Budgeting so you can have everything you want as well as give to others throughout the year even on a fixed low income.

My story

Today I’m sharing my story about my personal money management and how it’s influenced how I look at money to accomplish my financial goals.  An alternative plan to cutting corners in my budget, going without or always buying the cheapest option.

Boxing day sales have always been an exciting adventure for me with my mum and my grandma.  We’d wake up early and drive to David Jones in Newcastle. Standing there when the doors were swung open to the public. It was a buzz.

Shoppers would run in all directions throwing tops and skirts here there and everywhere.  A small nudge here and a poke there.  The ultimate goal was to get your size clothes in the style and colour you wanted and to the change room before the dressing room line filed 50 women deep.

Men sat zen like in the eye of the chaos whizzing around them.


Do you really need more stuff?

Was it about having more stuff or was there a deeper reason behind it all?

These adventures taught me about consumerism, budgeting and quality over quantity.

Why were these women buying in bulk the same item and buying designer clothes they might realistically only wear once?

Stretching a small budget

From my Grandma I learned about budgeting so you can have everything you want, as well as give to others throughout the year, even on a fixed low income.

My Grandma was widowed at 50 without a career and ran her finances from a limited budget from the rent she collected from a tenant in an annex to her house.  However low her income was she always managed to provide everyone in our family a gift for their birthday and have a hot roast feeding all the uncles, aunties and cousins at her place most Sundays. Two roast chickens, potatoes, cabbage and pumpkin with gravy.  The ten plates where on her kitchen table. She’d divvy out the precise portions for each person and there’d be no second helpings. But that was always fine because she’d make a sponge or some other such cake for dessert.

Under my Gran’s bed were her stash of Boxing Day sale purchases. She’d buy birthday gifts for us all 12 months in advance on boxing day and rarely ventured back to the stores through the year. She never spent money on cards or wrapping paper. It was a running laugh in our family when Uncle Dave would receive the same Christmas card from Gran every year for years on end.

The only times I witnessed her as a consumer was at the Boxing Day sales.

7 Tips For Getting The Most From Your Boxing Day Sale

Having been to over 30 David Jones Boxing Day sales with my mum and Gran, I’ve prepared a summary of the lessons and tips I’ve learned so you can make the most of your money and have some to spare, while feeling on top of the world and in control of your spending.

  1. Write down what you want in your life for the year ahead. If it’s travel (project budget), a new look, a new career, a comfortable bed (capital expenditure budget), a place to entertain (event budget).
  2. List what you need to reach those desires. (budget line items)  A suitcase, an outfit, a laptop, fresh bed linen or a outdoor setting.
  3. Consider the recommended retail price (cost benchmarks) of what you’re after, taking into account the cost per use (economies of scale).  Buying for cost per use rather than price is the secret to financially justifying quality. Decide how much you will spend and stick to that amount.  This is your budget.
  4. Know the style, colour and brand of what you want and enjoy making faster decisions on your feet.
  5. Avoid the seduction of the 50% off clothing rack in vibrant colours and dramatic detail, unless this is your style. Mum taught me to resist these, however much I felt I was getting a good deal. Too often I’ve made the mistake of buying designer clothes at a fraction of their price for the label and not for how it communicates my sense of style.  Instead my focus has turned to style staples like leather shoes, jeans and nice quality skin toned underwear.
  6. If you’re looking for shoes, then wear easy slip ons so you’re able to try stuff on where you’re standing without waiting for a chair. Being a common size 7.5 I always needed to be early in my shoe size.  Again shoes can be mezmerising so focus on cost per use, rather than justifying it for a special night out only.
  7. Get in and out early and give yourself a coffee with your team mates to celebrate your annual financial victories.

Teaching kids budgeting at an early age

Boxing Day wins for 2018.  Yesterday I took my kids, with their money jars to the sales and it was a lovely morning out.  My kids had their money ready.  Eddie had exactly $29 in cash for a Bey Blade he wanted. When he paid for it, he couldn’t wait to put his money down on the counter to seal the deal.  He even gave a great cheer for the shop keeper who was serving him.  That’s what financial transactions are all about!  Both customer and vendor celebrate the transaction. Another top tip is to treat sales staff with compassion and a polite greeting seasonal. I used to be blindly unaware of my own rudeness in past days until I practically ran into a bakery in Paris and demanded a sandwich only to be completely blanked by the shop keeper.  Later learning the first step to being served in any shop large or small is to greet the shop keeper with “hello, how are you?.”   I also took my calico grocery bags to carry my treasures home in.  Less plastic bags needed.  It’s a win win win.

Deciding to allow money to flow effortlessly with joy.

Spending with intention, planning and a budget allows you to enjoy the process rather than resent parting with your cash.

Here’s a glimpse into my small wins in yesterdays’ Boxing Day sale.  50% off a new look for my Christmas tree next year!  50% off summer clothes for the kids, 20% off a toy Eddie wanted, 50% off a new set of pajamas for Jim & I.  30% off Pokemon cards for an upcoming party the kids are attending.

Let’s Recap

  1. Write down what you want in your life
  2. List what you need to reach that
  3. Know your prices
  4. Know your style
  5. Avoid enticing labels that don’t flatter you
  6. Wear clothes, shoes easy to slip in and out of (for clothes and shoe shopping of course!)
  7. Debrief with your team after and celebrate your wins

Happy shopping guys.  Share your boxing day sale wins below!  Did you make a plan with intention in your head or on paper?




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