Holiday 2009 Spending

The 2009 holiday season was by far the *best* I’ve ever had financial wise. When the kids and I moved in with my Mom, I set up savings accounts for various things (more on this soon) and Christmas was one of them. I saved a set amount every payday and had the money automatically transferred. I saved for seven months and paid CASH for Christmas.

spendin' money
Creative Commons License photo credit: the queen of subtle

My husband and I fully admit we go overboard at Christmas, but we justify it because we don’t buy the kids things throughout the year and on their birthdays they get one gift (usually a large’ish gift, such as a new bike). So without them getting things during the year, we have plenty of chances to give them whatever they want (within reason!) for Christmas. The 2009 Christmas was different since we live with my Mom – we don’t have nearly the space for “stuff” and the kids realize this too – of course it’s usually parents who feel the need to buy everything their kids want, really kids are happy with whatever. My daughter for one would probably be *the* happiest kid with a few reams of paper and a bunch of new markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc.

Since I had set up the auto savings, when the time came for Christmas shopping – I started late this year, not buying anything until Black Friday sales started – I just transferred the money to my checking account and bam, paying cash was super easy. I did also spend money out of three paydays, which didn’t put me in any kind of trouble – I still saved money, I still paid on the credit cards, I still did everything the same.

Every family is different in how they spend for Christmas. We buy for ourselves, each other, the kids, my Mom and Stepdad, my Dad, my brothers and their families (a family gift usually), my best friend and her kids, my husbands cousin, and then a few friends. I also handmake a lot of things. This year I made all of my nephews ornaments, as well as a handful of friends, which was very inexpensive. I buy family gifts for my brothers families as well – this year it was netflix for a few months and sleds for the kids. Netflix doesn’t offer any deals or savings, but I got a deal on the sleds. They were not too expensive to begin with ($20 for four) and I got free shipping. After the first purchase, I got a $10 gift card for spending a certain amount (I think it was spent $25 to get the gift card, and I bought two sets of four sleds). So I used the $10 gift card and a free shipping code to buy my best friends kids and also another nephew the same sleds. A very inexpensive gift for a lot of people, which breaks down to mere dollars per person.

I set up the Christmas savings to be $50 per payday (so $100 a month) and last year I only saved for seven months, so I figure by saving every month this year I won’t have to spend anything out of the November/December paychecks like I did this year. After I looked at my receipts, saving $100 is more then enough, so we will probably donate the balance.

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