Monday, November 2, 2009

Christmas, Part 1

The holidays are so stressful every year, and when you factor in current economic conditions with the astronomical expectations of your kids and family, well it can be a recipe for disaster!

Aside from the small amount of cash we've budgeted for Christmas, we are also using some "found" money as well to fund our Christmas this year. Under no uncertain circumstances will a single penny of our Christmas spending go on credit, this is absolutely not an option.

I don't want to give away too much on the Christmas details, but I can give a good breakdown of how we are scrounging up stuff:

-Cashed in $100 worth of giftcards with MyPoints. I booked travel and did the email click throughs all year to scrounge up points towards this.

-I have 25,000 Speedway Rewards I am going to cash in towards a gift card, haven't decided what just yet.

-I have $25 in credit out there that I am using to purchase a gift for someone. I earned that doing Swagbucks searches.

-I've been watching clearance racks for interesting items for people all year long. I have a few stashed away for the kids. For example, my neice really wanted a Baby Alive doll, and for some reason, the local K-Mart had one on clearance for $11. SOLD!

-We cut a deal with quite a few family members that we strictly go "kids only" and even that within reason. Adults don't need more crap, and it's more fun to watch the kids open stuff!

-I am constantly watching the deal sites (GottaDeal, SlickDeals) for mega deals on things.

-Amazon does some good toy sales in the fall, keep an eye on SlickDeals/GottaDeal to see what's out there. Usually you can find a nice consolidated thread of all the ongoing things.

-I personally opt out of the secret Santa stuff and all those other misc gift exchanges. I just don't have the money in the budget for it and I usually don't end up with anything that I really want or need anyways.

-I have a chunk of Coke Rewards out there that I plan on cashing in towards something, not sure yet. You have to watch the site pretty close to snatch the good gift cards, so hopefully a few good ones will pop up again soon!

In our Financial Peace University class, quite a few of us are supporting each other and just letting family know that Christmas this year is scaled back. It's not an easy conversation to have, but I think it's a GOOD conversation. Every chance we have to shift our mindset from STUFF to the real reason for Christmas (Jesus and time with family), the stronger our family will be. Pop in a DVD, watch a movie together and drink hot chocolate and make memories because those are what are going to last way longer than the singing fish on a plastic plaque!

I am going to be blogging a LOT this holiday season because I know that I am going to need to reinforce this to myself over and over again. It's hard to resist the temptation and it's hard to stay focused and on plan. I am so happy to have my Financial Peace class running right now to help hold me accountable.