Holiday spending plan: Where are frugalistas using their budgets?


Now that I've self-identified with the "frugalista," it's already time to buckle down and start budgeting for the rest of the holiday season. Frugalistas are known for spending little on typical consumer goods (think expensive decorations, electronics and clothing) but maybe a little more on good food (that they cook themselves, natch) and what I like to call "vital luxuries"; maybe a couple of hand-made wooden toys for their children, or a top-of-the-line food processor (the easier to make great dinners at home instead of going out).

So: what is in the frugalista's budget this year? Here's how my Christmas spending plan breaks down:

  • Christmas tree: Purchased from a local charity I believe in, $40

  • Food: Extra organic cream, some direct-trade shade-grown chocolate, and a heritage turkey from a local farm, plus a couple of splurges on cheeses and cured meats from my favorite farmer's market vendors, an extra pound of coffee for my dad, about $200

  • Toys: One or two hand-made wooden toys for each of my three little boys, $120

  • Crafty: Four skeins of yarn to complete knitted Christmas gifts, $60

  • Stockings: A trip to REI to get socks and new bike lights for my boys' stockings, $50

  • Husband: New fenders for his bike, $30

It adds up to $500 all told (and my husband has already earned the money working more than usual in November); I'll make gifts out of materials I already have for my sisters and nieces, and each of my boys will get a new handmade stuffed toy. I'll wrap my gifts in recycled paper from years past, or newsprint that the boys paint for me; we'll make holiday cards out of one of a million different Martha Stewart-inspired recycle-y ideas. That's how this frugalista plans to spend her holiday money; how about you? What does your holiday budget look like?