Club Thrifty’s Who Sabotages Your Christmas Budget? made me realize just how much money we save by being moderately anti-social.
Holly and her readers listed various ways they’ve gotten stuck feeling like they had to give a gift: friends, extended family, neighbors, coworkers, Secret Santas, holiday parties, etc. Yowza.
Our relatively secluded life means that we don’t deal with any of that. Working from home, I don’t have to deal with coworkers or Secret Santas. Tim, of course, is in the same boat since he’s on disability.
This means we also don’t have to attend company holiday parties, which often comes with the obligation to bring something (as I understand it). And no one we know throws holiday parties.
In fact, we don’t have a lot of friends. That sounds a lot sad, but really it’ss just that we don’t go out much. Especially now that we don’t play Magic. And all of our Magic friends spend most evenings playing. We do meet a couple for a weekly trivia night, but that’s about the most personal interaction we get. I swear, it’s really not as sad as it sounds.
None of the above throw holiday parties.
Our neighborhood isn’t very, well, neighborly. I’ve talked to two neighbors in our three years here. One came by trick or treating with her toddler. The other is a contractor, and we wanted his feedback. And the first neighbor moved away.
And even if you did give gifts to neighbors, I’d think holiday cookies are really the most you need to do. Those don’t really cost all that much, other than time.
As for relatives, Tim and I aren’t really in touch with extended family. We buy for ourselves, Marc, Nadine and my mom. We try to set a reasonable limit each year for ourselves, and we do a $25 Christmas with the in-laws. As I’ve mentioned in the past, we spend a little more on my mom because she loves dem fresh pears.
And if I do buy anything for my aunt and uncle (they keep sending me birthday checks), then I’ll use our overwhelming Home Depot gift card balance to get a $25 GC. They love getting a head start in the gardening center.
We also don’t buy for friends. In the past, everyone we knew was broke or at least didn’t have a lot of wiggle room. It never made sense to put either our or their budgets in jeopardy.
So our relatively secluded life ends up keeping Christmas frugal. In fact, it helps all year round since we’re not constantly going to bars for karaoke etc.
Of course, I’m not saying that you have to be anti-social to be frugal. But it sure helps.