend even more.
  • Keep any Christmas money or gift cards and use them when you really need them.

After the holidays, there’s some adrenaline rush, especially returning items to get cashback.

Almost all stores won’t consider returns on Boxing Day, and that’s because there are too many.

What does that tell you?

You know it happens, which is why I’m telling you to shop small this Christmas.

If you don’t know what someone might like, opt for a gift card with candies or a chocolate box.

You can bet they’d rather have that than Santa who winds up at the back and sings or tea towels.

Shop Small This Christmas With Rewards Points

Spend Your Shoppers Optimum Rewards Points
Spend Your Shoppers Optimum Rewards Points

So, our son wants a new Xbox, video games, books, Osmo and clothing for Christmas.

If you are not taking advantage of all the ways, you can earn cash online and rewards points you’re missing.

On my Rewards, Discounts and Savings page, you’ll find almost every Canadian ways to earn from home.

That’s what he wrote to Santa, who was taking lists through Canada Post again this year.

We had our Christmas list in early so Santa could watch whether he was good or bad.

Eventually, he will learn there is no Santa like every other adult, and that’s ok.

It’s the Peace, Love and Joy of the season that matters the most, and you’re with family.

Spending Our PC Optimum Rewards Points

Our friend works at Shoppers Drug Mart (SDM), and for months now, I have had him looking out for the Xbox.

Related: How To Earn PC Optimum Points Fast

The SDM stores may or may not get the same electronics, and if they do, there could only be one or two.

Could you imagine our excitement when he came up to us and said he had an XBOX for us if we still wanted it?

Of course, we said yes, but the best part was Super Redemption Day where your points mean more money.

If you haven’t read my blog post about how many millions of P.C. Optimum Points you’d understand.

When I wrote the blog post, we were at 4 million, but now we were moving into 6.5 million P.C. Optimum points.

We never found the need to use them and wanted to wait to get things we needed rather than enjoyed.

Grocery Shopping Free For A Year

Another option was to use our points for a free year of groceries from Zehrs or No Frills in our area.

In total, we used 270,000 rewards points and paid around $50 to 60 dollars. (I don’t have my receipts in front of me at the moment).

That purchase put us under the six million mark, and guess what? We’re right back over again.

We only shop on 20x the points days on items we need already on sale. That’s our trick.

While at Marshall’s, we found him a new hoodie and one for his cousin, who likes Air Jordan.

His list stated he wanted an Xbox game and a PS4 game to pick up from Santa.

Stocking Stuffers Don’t Have To Cost A Fortune

As for his stocking, we will go to the Dollar store to look for some new books and sensory toys he may like.

A Christmas stocking without chocolate means the stocking is not finished, so definitely an Aero or Kit Kat bar.

Shop Local or Farmers Markets

Christmas Wreathe
A beautiful yet straightforward wreathe on a door.

The past two years have been hard on local businesses from Covid-19 and need as much help as they can.

Watching businesses suffer is heartbreaking so even a drink or two or maybe breakfast might help.

Homemade jams, jellies, candies and other sweets are a fantastic gift for the person who has everything.

If your family or friend has a green thumb, perhaps buy some flowers from a local floral shop.

Support your community, spend your money at a restaurant your friend loves, and buy a gift card.

If your buddy likes their beer, there’s nothing better than a gift card to the Beer Store.

I know the Beer Store is not a small local shop, but it’s just an example gift card idea.

Oranges are Lucky

The Theory Around Oranges For Christmas
The Theory Around Oranges For Christmas

His teacher sent each child home with a clementine last week, which I thought was beautiful.

I also think his teacher wanted to share what she knew about giving oranges for Christmas.

Perhaps one of the more unique theories behind the orange stocking stuffer tradition is ancient Chinese and other Asian customs and beliefs.

You see, the orange has been a symbol of good fortune and luck for centuries. During the Chinese New Year celebration, which is very close to Christmas festivities every year, oranges (and tangerines) are often used as decorations and exchanged among friends and family. – The Theories Behind Oranges as Stocking Stuffers For Christmas.

Enjoy Christmas Shopping

You probably know that you have a Christmas budget that you should stick to or do your best.

I hope you ask family for a Christmas list and if you’re buying for friends, you know what they like.

Gift Giving Ideas For Shopping Small This Christmas

Frequently buying gifts for people close to you is easy because you know them well.

Kids are different because they like a toy one minute, and the next, it’s something else.

Unless you are super posh with gift cards and spend $5 on a card, shop at the Dollar Store.

They end up in the garbage afterwards so that I wouldn’t put too much money into a Christmas card.

Below Are Ideas We Use To Shop Small This Christmas

  • We bought a bottle of Limoncello for friends who love it after dinner.
  • Our realtor gave us a small box of chocolate that came pre-wrapped with a card.
  • For the coffee fan a gift card is great or an insulated travel mug so they can bring coffee from home. Alternatively, slip a coffee shop gift card in the mug as an extra surprise.
  • Music lovers may want a specific CD
  • A co-worker might love Yankee Candles that you learned through chatting
  • Everyone loves boxes of homemade cookies and treats (depends on diet) but lots of options.
  • Lottery gift card for the player in the family waiting to hit it rich
  • Homemade slippers for the family if you knit
  • Clothing for a child if a parent lets you know but add something extra like chocolates and a book.

Christmas Expenses You Control

The options are endless, so think about your approach for Christmas and if you didn’t hit the mark in 2021, start saving for 2022.

Never think that you have to spend more than you have on a gift because someone did for you.

I know this happens in many households and why holiday debt at Christmas can hurt come January.

P.S. Shopping throughout the year is excellent provided you know who you are buying for and what they like.

Support Small Local Businesses

One last thing, if you can support your local homeless community with small gifts, blankets, pillows etc., please do. These small gifts for Christmas will mean the world to them.

Pay It Forward To Strangers

Oh, and pay it forward if you’re at a drive-thru. You could pay for an entire meal for the car behind or just the beverages.

The feeling I get when someone does that for us feels so good.

Happy Christmas, everyone!

Discussion: What are your tips or thoughts on this blog post?

Please leave me your comments below. Now to our November Budget Update for 2021 and the three remaining 2021 Monthly Budget Challengers.

If you want to join the 2022 Monthly Budget Challenge, one week is left to enter.

CBB Family Income Report For November 2021

Total Net Income, Savings and Expenses for our November 2021 Budget.
Total Net Income, Savings and Expenses for our November 2021 Budget.

Where did the money go in November?

Christmas duh!! Haha, I’d say a good chunk of the money went to Christmas, but we saved for it.

I believe we went over the Christmas budget this year, so we will evaluate that for 2022 to see whether we need to save more.

Since Mrs. CBB is allergic to Linalool, she buys toothpaste without costing her $50 a tube.

I know that’s what I said, but she has no choice. This month she bought $160 worth from her dentist.

Also, she bought a bottle of face wash at the spa she goes to for laser hair removal for $160.

Our grocery shopping list has been higher again for Christmas since we are hosting again this year.

Last year we bought way too much food and alcohol thinking we’d have guests might pop around. \

No one did so I was left to drink it all and I sure had fun doing it.

That’s when I said to Mrs. CBB in 2021 that we are budgeting for Christmas, including the meal.

I don’t want to see tonnes of leftovers, and I scaled down the alcohol from $450 to $150.

Family Budget Percentages For November

Family Household expenses for November 2021 Canadian Budget Binder
Family Household expenses for November 2021 Canadian Budget Binder

Our savings of include investments as well as any savings for this month based on the net income of $12,867.00

Equally important is that we save money on our projected expenses for upcoming expenses in the coming months, such as Christmas.

All categories took 100% of our income, which accounted for November 2021.

This type of budget is our favourite and is called a zero-based budget.

If you’re interested in using the same budget as us you can about the zero-based budget and see if it fits your lifestyle.

Monthly Home Budget Expenses

Net Income, Savings and expenses for November 2021 Canadian Budget Binder
Net Income, Savings and expenses for November 2021 Canadian Budget Binder

Below is a breakdown of our expenses which helps us understand where our money goes.

  • Chequing– This is the bank account where all of our debt gets paid from. We use Simplii Financial, TD Canada Trust, and Tangerine Bank. Join Simplii Financial today!  Read more about some of the best Canadian online virtual banks.
  • Emergency Savings Account– This is a high-interest savings account.
  • Regular Savings Account– This is a savings account that holds our projected expenses.
  • Monthly Budgeted Total: $6570.80
  • Monthly Net Income Total: $12,867.00
  • (Check out our Ultimate Grocery Guide to see where our grocery money goes)
  • Projected Expenses: These are expenses we know we will pay for throughout the year = $852.91
  • Total Expenses Paid Out: $6457.53
  • Total Expenses Paid Out: Calculated is $12,867.00 (total net monthly income) – $852.91 (projected expenses) – 5,556.00 (Savings to emergency fund) = $12,867.00
  • Actual Cash Savings going into Emergency Savings: Calculated is $ 12,867.00 (total monthly net income) – $6457.53 (actual expenses paid out for the month) – $852.91 (projected expenses) = $5,556.56

Estimated Budget And Actual Budget

Below you will see two tables: our monthly Budget and our actual Budget.

This budget represents two adults and our 7-year-old son.

Budget Colour Key: It is a projected expense if highlighted in blue.   

Since May 2014, we’ve been mortgage-free and redirecting our money to investments and renovations.

When creating your monthly budget, try to eliminate the feeling of comparing your financial numbers as every situation is unique.

Spending less than we earn and budgeting has been the easiest way to pay down debt and save money.

One last thing, situations change, and sometimes we spend less or spend more.

Monthly Budgeted Amounts November 2021

The Money We Budget For Each Month in hopes of staying on track.
The Money We Budget For Each Month

Actual Budget Results For November 2021

How much money we spent in November 2021 with our monthly budget.
How much money do we spend in November based on our budget
Budget Challenge 2021
Canadian Budget Binder 2021 Budget Challenge

We are in the final leg of the year-long monthly budget challenge for 2021 with three contributors.

I want to thank them for their hard work and dedication to their budget.

As mentioned, the 2022 Budget Challenge has been open for a short time now, so if you want in, please message me.

Monthly Budget #2

This year has been challenging for me but I hope next years turns out better.

The good news is that I accepted a new job, and I swear I use all my brainpower for it and nothing for my personal life.

However, I never used to be like this, but they have to recur this year.

I forgot to pay my power bill on time three times this year and missed paying my credit card bill 2x – both resulting in a 25 dollar fee. Ugh.

Definitely this is something I need to work on next year.

I hate auto pay because many companies around here will overcharge you, and then you have to fight to get reimbursed, but maybe that’s the better route at this point!

My boyfriend has put in his notice at work which means less money until he finds a new job, but he’s not planning on looking until March.

He’s had a pretty tough job that didn’t allow for time off, so he’s going to try to relax for a bit.

Not knowing how long it will take him to get employed, I know we have to be tight with money next year.

This year I would say I did well with groceries and pet food – always trying to get them on sale.

Thankfully, I did save money on gas as I travelled less for work – sometimes in general, and sometimes because of lockdowns.

My downsides were again late fees and fast food. I’m trying to work on fast food, but it is my downfall.

I hate cooking and need to make this a priority – it always seems I’m rushing out at the last second in the morning, and even when I have leftovers, my boyfriend eats them and says he gave me an excuse to eat out (which I kind of love/hate).

Goals: try to watch my bills more closely about when they are due, eat out less, use my gym membership more or cancel it.

There’s no sense paying for what I’m not using.

The only thing outside of the norm this past month was some training I paid for that I was interested in that work wouldn’t fund, buying my tires (though I got them on sale and paid about $200 less than expected), and I got my annual cashback from my credit card – $16.

I used to get more but switched to using my Airmiles credit card more, and I get way more benefit from that one than I do my Visa.

Anyways, happy holidays everyone.

Monthly Budget #4

Here is the November budget.

I got deployed to a different position in the hospital (vaccination), although I got to keep my wage. This job should be good until March 2022.

I will have to go back to housekeeping after this job is ccompleted for 19 dollars/ hour. Currently I’m working as much overtime as I can to put away 1.5 of my wages into savings.

I’m sore all over, but that’s what I can do to make more income.

Unfortunately, my son doesn’t have a job still. Starting in New Year, he will go to trade school, which seems like the best option for him.

The good news is that my daughter will start paying rent 250 dollars and 90 dollars for her cell bill by December 1st.

My job location has changed, which means I’m going through more gas than average.

I know I’m still doing wrong with takeout, but I will try very hard in 2022 to change that.

Also, I met with a financial advisor as I’m checking things out for retirement.

November Monthly Budget Update #4
November Monthly Budget Update #4
November Monthly Budget Update #4 part 2
November Monthly Budget Update #4 Part 2

Monthly Budget #5

Unfortunately, this budget challenger sent me the wrong budget, so I cannot post it.

The End

Thanks for reading, and I will see you back in January for our December 2021 Budget and Budget Challenge Updates.

Please consider sharing it on social media, Pinterest, or give it a LIKE if you like this post.

Take care,


The post How To Shop Small This Christmas: November Budget Update appeared first on Canadian Budget Binder.

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