Thursday, December 8, 2011

Frugal Retirement-My $500 Holiday Update #2

While I in no way have completed my Christmas shopping or cooking, I know my plans and have good knowledge of what I will be making and buying. To that end, I thought it was time for another update.  remember, I allocated $500 for Christmas. That was to include gifts for seventeen family members and my two adult and college aged children. It also included gift exchanges  with two social groups, an Angel child, and cooking and baking  and entertainment requirements.  At the time I gave myself this challenge, I believed that I would be hosting a prime rib Christmas dinner as well.  I am not hosting Christmas, which gives me a lot more leeway in money savings-I would obviously like to end up with money left over

Again I will say that gifting this many people is a concious decision, and that I appreciate that others may have had different choices. Our gifts are often not lare, and are just one part of a whole celebratory season.
In terms of my Christmas expenses, there are really two types of costs.  The first, is out of pocket cost.  That is, the money it cost me now, in cash, to purchase or make a gift.  There is another cost, and while I don't want to call it real cost, I have also figured that into the equation. That is the cost of things I already have in my stockpile/pantry/sewing room that I am using. I guess I will call that the value cost. However, in figuring my Christmas expenses, I am using the first, out of pocket cost figure for my tally.

Adult and kid gifts (not mine) purchased or made (almost all on requested lists) My out of pocket with explanations follow

  • Couple one:  Restaurant gift Certificate and short sleeved navy sweater 80.00
  • Couple two:  Cowboy coasters and mug rug for him, set of six place mats and napkins in fall tones for her.  Out of pocket cost zero.
  • Couple number three:  New house, lifestyle with lots of entertaining.  A large longaberger serving platter I won at a silent auction years ago and never used, still in box. For her, a snowman wall hanging to match her year around collection of snowmen. No out of pocket cost, made from my supplies of fabric and thread
  • Couple number four:  $25 Barnes and noble GC for him (cost $15.00 from a group buying site), and coasters, hot pads and kitchen accessories in their colors-red, navy, orange yellow and purple.  No out of pocket cost, supplies again from me.
  • Couple number five, in Denver:  Still working, won't go up till the day after Christmas. They are going to commission me to make a quilt for their bed......maybe offer to make something with it for free. Or bring $25.00 worth of stuff from the German deli fresh.
  • Couple Number Six, In Seattle:  with a toddler and a newborn, most of what I give them will be to the kids, see below.
  • Single Sister in Denver:  No idea as of yet. she is extremely easy and would be happy with a free trip to the local thrift store or gourmet food store and an extra twenty to spend.  Working on it.
  • College Age Niece:  I got a twenty dollar gift card from Vera Bradley in my birth month (see why you should get on an email list from your favorite stores?).  I got an onsale wristelt.  No cost.
  • College Age Niece:  a like new gourmet cookbook for my chef student.  Cost 3.00
  • High School Age Nephew:  He is at that age, who on earth knows.
  • Toddler Niece:  have a $10.00 Toys r US gift card, just haven't gotten there yet
  • Newborn Nephew:  Set of baby blankets that match.  No cost, fabric from my stash.
My kids $100 each:
  •  Thirty something daughter:  book on holistic eating she requested, kitchen utensils and accessories to match her new apartment including a small drying rack, and a set of yoga clothes from target (see below). More but I don't know what yet.  A $25 gift certificate to amazon at no cost to me because I earned it with swag bucks
  • Twenty Two Year Old Unemployed Son:  Clothes, clothes and more clothes.  He's lost weight but unfortunately he is six six-that still means a trip to the big and tall store for shirts so they cover his waist and belt. Other stuff when I am done.
Quilting friends:  fabric collections unused from my stash and wrapped with a ribbon.

Women's Group:  Homemade cookies and some kind of canned item-I am thinking cranberry walnut conserve but am not sure yet..........if so I will only have to buy the berries and nuts. Jars, decorative items, and other food ingredients on hand

Baking:  I have no idea how to figure this. My pantry is full of loss leader bags of sugar, brown sugar, flours, chocolates and the like.  Out of pocket cost will be minmal.

Entertaining:  Unsure.  Dinner group will be lasagna. Have whole grain noodles, ground pork and ground beef, tomato sauce. Will need buy the cheeses and garlic bread. Cost minimal.

Angel "Child":  My angel person is a senior who has put a her need as a blender and her wish as an alarm clock. I have allocated $25.00 to outreach and we will see how far it gets me.  See below.

At this point my out of pocket costs are $298 if I have done the math correctly.  That includes the $200 allocated for my children even though it is not all spent.  The budget for couple number one (my in laws) is abnormally high and may come down. I would really like to get them a restaurant gift certificate.  Mom in law wanted a specific sweater and doesnt ask for much. They did so many things for me when I arrived in Texas. I still may be able to get a free restaurant certificate but if not, so be it.

I anticipate future costs to be a maximum $25.00 for the angel child, $50 for Denver gifts, and a small unspecified amount in terms of groceries for entertaining and gifting. Obviously there will be some additional costs and stocking stuffer items but so far I would say I am meeting my goal with ease.

My estimates on costs above are a little uncertain because I have a $10 off 50 certificate for Target. My plan is to get the blender and daughter's yoga clothing there and then add to the pot in terms of kitchen items.  I also have a $10 off $10 certificate for Penney's, a $25 off $25 at Casual Male Big and Tall, and $20.00 off $20.00 at Victoria's Secret.  I still have extreme couponing skills and coupons, grouping buying offers to take advantages and other deals I will be looking out for. I may even find a deal on that gift certificate, lowering costs by $50.00All in all it should be a VERY Merry Christmas.

Note:  at some point I'll figure those real material costs and let you know what I come up with. Since I buy fabric year around on sale, real costs should still be very, very fair.


  1. Wow you have a lot of people to buy presents for! I can't even imagine if I had to get that many.

  2. Michelle, I know I buy for more thna others do, but its not an obligation, its a choice, made more than once, not to discontinue gifts. I like giving gifts and I like opening and receiving it works for us.

  3. wow I'd like to be the couples with the placemats and napkins and stuff! I'm gonna have to make my own one of these days -goodness knows I have the fabric!
    I need to get some giftcards -thinking Home Depot for my dad and Sears for my brother since he likes the Craftsman tools. A lot of the restaurants around here are giving an extra $5 or $10 giftcard when you purchase a certain amount in cards. A few years ago Randalls grocery store gave a store card with purchase of a certain amount total in gift cards - a while back they were quadrupling the value I think in points for gas savings - don't know if any others are doing that this year or not.

  4. It looks like you are very organized and are doing a great job on your shopping. I was lazy and wrote checks for the people who aren't coming home for Christmas. It saved me shipping, buying things they don't want. I have been decluttering my home and don't want to add clutter to their homes by buying things they don't want. I usually add in special ingredients for holiday baking when I do my Christmas budget. Nuts, chocolate, karo, butter, etc. can add up quickly. You shouldn't worry what anyone else thinks about how many people you buy for. You are doing such a great job while buying for so many. Good luck with the rest of your shopping and Merry Christmas!

  5. Spendwise, I dont buy people things they do not want, because we share Christmas lists. In most other cases I know what people like. our lists are mainly tings we would not bother to buy ourselves but woudl like.

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