Christmas Budget

Submitted by goodnatured on Mon, 11/05/2007 - 00:58

With the holidays coming I thought it would be a good idea to discuss how we budget for the holidays so that we don't over extend ourselves. I am asking that you add your suggestions of things that you do to make it through the holidays and not be finacially strapped because you over did it. It is one time a year, many people go overboard and pay for it all year long. Here is a list of things that I do.

1. I start the day after and get the sales on wrapping paper, cards and little things that end up costing alot the following year.
2. Recycle gift bags from the year before, this will save you money and you are doing something good for the environment.
3. I shop online when there is free shipping and sales included, this way I don't have to deal with the stress of store shopping and it is delivered right to the house, I save on gas and headaches.
4. Regifting, sometimes if I get something for a birthday or holiday and it isn't necessarily something I will use, I don't take it back, I put it in the closet and regift it to some one else, becareful not to regift to the person that you got it from. I will do this with household appliances, I have a really good blender but got another one for my birthday, I have no use for two, but my sister needed one, guess what she got for christmas. (This isn't being cheap, I think it is being frugal and not being wasteful).
5. Reusing holding cups and plates, filling a holiday cup with candy or hot chocolate, tea or other drink item and putting a decorative bag around it is a cheap easy way to give the adults something they will use. Plates are good for cookies and snacks as well, simply putting some colored plastic wrap and a bow on it will suffice for decorating it.

6. Whats your idea?????????????????????????

Please list your ideas on this list, it may help someone have a less stressful holiday season. Save some money, share some holiday cheer and pass on some good information.

Mon, 11/05/2007 - 01:48 Permalink

Well my idea would be to prepare cakes. I am quite good at it. So for the time being going through the recipes for different kind of cakes. Cookies and chocolates will be prepared by my mother and we all are going to have a lot of fun that way.

As far as gift is concerned I would rather regift the way goodnatured said. I have a fetish for wrapping papers and the various goodies used in wrapping so I have a storehouse of them. Will use them while wrapping the gifts.
People staying far away can be greeted by hand made postcards. An email greeting card does not have that value which a hand made card still has. That extra effort is appreciated.
Every day after returning home we drop the remaining coins and dollars in a piggy bank my sister has made. This is her safety deposit and she wishes to use it during the holidays for candy treats, movies and the list continues about which even I have no idea. :)

Mon, 11/05/2007 - 03:41 Permalink

Excellent points, I think Christmas has become so commercialized that alot of people are missing the getting together with family and enjoying each others company. Baking different items can be a wonderful way to share and lighten the workload at the same time.

I am glad that you thought the regifting was a good idea, I hesitated to put that one down, but it is so true when it comes to many items.

I will be careful opening to save on the paper and reuse it, that is an awesome tip that I will use, I don't know if I can get my child to do it, but we will give it a shot.

Mon, 11/05/2007 - 11:36 Permalink

Hee hee goodnatured, babies don't like to do anything neatly but that's half the fun of the holidays. I wish my one year old would open presents. we're still trying to work on that one. And yes, unfortunately the true spirit of Christmas has been seemingly lost though we have preserved it through the German traditions that has been carried on by our family.
Laura: cakes are wonderful!! everyone loves to eat and I think i enjoy our 'care' packages we get from family rather than store bought gifts.

I think this year we are doing care pkgs for folks because our money is low and it's way more fun to make things and prepare, wrap, and ship them than it is hassling with the malls etc. even shopping online can be a hassle!
We're going to make dozens of cookies (cheaply made with common ingredients), fudge batches, brittle batches and I'm going to go to a crafts store and get clear bulbs so I can personalize one ornament for each family on our christmas list and fill them with confetti or something.
What i do is save the funnies or as you guys have done, your old paper or bags and shred those. once you have all that colorful paper shredded you can make baskets very cheaply. I love doing things like this! you can get shrinkwrap from the dollar store and even small baskets and fill them with your homemade goodies and ship them off. really shipping is the priciest part as we don't have family members around here. as i get older and am around my son more, i have a more domesticated side to me :)

Mon, 11/05/2007 - 15:31 Permalink

Wow, some good ideas, I probably won't be able to get the child to cooperate, it is more like diving in and tearing it up. She really enjoys opening the gifts as yours will soon.

That is a great idea about shredding the funnies, I supposed you could even shred your torn wrapping paper if need be to keep it a little festive. I think the shredding would work as a box filler for smaller gifts too or as shipping material to keep items from breaking or your cookies from crumbling.
Sounds like this thread is going in the direction that I was hoping it would. People sharing ideas and saving a few bucks.

Mon, 11/05/2007 - 17:18 Permalink

Oh yeah! my mom actually got me started on the funnies, never would have thought and here i have a pretty decent shredder and love to make baskets. boxes too! instead of going to UPS or the like, we do it ourselves as they charge and every little bit saved is in my pocket not theirs ;) doesn't having a little one make ya feel like a kid again at Christmas? oh i'm so looking forward to when our little man can just go to town. right now he looks at me with that expectant look on his face, like 'come on mom you do it! you do everything else for me' and then is like the cats, he plays with the box not the toy ;)

Mon, 11/05/2007 - 23:53 Permalink

Another idea is to gift a favor, here are some ideas. Of course this will your require you spending some time.
1. One free house cleaning, one free window cleaning, one free chore day, etc, etc. If you have kids this is a great idea to get them to invest thier time and they see the value of spending time instead of money. Imagine what an elderly neighbor would think of a free snow shoveling or a free lawn cut or some other chore that would be hard for them to do.

Tue, 11/06/2007 - 00:57 Permalink

Hey that's pretty cool! never thought about that :) you're very resourceful you know that! wonder if that will work with hubby...hmmmmm must train lol
wonder if he'll do me those favors wink wink ;)

Tue, 11/06/2007 - 01:35 Permalink

You are bad debtstinker if you are thinking the way I think you are thinking, lol.
You could always start it out by crowning him "King for the Day" and do all his chores for him, do not nag or be negative all that day. Who knows what he would have on his honey do list.

Tue, 11/06/2007 - 02:49 Permalink

Drawing names from a hat of all family members is a good way to save money. You can avoid buying for everyone this way. You can then purchase nicer gifts for a few instead of smaller ones for alot. This is done on christmas eve on the family get together, write it down in a book because there will be those last minute folks that forget who they got.

Tue, 11/06/2007 - 03:15 Permalink

This conversation is really funny debtstinker and good. I laughed like crazy. Well I keep so busy that half of the time I dont find enough time to join the preparations for the season.

Well but I noticed what my brother did. He is a kid and surely full of ideas. I had given him a bunch o comics and other books which had gobbled down easily. This time to earn some pocket money he smartly went and sold them to his friends. His explanation was that if he wanted the books back he would rather exchange it with another and keep doing so. :)

He used the shredding machine for something really weird. Now as the packaging season has started shredded papers are required in a huge amount. He smartly made the deal with all the neighbors here a few weeks back. He actually got papers from their storage and sold these shredded papers back to them LOL. Now he will keep doing all this till he accumulates enough for the holidays. I am waiting to see him mow in the neighbors garden now :(. He hardly does it for ours. LOL

Tue, 11/06/2007 - 05:07 Permalink

Guess what I had caught my sister with all the friends of the locality selling masks during the Halloween :) They had actually made these with scraps, but wonderful they were for sure. I dont know what their idea is for Christmas.

Tue, 11/06/2007 - 05:10 Permalink

Oh ladies, this is wonderful. Kids are great arent' they? husbands arent' far behind hee hee...Good, hubby's family does draw names and with as big as that family is, i'm soooooooooo glad. of course we always get things for the kids, parents, and grandparents. but there are so many aunts and uncles it's hard to keep track.
I'm so glad Carol and Laura you joined us! it's fun to talk to all of you.
Carol your son is very resourceful and smart!!! that's how millionaires are made, i'm not kidding.
Laura...keep us posted on what your sister does for Christmas! ;)

Tue, 11/06/2007 - 19:26 Permalink

Yes i will do so. I just cannot pry on her but for sure will bump into all the funny things that they do. I wish I was that adventurous and smart when I was a kid. These fun ideas never came out of us ;)...or did they?

Wed, 11/07/2007 - 05:13 Permalink

Hey everyone out there come and share your experiences. We are really having fun here. Missing the tough ones here, why only ladies? What about the husbands here? Or only the bachelors?

Wed, 11/07/2007 - 05:15 Permalink

Yes thats true most here are females I guess? My Christmas is going to be fun for sure. Going to Italy. Any experiences anyone?

Wed, 11/07/2007 - 05:20 Permalink

My son is the naughtiest and I will for sure come up with all the variety of merriment he along with cousins and friends are arranging for. Its going to be a rocking season ahead. BUt you have to wait for the information ;)

Wed, 11/07/2007 - 05:27 Permalink

I think it all depends on our personality, are you the youngest or the oldest? Younger ones in my family seems to get away with more, where they older of us tend to act more like our parents. We are the penny pinchers, LOL.

I am the more serious one, I guess. I have lightened up a bit since raising our grand daughter (we adopted her) she is four now and I want her to have good memories, so I am a kid again. Only thing is I can't get my lines on my face to show it. LOL.

Anyway, I am glad everyone is having fun here, it is good to have more people join the conversation.

Wed, 11/07/2007 - 10:57 Permalink

No kidding good! it's great to see people here!
Mary, real quick to answer your post, I've been to Venice and while it's beautiful it is true that it's sinking. however, Italians are very artistically oriented as the arts are a high focus, far more than they are here in the states. I loved that aspect and the merchandise there is far cheaper than it is here too. Food is great, don't look any man in the eye as he will follow you to the ends of the earth and i mean it! I made the mistake of looking one in the eye (very very handsome man) and well...he wasn't so handsome after riding a train for hours staring a hole through me. Americans are not used to that, we have our personal space we don't like when people come too close. Not so with Italians. My friend was walking down the street with me and a guy just grabbed her chest! as they are very affectionate people and I learned that Italians communicate very loudly, seems like they're fighting but they aren't. I think you'll really enjoy yourself over there. What parts of Italy are you going to? My friends went to Rome, but I never made it. I studied music over in Europe and it was great to see how other cultures live :)

Thu, 11/08/2007 - 01:55 Permalink

Hi Fellow Forum members, i miss you for the couple of hours I was away. I found a fantastic site for those of you who are comfy shopping online. It's called and there's nothing on there more than $20!! what a great way to budget with Christmas coming up. some things are seemingly of good quality. am lovin this! hope the mods keep the site up sheepish grin :)

Thu, 11/08/2007 - 02:01 Permalink

Hi Goodnatured,

I am older one among two. But as far as my memory goes, i was a devil as well. I would play pranks and do all sorts of weird things. Yes but I am very close to my sister. I guess she learned all the pranks from me ;). I am a mama's girl and yes

We are the penny pinchers


Thu, 11/08/2007 - 03:40 Permalink

Hi Debtstinker,

I am glad that now I have some information about Italy. I will be visiting Rome and Venice together. Actually our target is Venice but I insisted on Rome as well. I agree that temperament will be pretty different form ours.

Thu, 11/08/2007 - 03:42 Permalink

Oh Rome is wonderful. Go ahead. Just beware of crimes. Italy is a place for crimes. I have not faced such situation though..I loved the country but I have heard from friends and cousins regarding the other side of the country.

Thu, 11/08/2007 - 03:53 Permalink

Never been to Rome, but loved the series on HBO. One of my favorite shows and they took it off.

Laura, two pranksters in one family, your poor mother, LOL. you two probably had her crazy. Do you pull pranks on the holidays as well? I know my grandfather used to do the old joke of a lump of coal, after awhile we told him a gallon of kerosene would be better, lol. I am glad to hear that you and your sister are close, I am the oldest and went into the military at a young age, so I still see mine as youngsters, even though they are all in their thirties, I still view them as kids, LOL. I guess I always will.

Thu, 11/08/2007 - 11:26 Permalink

Yes Good, you bet. Our mom would sometimes just stare at our accomplishment. She would be left spell bound. LOL. She would complain to dad when he returned home. The later scenes were even dangerous. We two and our dad would take the guitars and trumpet(my sister's favorite) and start singing and playing all around mom. She would press her ears and keep laughing at our craziness :D.

Fri, 11/09/2007 - 09:51 Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Is it that time of year AGAIN?

Fri, 11/09/2007 - 18:21 Permalink

Yes, it is that wonderful time of the year, power outages, slippery roads, cold weather,..............

Santa Claus, Frosty, Rudolf and of course all the wonderful family traditions new and old.

Here comes Santa Claus, Here comes Santa Claus, .................

Sat, 11/10/2007 - 01:33 Permalink

Uh good are ya punch drunk??? at least you 'sing' on key hee lol ;) hope you had a good friday, hope everyone had a good friday and an even better weekend!

Sat, 11/10/2007 - 02:37 Permalink

Thats great Good. You seem to be in the mood already :). So Good and debtstinker what are your plans for the season? In fact all can chip in their ideas and ongoings :)

Sat, 11/10/2007 - 04:56 Permalink

I feel alot better these days. I have been really busy at work and that is when I am happiest. I have Monday off. I bought my thanksgiving bird yesterday, I am ready!

Sat, 11/10/2007 - 09:40 Permalink

so glad you feel good, that's important. you already got your turkey??? we have stores here that will offer you a free bird if you spend so much and accumulate points. i already accumulated enough points but i opted for the $10 off my next order, since i'm still buying formula and diapers and such.
We always go to each set of parents' homes for the holidays. but we're approaching our thirties soon and it old my hubby that it would be so nice to actually host a holiday at our own place. that doesn't mean we still can't go to our parents', but i have visions of our little man taking every body's coats, serving cookies, etc. oh that would be so nice!! but MUST have a dishwasher... i never liked those things until recently when my hands crack profusely in this winter weather from being in the water so much. ;)
how about all of you? Laura you asked what everyone was doing, how about you? :)

Sat, 11/10/2007 - 12:31 Permalink

Ok, Debtstinker, I can hear the holiday music playing softly in the background as you check the bird in the oven, LOL, really Loud! We have to plan the work party too, our party planners got laid off, they always took to long to do it anyway. I am gonna go around on Tuesday with a note pad and get it done.

Sat, 11/10/2007 - 13:08 Permalink

im sorry for the late reply debt. Not keeping well these days. Hope I dont get the flu myself after giving all suggestions to people lol. Well I will be engaged with a lot of country side visits. My grand ma needs people around. Friends and family for me. What about you all :)

Wed, 11/14/2007 - 09:24 Permalink

Sorry to hear that you are not feeling well Laura, get that Vitamin C in you quick. How old is your grandma? Mine both passed along time ago when I was a child.

Thu, 11/15/2007 - 01:52 Permalink

Thanks for the concern good. I am gulping down those capsules regularly.

Dads ma passed away when I was in college three years back. Moms ma(my grandma) is 87 now. Grandpa had passed away in 1998. Since then she has been putting up with one of my uncles.

Thu, 11/15/2007 - 06:49 Permalink

It is always sad when the mate of an elderly person passes, it is good that has family to encourage her to hold on and live life.

I have a friend whose father went into depression, his wife passed away about 4 years ago, he recently moved in with her, he did not leave the house for the entire four years. When he came to live with her, his health is really bad, he recently went through a bout with his kidneys, he refused dialysis at first but is now being more cooperative. I felt so bad for her because she had to witness him wanting to die, thank god he has turned around and chose to live. Since the dialysis, he is a different person, he isn't as mean and will be around for alot longer now. The dialysis is three times a week for the rest of his life, they won't do a transplant because of his age and other health conditions.

Thu, 11/15/2007 - 14:09 Permalink

That is really very sad. But thanks to time that has healed his pain (I hope) to some extent that he wants to live.

Fri, 11/16/2007 - 06:21 Permalink

Got the last of my christmas shopping done for the kid, yeah, happy about that.

Fri, 11/16/2007 - 15:48 Permalink

Wow, you're pretty early! i haven't even begun, all feels too overwhelming right now. mostly i'll do my shopping online. i try to belong to something like sendearnings or mypoints because then you get extras for shopping at places you normally would. mypoints will reward you with gift cards after so many accumulated points and then i'll give those away in teh stockings too. Laura, how are you feeling?

Fri, 11/16/2007 - 23:44 Permalink

Hi Debt im good now with all the vitamin going down my throat.
Good you finished with Christmas shopping :( I am still thinking on it. I dont know may be this year I wont be able to do the way I shop.

Sat, 11/17/2007 - 03:51 Permalink

I read and commented, sorry this happened to you, at least you got your childs shopping done beforehand so that is one less thing you have to worry about. I am glad that you are okay.

Sat, 11/17/2007 - 12:59 Permalink

well dadummy, take another look, I lost the brakes on my other vehicle this morning going to the hardware store, send me some good wishes for safety here, I am starting to wonder what the heck is going on? thanks for your comments.

Sat, 11/17/2007 - 15:46 Permalink

I seen that good, you are not having such a good week for your vehicles.

Sun, 11/18/2007 - 01:59 Permalink

No, I will survive, got a few bucks, not many left to get my brake line, we built the bed yesterday and I painted it, we put the box spring in, just waiting on the mattress, can't hall it in my car though. Hopefully hubby will have the time to fix the truck or I can have my younger brother haul it for me, he could use a few bucks anyway.

Sun, 11/18/2007 - 11:54 Permalink

Well you said in the other post that he has a few days off for hunting, tell him to head to the garage and put that brake line on first. Besides if he gets a bear he will need the truck anyway to take it in right, where we live you have to haul them to a weigh station, so he will need the truck as bad as you if he gets his bear. I hope you have better luck this week with your vehicles.

Sun, 11/18/2007 - 20:52 Permalink

Bears and trucks....seems related....where is the forest by the way? :)

Mon, 11/19/2007 - 07:57 Permalink

Yeah, I live in the sticks. Just went out and bought my stuff to fix my brakes, Just a little over $30, not bad, hopefully hubby will get it done so I can get my mattress before my coupon expires.

Mon, 11/19/2007 - 17:52 Permalink

Hey good, that's awesome that you got all that done on the bed, the frame, the painting and all! hope you get your mattress soon

Tue, 11/20/2007 - 01:37 Permalink

You probably saved alot of money, head boards are really expensive, you framing out the entire bed probably saved you a couple hundred. Hope your child enjoys it for years to come, it will probably last forever. Did you do the shelving on the head board or some type of design, I bet it is beautiful. Thing about projects like this is, it will last forever and it was built just for her. I think you guys are awesome for doing this.

Tue, 11/20/2007 - 02:31 Permalink