Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Friday, June 9, 2017

Christmas Without Debt June Edition: Win Your Christmas!


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Can you believe we're almost seven months until Christmas?  I keep a countdown in my planner so it doesn't catch me off guard and I will be prepared for when Christmas rolls around, both with online selling, and just plain out preparing for Christmas with gifts, goodies, and decorations.

This month I want to talk a bit about entering to win your Christmas.  There are no guarantees that you will win, but it's something fun to do, and normally every year for the past twenty I have won a few items I was able to use as gifts.  Last year I won a nice set of watercolor pencils I was able to give my husband who likes to do art.  I also won him a wood chisel set which he thought was really cool.  His grandfather was into woodworking, and while he hadn't done any before Christmas, he was excited to try his hand at it.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Christmas Without Debt: January Clearance Sales


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Hopefully you made a tally last month of everything you will need for next Christmas.  January is the time to buy those items!  This is the month that many things go on clearance, sometimes as low as 90 percent off -- or even 25 cents an item.  Usually gift wrap can't be bought at this super low price, so I recommend that being bought right after Christmas and not waiting and watching sale prices so you can have the best selection.

This week, I stopped in at Target where all Christmas items were 90% off.  There wasn't much left, as I was a few days into the sale.

However, I stopped at Dollar General on Tuesday to buy something and saw their Christmas items were 25 cents each.  I ended up going to twelve Dollar Generals over the next few days.  I got Christmas cards as low as 30 for 25 cents.  The most expensive retail priced item was a huge package of decorations that was originally priced $18, and I paid a quarter for it.  I loaded up on all kinds of items -- some will go on eBay, some will be made into gift baskets for local schools' fundraising purposes, and some I will use.  There were adult coloring books, children's t-shirts, tablecloths, canned pumpkin, cookie mixes, plaques, lip balm, playing cards, wax scents, hand washing soap, air freshener, and much, much more.

Friday, December 30, 2016

After Christmas Planning : Christmas WIthout Debt Series

Christmas is over for another year, but it's time to start planning for next Christmas if you want to be able to put together a debt free holiday a year from now.

Very first thing to do is take stock of what you used this year.  How much gift wrap.  How many cards.  How much did your grocery bill go up because of special foods or baking?  How much did you spend on new clothes for holiday get togethers, gifts, and anything else related to the holidays.  Figure this amount out.  Be prepared for shock because in 2016, the average family spent nearly $1,000 on gifts alone.  (And for this exercise you will be figuring in any other expenses related to the holidays, including airline tickets home, etc.)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Embracing Grief at the Holidays

I think most of us can remember a time we loved the holidays.  Santa Claus. Our grandparents giving us huge hugs -- and even bigger gifts.  The smells of the once a year treats from the oven, and laughter of cousins.  I think for many of us somewhere along the way the magic of Christmas has turned into dread or endurance.

My husband and I didn't put up a Christmas tree this year.  It has always been my favorite part of Christmas.  I love looking through the ornaments and remembered so many good times.  The doll my 2nd grade teacher made out of a pack of lifesavers and a styrofoam ball head.  Yes, I have a roll of 33 year old candy in my Christmas decorations.  I loved my teacher, and the fact she made something for me was so special.  (She made one for each of us in our class.)But then there are the other ornaments.  Childhood creations from people who won't speak to me any longer.  Ornaments bought on years the holidays wouldn't be considered "good".  The year a family member threw out all the gifts I gave him.  

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Why I believe in Giving Children REAL items instead of Toys (when appropriate)


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I've always been a bargain shopper.  I also always thought the things my grandmother could do with yarn was absolutely amazing.  When I was about six, I picked up a child's toy "Learn to Crochet" kit at a garage sale for a quarter.  I took it to my grandmother's house and asked her to teach me.  She took one look at it, and threw the plastic hook in the trash and gave me a REAL one.  She said she could never crotchet using that hook and she wouldn't expect me to, nor would she teach me using such a cheap thing.  That was the first time I ever had an adult replace a toy with a real item.  Now, looking back, there is no way someone could have learned to crochet with that little kit I bought, but handing a six year old a skein of yarn and an adult crochet hook?  Absolutely it can be taught.  (And even easier now with youtube videos and such.)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

10 Children's Christmas books that Should Be in Your Home Library

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Are you looking for some new, fun Christmas stories?  Looking for some books to use to make Christmas
memories?  Here are some of my favorites and why I like them.  Most are under $10, one is under $2.50, so you won't break the bank to add one or more of these to a stocking this year!  While I'm sure you have heard of some of these, I expect a few will be new ones to you, and hopefully they will turn into beloved favorites like they have here!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Five Lesser Known GREAT Christmas specials

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1.  Christmas Eve on Sesame Street.   I remember when I
was really little, in the 1970s, in the days before VCRs we used to have to try and watch for this to be on.  And the public broadcasting station always interrupted it for their fund drive, which seemed to be FOREVER.  This is another I watch every year.  Oscar the Grouch scared Big Bird about how Santa can deliver all the toys in one night, Big Bird camps out on the rooftop without telling anyone and all of Sesame Street is searching for Big Bird.  The Bert and Ernie rendition of O'Henry's classic Gift of the Magi story is fun.  Even without kids, you will find me watching this every year!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Preparing for Black Friday And Cyber Monday: Christmas without debt

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If you have been following the Christmas without debt series, you should have some money saved up this month for buying the things you want to purchase for others as gifts.  But hold on, let's save money money while we're spending, don't you think?

First off, have a list of everything you want to buy.  Check prices NOW, before Black Friday and Cyber Monday and jot down prices at three stores.  So now you know what price you want to beat.  Sometimes the sales over Thanksgiving weekend aren't the best deals out there and that's not what we want.  We want to save money.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Debt Free Christmas: September Challenge Homemade Gifts

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The goal of this series is to arrive at Christmas without debt.  Christmas isn't an emergency, and it's something we can plan for, and planning takes preparation and time.  This month I'm going to focus on homemade gifts.

For some crafts it's a little late to be starting on a project now.  (Think of an intricate cross stitched Christmas stocking.)  But there's still time to make an afghan or sweater for someone.  Also, included in this month is planning the baked goods you will be giving as gifts.

First, think about what talents you have.  You used to knit but haven't picked up those needles in years?  Now is the perfect time to do so.  There are plenty of free patterns on the Internet or you could buy one off of eBay or from etsy at your skill level.  Are you a skilled woodworker but your family has never received any of your gifts?  Maybe you should think about giving everyone -- or even one person a gift you created with your own hands.  My mother didn't have much talent in handicrafts, but she was a skilled writer, and she often wrote a new book or story each year for family.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Christmas Without Debt -- August Challenge

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Christmas always seems to be a time when people struggle.  Either there isn't enough time or money -- or both -- to go around.  This series is an attempt to get control over that so that when Christmas (or the holidays if you celebrate something else) arrives you will be able to look at it, and say, "I'm ready,"  then you can sit back and enjoy all the festivities without the stress of last minute preparations.

Monday, May 9, 2016

How to Stock a Gift Closet On a Budget


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Several years ago, I began putting things back for gift giving occasions.  I hadn't heard the term "Gift Closet" or "Prize Closet" (as those who enter sweepstakes often call it.)  But I knew the concept.  I also knew our amount of money to be spent was next to nothing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Five Favorite Christmas Gifts I ever Gave

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I have always loved giving.  My husband has been all amused with me this advent season because I am so excited about the things I have picked out for him, I talk him into opening a gift -- or two -- or three early.  (Last night he opened a set of 48 Prismacolor Pencils.  He took a number of art classes in high school and wants to get back into being creative.  Prismacolor pencils were the only brand that his art teacher allowed the students to use.)  I wanted to give him something to encourage his art, and that's what I decided on.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Why It's Not Worth Going Into Debt for the Holidays

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When I was growing up, we had a LARGE tree, and the underneath was filled with TONS of packages.

We all got gifts -- cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents -- and multiple gifts from each person.  It was total chaos of bows, ribbons, wrapping paper, and Under Roos.