What will you do differently--Christmas '18?
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    Registered User FrugalWAHM's Avatar
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    Default What will you do differently--Christmas '18?

    Confession: I planned VERY poorly and ended up spending way too much on Christmas gifts this year. In fact, I let life get the better of me and ended up doing the bulk of my shopping in the week before Christmas when prices were anything but at their lowest. So, for Christmas 2018, I am committing to plan WAY ahead and start my shopping/making earlier so I'll have time to enjoy the season. I am also going to be paying much closer attention to the money-saving websites so I can catch good deals when they pop up in the middle of the year.

    What, if anything, will you be doing differently for next year's Christmas?
    Focus on getting ahead, one penny at a time! Keep the main thing the main thing!

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    Registered User larabelle's Avatar
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    This year instead of exchanging gifts with everyone we all compiled our funds and got my parents a really nice gift. So financially I did well. However next year I would like to manage my time better so that I can attend more church related activities.
    Blessed and Highly Favored!!!!
    From $78K in debt to debt free and purchased a house and used car with 100% cash...God is sooo Good!!!

    Goals:
    New to me vehicle

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    Moderator aka AmyBob AmyBoz's Avatar
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    I think next year I need to buy throughout the year so I can spread out the bills. Since my kids are older, they generally want gift cards. I can buy those when I buy groceries throughout the year. The challenge will be finding a good hiding spot for them and then remembering that they are there!

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    I skipped the tree and that was good but I hope to get one 2018
    I funded the kids and am not sorry. I didnt bake 1 cookie but that was sad to me. The house and kitchen esp. will be in better shape by Dec. 2018.

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    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Amy, for the gift cards, find the most boring, oldest, most crappy looking book you can buy cheap at a thrift store and hollow out the inside. Put the gift cards in the book and your kids will never think to look there. But put them in sealed envelopes they can't see through before putting them in the book, just in case.

    I always bought gifts throughout the year for our kids. A lot of our kids' gifts came from thrift stores and garage sales, and that took time to acquire the right things.

    For new things, I would pay attention to annual sales that occur at different times of the year every year.

    I've heard of people who always have their big family Christmas on New Year's. Some of the best sales of the year are the week after Christmas when retailers are trying to get rid of their inventory before the end of the year. Of course your whole family would have to be on board with that approach.

    When we put up a tree, it's artificial. There are some gorgeous artificial trees available now, and this week they're all deeply discounted. We prefer artificial trees because the fire hazard is a lot lower, we don't have to shop for one, and we don't have to pay over and over for one. It saves money every year. My mom, for years, had a small tree that she left the decorations on when she stored it, so it was less work for her every year. For the pine scent, there are air fresheners or scented candles.

    If you know people who would like edible gifts, you can bake holiday treats and freeze them weeks ahead. Pack them in gift boxes or holiday-themed plastic bags from the dollar store. If you want to make jams and jellies or other home-canned goods, you can do those when the produce you need is in season and store them till Christmas.

    We don't plan for Christmas anymore because we usually buy whatever we want throughout the year. Sometimes we'll splurge on something and call it a gift, but in reality we would have bought it anyway. The older we get, the less we want stuff and the more we like to spend money on experiences. We're also eyeing retirement so our financial priorities have shifted somewhat.

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    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    I will second SD's plan to shop the post christmas sales this year. Get your wrapping paper, decorations, replacement lights etc. at half price NOW and stash them. I would normally be out buying half price candles, paper plates and small gifts or stocking stuffers this week. In fact, I shop clearance all year long.

    I did not make cookies this year, did not have the energy, but I usually start in November when baking supplies go on sale. I stockpile butter when it is on sale, it freezes well. And cream cheese will last YEARS unopened in the fridge.
    Stop trying to organize all of your family’s crap. If organization worked for you, you’d have rocked it by now. It’s time to ditch stuff and de-crapify your world.

    If you're not using the stuff in your home, get rid of it. You're not going to start using it more by shoving it into a closet.

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    Registered User MaggieTrudeau's Avatar
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    I got a couple of things right this year...bulk bought chocolate truffles for people at the office and found small christmas tins at thrift stores. Each person got 5 assorted truffles in a little tin. About 4$ per person and they were all quite excited. The other "right" thing was checking TJ Maxx before I bought an iron I saw at Joann's for my sister-in-law. Same iron in the same box, for 50% of the cost. She does lots of quilting and sewing and was using an old iron with a cloth cord that shocked her daily! Good grief.

    I overspent on other folks and didn't keep an eye on my "gift bin" through the year. I ended up doing more shopping toward the end of the year.
    In 2018 I'm thinking I need to keep my xmas gift buying list handy all the time, especially now after the holidays. I do usually get my christmas cards in january on deep sales or even at thrift. I'm astounded how many new-in-the-box holiday cards show up there.

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    Registered User MsMarieH's Avatar
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    This year was not one of my best Christmases, for several reasons. But nonetheless it was an awesome one.

    I have worked hard to simplify my holidays and I have never regretted it. I buy very few christmas presents and tell others not to buy for us.

    I focus more on experiences than gifts - going to local concerts, plays, christmas walks, baking cookies, etc.

    I take time to drive around and look at the christmas lights, to share cookies with others, to buy toys (and this year pajamas) for needy children, etc. I focus on the joy and love behind the holiday, not the gifts.

    This year was a challenge because my mother in law was injured earlier this year. She ended up going in for surgery the day after Christmas and is now recuperating. So we weren't able to do several of our events that we normally do, due to her mobility issues.

    Plus I had quit my full time job in October and didn't want to spend too much this year for Christmas until I see how things shake out with being full time with my business.

    The other reason I hadn't want to spend too much was that we got all new windows/doors in late Sept. and are still paying off that debt (and will through 2018).

    But next year, should be hopefully back to normal on many fronts.

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    Registered User FrugalWAHM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmyBoz View Post
    I think next year I need to buy throughout the year so I can spread out the bills. Since my kids are older, they generally want gift cards. I can buy those when I buy groceries throughout the year. The challenge will be finding a good hiding spot for them and then remembering that they are there!
    I had to LOL at your comment about finding a place you'll remember! I have this exact issue almost EVERY year and will inevitably find a Christmas gift in June that I'd forgotten about!
    Focus on getting ahead, one penny at a time! Keep the main thing the main thing!

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    Registered User FrugalWAHM's Avatar
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    I LOVE the idea of the hiding spot in a book! That's brilliant!
    Focus on getting ahead, one penny at a time! Keep the main thing the main thing!

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    Registered User FrugalWAHM's Avatar
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    One of the other things I won't be doing in 2018--buying a lot of new decorations. We just moved into a new house this past summer and decided we needed a new, bigger tree as well as some new things like wreaths and lights (we seem to buy new lights every year). Those are expenses we definitely won't have next year!
    Focus on getting ahead, one penny at a time! Keep the main thing the main thing!

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    Registered User bookwormpeg's Avatar
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    I have decided that next year will be simple...very simple....no gifts........I usually buy all year long.....I make cute little theme baskets and bags...I put my heart and soul in these gifts.......when they aren't received with gratitude, I am let down...so next year there will be no expectation.....

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    I think I spent according to plan for Christmas 2017. Including gifts and hosting dinners for family and friends, my total cost is only around $600.

    Although, I learned something very important.

    "Do not open or try to use gifts you don't need. Keep it for giving away next time".

    Instead, stash it somewhere so you have a gift ready when the need arises. There were several instances last Christmas when I was suddenly invited to certain parties or functions which basic courtesy requires me to give a gift to the host. I must admit, it caught my financial plan off guard. I was able to recycle some gifts, but I may have spent $50 unnecessarily on unexpected gifts to be given.

    In any case, at least I have here a bottle of whiskey, an unopened juicer and a box of lotion which I can give as a gift on whatever function I will be attending in 2018.

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    This year I'm buying all year long and part of my Christmas will be purchased from Aliexpress.com which comes from China. It takes 20 to 30 days to get anything but so far everything I've bought has been good. And the shipping is free on most everything. I've spent as little as 99 cents and gotten free shipping. Don't know how they do it.

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    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhonda Grice View Post
    This year I'm buying all year long and part of my Christmas will be purchased from Aliexpress.com which comes from China. It takes 20 to 30 days to get anything but so far everything I've bought has been good. And the shipping is free on most everything. I've spent as little as 99 cents and gotten free shipping. Don't know how they do it.
    Subsidies from the USPS, paid for by rate hikes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/wadeshe.../#3e44f59940ca

    I've had good experience with AliExpress, too. Cheaper to buy it at the source sometimes.
    Stop trying to organize all of your family’s crap. If organization worked for you, you’d have rocked it by now. It’s time to ditch stuff and de-crapify your world.

    If you're not using the stuff in your home, get rid of it. You're not going to start using it more by shoving it into a closet.

    Use it up, Wear it out,
    Make it do, Or do without. ~unknown

    Because we, the people, have the power to build a better future. KH

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