Are You a Financial Grinch?

Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. Read our disclosure to see how we make money.

Are you a financial grinch? Here a list of qualities to help you determine if you're one. If you like to save money during the holidays, you might be one.

Ah, chestnuts roasting on an open fire. The closeness and warmth of friends and family. The thoughts of things to be thankful for; exchanging of gifts to show our appreciation for the ones we love. ‘TisΒ the season, the season for materialism all around.

I’ll admit, I can be a bit of a Grinch this time of year. I do feel a bit more of the Christmas spirit this year since it my babies’ first one, but the same annoyances are still cropping up.

It’s the long lines, the incessant need for everyone to take photos of their kids’ gifts, and the over the top decorations that really get to me. Christmas just seems to be one big parenting competition just like anything else, and social media makes it all so much worse. No one seems to remember the reason for the season, which makes me grumpy and Grinch-like from time to time.

Yes, I’m a Grinch


Like I said, I can be a Grinch. But I’m not just any Grinch. I’mΒ a special breed of Grinch, a financial Grinch. If you like personal finance and tend to be a bit enthusiastic about saving money, you might be one too. How can you know for sure? Read this list and see if you exhibit some of the following qualities. If so, you might just be a financial Grinch like me.

The Qualities of a Financial Grinch


1. You do not want to buy an ugly sweater for the ugly sweater party, even if you get it at a thrift store.

2. You refuse to go to parties that are BYOB.

3. You’d never use your airline mile points on holiday travel to see your family. Those are for your bucket list, obviously.

4. You scoff at the idea of buying your dog or cat a gift. Every day of their lives is a gift after all.

5. You’d never drive around wasting gas just to see some Christmas lights. They twinkle just the same year after year.

6. Isn’t birthday party wrapping paper good enough? Does it really have to be holiday themed?

7. You re-gift everything you have. Someone definitely wants that pasta you’re not using (as long as you make it Pinterest-y by putting it in a mason jar.)

8. You set rules for how long the Christmas tree can stay on just to save money on electricity.

9. You refuse to buy ornament hangers. Dental floss should do just fine.

10. You ignore all of the bell ringers and pretend you don’t have those nickels in your pocket.

11. You agree to work overtime on Christmas Eve to get your bonus pay and avoid the Christmas carolers.

12. You pretend Santa lost your kid’s Christmas list.

Are you a financial grinch? Here a list of qualities to help you determine if you're one. If you like to save money during the holidays, you might be one.

Frugal Vs. Cheap Grinches


I’ll be honest; there might be a thing or two I’ve actually done on this list (psh like I’d actually tell you which ones!) Still, my husband usually snaps me out of it and reminds me that there’s a difference between being frugal and being cheap during the holiday season.

For example, it’s wise to shop the best sales and try to avoid paying full price on toys, but ignoring your kid’s Christmas list altogether might be a bit extreme.

Overall, I think I’ll be much less of a Grinch than I was last year and as for all those financial Grinch tendencies, well, maybe I can sneak just one in.


Are you a financial Grinch? Which of the items on this list are you willing to admit that you’ve done? What did I leave off the list?

The following two tabs change content below.
Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for parents who want to better their finances and take on a more active financial role in their families.


  • Mrs. 1500 says:

    I am a financial grinch. I counted 6 items on your list of 12 that I do or dream of doing.
    The holiday gift giving season starts out small, but then snowballs into giving a gift to everyone you encounter. I know some people who keep wrapped gifts and tags in their trunk, so when someone hands them a gift, they can say, “Oh, I left it in the car,” then run out, quick write a name on it, and give it to them. Sigh…

  • moneystepper says:

    Let’s see:

    1. No. I love an ugly sweater!

    2. No. much better than going out and I’d rather take my own bottle.

    3. Yes. they are put aside for this goal, after all!

    4. Yes. Pets don’t actually know what Christmas is! (ooo, controversial)

    5. Yes. Lights are lights!

    6. Yes. Draw some holly on it. Cross out Birthday and replace with Christmas. Fine!

    7. Yes. Look at this thoughtful gift idea I got from Pinterest. Boom!

    8. Yes. Once a day for an hour max! πŸ˜‰

    9. Yes. Although dental floss is still a bit expensive for that isn’t it??

    10. No. It’s good to have a chat with people, isn’t it. Maybe keeping that coin in my pocket though!

    11. Yes. Best time to work as everyone else has gone home and you can just eat chocolates and get paid for it!!

    12. No. Santa doesn’t exist. Silly!

    Yep, I think I’m a financial grinch!! πŸ™‚

  • Hahah! I’m a tad of a financial grinch, but I do love the holidays… I’m sitting next to my brightly lit Christmas tree at the moment :). But, on the other hand, we don’t hang lights outside because it uses too much electricity.

    And, we re-use all of our decorations every year (fake tree included). I’ve most definitely used birthday wrapping paper on Christmas gifts. Best part? I found the whole roll in someone’s trash!

  • There is no way I would drive around to see Christmas lights. We’d walk instead. Get some exercise kids! πŸ™‚

    Maybe add:
    13. Refuse to host or attend Christmas parties because of the extra expense of travel and/or providing food/drink.

  • I just passed on workplace secret santa- financial grinch alert!

  • Wow, those certainly are things that make you want to scrunch your face and say, “Baah, humbug!” I’m a sucker for the Christmas spirit. But more so for putting up our tree, enjoying time with family and really celebrating the great people in my life. I could give a rip if anyone gets me a present or not….but I like to give deliberate, meaningful gifts to others.

  • I’m definitely a financial Grinch. I like the holidays but dislike it when people try to take things to extreme levels. I also hate gift exchanges, especially the kind where you buy a generic gift and trade it around. Never again.

  • Mark says:

    Does reusing mail stamps count?

  • I’m not a financial Grinch, at least during the Holidays. I may cut some corners during other parts of the year, but certainly not during the Holidays. I’ve never viewed at a competition with others, I just do what’s right for my family.

  • Kathy says:

    I enjoy Christmas and am less of a Grinch then than during the rest of the year. As I get older, however, decorating is becoming more of a chore, especially since our son is in another state and not around to help. But we still do the inside of the house and enjoy lighting a candle and sitting by the fireplace.

  • Robin says:

    I like to think that I’m not financially grinchy, but rather that I’m sick of it all being so much about buying things instead of spending time with your family.

  • Michelle says:

    Haha according to this, I am not a holiday financial grinch at all. While we don’t go all out, I do like Christmas a whole lot πŸ™‚ One thing I do that is the opposite of this list is that I try to find excuses so that the tree (and the lights!) can stay up as long as possible!

  • There have been MANY Christmases when I’ve worked!! Sometimes because I wanted the extra money, and other times because I didn’t have a choice. Otherwise it doesn’t look like I’m much of a financial Grinch πŸ™‚

  • I’m kind of grinchy but with things not on the list. The only one on the list I don’t do is buy and ugly christmas sweater. In general, I tend to avoid holiday parties because there are just too many and I like to relax in december and keep my immune system up, that being said, I don’t mind bringing a bottle of wine when I do go to a party. Where I’m “grinchy” is that I don’t buy my parents gifts. I just get them a card because they would be mad knowing I bought something and money is tight. I also don’t get my brother anything because..well, long story. I don’t bake cookies or do any of that extra stuff, and my place is too small for a tree, so I just have one set of lights for my main window. I like candles though. I also don’t like when unexpected people get me something for Christmas because I feel guilty not wanting to reciprocate. Oh, and I don’t send out holiday cards anymore either. Bah humbug! lol!

  • OH PS. I don’t get getting animals Christmas presents! I think that’s strange.

  • Haha I thought I would be a financial grinch but according to this list, I’m not! My parents use to drive me around the neighborhood to see the lights and it’s one of my favorite childhood memories!

    However, no gifts for my cat! She has enough toys. πŸ™‚

  • Haha I don’t think I’m a financial grinch, but that list was hilarious because I’m sure there are people who have done at least one of each. After reading this one -> “You scoff at the idea of buying your dog or cat a gift. Every day of their lives is a gift after all.” I was going to say, no gift for Julep?? πŸ˜›

  • Mrs. Maroon says:

    Before reading your list, I would have considered myself a bit of a Grinch, but apparently not. I don’t like the over-consumerism, but appreciate the rest of the season. Plus, watching a dog tear into a new toy wrapped in tissue paper can be quite the treat!

  • Kali says:

    I had to laugh at the wrapping paper one — my birthday is a week before Christmas and my mom’s is 5 days before mine, so we’re reversed! We usually wrap birthday presents with Christmas wrapping paper (she gets a lot of holiday wrapping paper from her work for some reason, and shares it with us). Last year I drew sunglasses and umbrella drinks on the snowmen patterned wrapping paper I used for her present and tried to pass them off as “birthday snowmen.”

  • Kassandra says:

    I definitely have the makings of a financial grinch lol! DH and I got off the major gifting bandwagon and I don’t regret it. I love the spirit of the holidays itself, just not the pressure that people feel about spending a fortune in gifts and trying to meet unnecessary expectations.

  • Haha Cat, this is a funny post! I love it πŸ™‚ I didn’t buy an ugly sweater either, instead I borrowed one from my grandma, but didn’t tell her it was ugly… πŸ™‚ I have a few of these tendencies myself. Thanks for sharing!

  • I only subscribe to 2 Grinch items:
    #1 – I wouldn’t buy an ugly sweater. (But that’s a bit of a cheat since I actually own a few.)
    #4 – If my kids want to buy our dog a gift, THEY buy it.
    I really love Christmas – and most of the trappings of the season. We’re going for our most frugal Christmas yet this year, but I don’t think we’ll quite measure up to “Grinch” status.

  • 7/12! Count me in! Where do I sign up?:)

  • I just realized that I am a total package of a financial grinch. I always do save and think ways where I can save as much as I can. I laughed about “You pretend Santa lost your kid’s Christmas list.” Good idea!

  • Ha! I am not a financial grinch, but I have cut back on my holiday spending with family so they may think I’m a grinch. I don’t go crazy around the holidays like I used to, but there are certain things that I like to do and because of that, I usually prepare all year for the holiday. And you will NEVER see dental floss on my Christmas tree. πŸ™‚

  • Michelle says:

    I love this!! I don’t travel during the holidays if I can help it, I HATE ugly sweaters, and what’s the point of a BYOB party??

  • Lance @ HWI says:

    I’ve done 1, 4, and 8 this year. Have the lights on a 4 hour timer….mainly because I forget to unplug them until I leave for work the next morning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *