I feel like the cat that swallowed the canary today. I am all done with my Christmas shopping. Not only am I done shopping but it is all wrapped. Not all of them are pictured above, just a few. Can you see the big grin on my face?
Every year I try to be done by October 31st for a few reasons. If my son, daughter - in - law, and granddaughter who live about 4 and 1/2 hours away visit soon, I can have them take all of the presents back with them instead of having to ship them. My other son as you know comes every weekend so that is not a problem. But I like to get everyone done at once and know that everything is bought and paid for in cash.
Next I have to write my Christmas cards. I purchased them for just $.10 a box after Christmas one year. I bought 10 boxes. Our list has whittled down over the last few years not only because we have lost touch with some people but because a lot of our friend's have died. So I only do about 20 cards a year now. I have enough Christmas stamps that I purchased last year to do that many.
Then I can concentrate on planning and cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for 5 of us. I am really looking forward to that. Turkey with all of the trimmings is one of my very favorite meals. Here's hoping that turkeys are a great price this year.
But getting back to the Christmas presents, remember I told you in this post:
Back To Basics: Gifts
that I felt I was spending too much on the grandchildren all of the time. Well, I asked you to share what you spent on gifts for them. I had a few kind readers who responded. I thought about all the ideas you shared and then I sat down to come up with a plan.
We decided to spend $150. each on the grandchildren this Christmas. I purchased a few things that they each wanted plus they each are getting a $50. Amazon gift card to use for something they might want in the future. Since we still give to the adults, we decided to give them $150. gift cards to one of their favorite department stores. So that is a total of $ 900. spent on family. Some of the gift cards were purchased with reward points. I also give a small item to two of our UPS men, our mailman and the newspaper lady to let them know how much we appreciate them. Last December I bought a 4 pack of microwaveable mugs that I will be splitting up for them as gifts this year. I can't find a picture of the exact set I purchased but they were similar to these:
So they were purchased and paid for in the budget in 2015.
Hubby and I do not exchange gifts because we purchase things that we want when we want them. For example, Hubby's beard trimmer bit the dust this morning. I am not waiting to buy him one. I will order a new one today. This way we don't feel pressured to come up with the perfect gift for each other for Christmas. We get lots of joy from watching our grandchildren open their presents either in person or via Skype.
I have also budgeted $ 400. for holiday dinners and for some stockpiling if I find the rock bottom prices on food and turkey that I am hoping for.
The last reason that I like to finish by the end of October is so that we can start planning our budget for the next year. We do work on it for about two months. This is also the time of the year that we look at what we can do in our portfolio to lower our taxes that we will be paying for 2016 by tax loss harvesting. If you don't know what that is Jeremy explains it HERE
I like to challenge myself each year to continue being frugal and save as much money in our trust as we can. So I will be working diligently on some new challenges for 2017.