Wednesday, October 26, 2016


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:

Microwaveable Mugs 

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.


  1. Wow, Congratulations!!! That is awesome!!! Now you can relax and really enjoy Christmas with your family.
    I am jealous though, as I haven't started shopping, and I have no ideas this year.

    1. Hi Kathy,

      Thank you. It seems as the children get older, it is harder to come up with ideas of what they want. Trying to find our from my granddaughter was like pulling teeth. My grandson was easier.

      Happy shopping.

  2. You are so good! I'm jealous.
    I gave up on Christmas a long time ago.
    We just buy the 2 grandkids presents (@$25 each). No one in my family exchanges gifts anymore. And it all was decided mutually with a great big sigh of relief.
    What we do do is get together and cook up a great big giant dinner! Everybody prepares something special. That we all love doing!
    I don't put out much decorations anymore. Just two small, already assembled, pre-lit & pre-decorated trees. I don't even send out holiday cards either. What I still do insist on is having everyone go to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Our church is within walking distance and is just so special to all walk the distance together, hand in hand. Sometimes we sing on the way there.
    Everyone has different special holiday moments.
    I love what you have done already. You are awesome!

    1. Hi Cindi,

      Thanks for sharing what you and your family do. We decorate a little but I am thinking I am going to drag them all out this year.

      Your walking to Midnight mass on Christmas Eve brings back a flood of memories for me. I always loved it when it was lightly snowing.

  3. Lucky for you that your children are not as prolific as my parent's children were. Mine have 27 grandchildren, no way was grandma going to spend over $4000 on them! Congrats on getting it all done before your deadline, that is quite the accomplishment. The last couple of years before she died, my mom gave our children $10 gift cards, which they thought were the best present ever. Actually she sent me the money (we never lived near them) and instructed me to buy the cards from stores I knew they would enjoy. We have one son who was probably about 7 when he first went to Office Depot. I wish I had filmed his reaction to that store, it would have gone viral. He thought he had died and gone to heaven! He has an organization gene and loves shopping at office supply stores. Anyway, his gift card was always for Office Depot and he thought it the best present ever. Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Rozy,

      God Bless your Grandma. I can't imagine having that many grandchildren although I would love it.

      Your story of what your Mom did is wonderful. I can just envision their faces when they opened them. My Mom who has also died always gave we kids and spouses and the grandchildren $35. every year for Christmas and their birthdays. The boys loved it.I can still see their faces when they would open them.

  4. I'm proud of you my friend! I wrapped and sent most of the gifts for my parents and one of my brothers home with them when they were here this past weekend. I still need to buy a gift card for the movie theater for my other brother and his beautiful family. They love being able to go out to see a movie as a family and this is something that we know they enjoy...thus the gift card! ;) Our kids who live near us and some of the rest of the family came to an agreement that we would just do homemade gifts for each other for the most part but would still buy for the younger children (grandkids/nephews). My big problem is that when I find something for my grandkids, I have hard time holding onto it until Christmas to give to them. ;) Luckily this year I restrained myself and put some things back for them.;)

    1. Hi Debbie,

      Thanks for sharing how you gift at Christmas. I have the same problems you do with wanting to give the grands gifts all of the time. Glad you restrained yourself.