Occasional spending – it all adds up!

For most families, keeping on top of the finances is an ongoing battle. You think everything is sorted for the month, then the car breaks down or you get a letter asking for payment for a school trip. This seems to be the story of our lives and it has got even worse with three kids at secondary school. The uniforms are more expensive, the trips are more expensive, the music lessons are more expensive and there’s an expensive school bus to pay for. It’s a lot to juggle.

And then there’s the occasional spending. You know, birthdays and Christmas. For us, our occasions are divided neatly into quarters. There’s my daughter’s birthday in March, then my husband and eldest have their birthdays in June, followed by me in September and my younger son in October, followed by, of course, Christmas in December.

Silent Sunday, My Sunday Photo, Birthday, Son, 13th birthday


We don’t think about my younger son’s birthday until after my birthday and we don’t think about Christmas until after his birthday. But it still feels like a lot of spending all at once.

You would think, after all this time, that I would have got used to the cost of birthdays and Christmas, but I really haven’t! I set a budget for presents, which I’m very good at sticking to. But I forget about the cost of Christmas dinner and tea for ourselves and several more family members, or a family birthday party, as well as one for the kids’ friends. Then there’s the birthday cake, the cards, the balloons and decorations. Suddenly it feels like my present budget is only half of the story.

I try to be sensible, but I think most people spend too much at Christmas.

How do you manage your money for special occasions? Do you have a budget and stick to it or do you find yourself overspending?





Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. We are always in the poor house at this time of year….My fella and both my girls have birthdays in the space of about 3 and a half weeks, we have uniform to buy for the start of school and the summer holidays to contend with. Ugh. Next week I will start shopping for Christmas. We always seem to manage though. It’s lucky that from January until August we don’t have any special occasions to pay out for x

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    • Oh my goodness, that is a lot of expense in a short space of time! August and September are expensive enough, without three birthdays to deal with! x

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  2. Oh yes, this is very true. Just when I think I have it all covered I’m suddenly hit with birthday parties to buy for, INSET days to manage eta – the children always need something!
    Birthdays in our house aren’t too difficult to manage but I always struggle planning for Christmas. I always leave it too late but this year I’m determined to better. In fact, I’ve already bought my first agpgptmap chocolates!!

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    • Good luck! I like to start my Christmas shopping around mid-November and get it finished by early December. We try to get our food shopping done a couple of days before, but you can always guarantee I’ll be in the shops on Christmas Eve (probably more than once!) for something we’ve forgotten!

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  3. Oh gosh, I feel your pain Sarah! It seems like there’s always something. And the money just ends up being frittered away. Think I need to start buying lottery tickets 😉

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    • Ha ha, I’ve been buying lottery tickets since 1994, which I’m quite embarrassed about it because it’s an additional expense in itself! I had no idea how expensive kids would get as they got older. The cost of school uniform is quite ridiculous when they go to secondary school. x

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