Holiday Cheapskate Challenge


My husband and I talk about winning the lottery…a lot.  We plan.  We think.  We smile.  Then, reality interrupts…

It’s not that we would live lavishly if we won the big one; we have always maintained that our primary goal is to merely get out from underneath the ever-present Matterhorn of debt that looms over us.  We would pay off our debt, ensure our retirement, ensure the kidlets university educations, make healthy charitable donations and THEN we would sit back and decide which exotic location to holiday in.

Although Scottish, I have none of the legendary thriftiness.  I have a great love of the finer things in life with no real thought to how they’ll be paid for.  That said, I’ve come a long way in my adult life. Shopping sprees at Lord & Taylor have given way to shopping sprees at a local thrift store where my biggest purchase cost a whopping $5.99.  We are still always broke.

And, so, as the holidays approach at warp speed, panic has set in.  How to avoid going even deeper into debt to pay for birthdays and Christmas, entertaining, and dare I say it, some fun?  The holidays should be a time of merriment, not worry.  And, so this is my Holiday Cheapskate Challenge: to have fun, make merry, and not go broke in the process. 

 First on my list of things to investigate:  entertaining on a budget.  We love to entertain during the holidays.   Now, in mid-November, we are scurrying around like squirrels, gathering ingredients for all of the goodies we will be baking in the next month.  We have family visiting at various times in December and January.  As tempting as it might be to try, we can’t just sit in our living room in front of the fire and feed them homemade baked goods.   We want to do right by them – they’ve paid dearly just to get here.  Showing guests a good time costs money.  Or, does it?

 Speaking of a good time, let’s talk booze.  We’re big wine drinkers and we like good wine – a taste we developed before we had children.  All of our friends and family love fine wine too which leads to the inevitable debate on how to entertain cost-consciously and still serve good cheer.  Or, conversely, when attending a party, what wines can be had that won’t break the budget or poison the host? 

Oh, the things we do in the name of “research.”  I’m off to do just that (hiccup), safe in the knowledge that it’s five o’clock somewhere…maybe I’ll start online with the Ontario Liquor Board’s website (always a good resource for information and also killer recipes)!

In honour of the Holiday Cheapskate Challenge, all those who have great tips and ideas -feel free to share please!!  I’m interested in everything from smart shopping tips to entertaining/cooking tips to cheap weekend getaway ideas. 

Here’s to a Happy (and Solvent) Holiday Season…


2 responses »

  1. I can 100 percent sympathize about shopping for holidays and celebrations on a budget. I am getting my masters in the States right now, and most of my paycheck goes to groceries and bills, so money is kind of tight even though I want to give my family and friends great gifts.

    I now do my shopping at and it has thousands of deals, especially a lot for the holidays. You also get paid to shop. Go to to browse-if you have any questions, please let me know.

    Also, here is a short YouTube link that explains a bit more 🙂

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