I'm right there with LAL on no gifts. My mother was slow to get on board, but did realize that there are very specific and costly items that my children would like and are saving for.
Older Daughter will be living in CA by herself for a few months; additional funds will help with her food and transportation costs (she's driving her car there on a road trip with SO in February and staying in my parents' condo).
Younger Daughter puchased a dress she's wanted since high school prom in 2017. Her college has a Presidential Ball in February and it is a fancy formal event. The dress was finally on sale 50% off and is handmade in London. She bought it without regrets and is putting any money back into her savings account. Cost of dress was a hefty $320. But she could probably be married in it this summer if her plans go the way she is thinking.
Older Son is heading off to college in the fall. He said he'd like to have "a healthy savings account" so he might not have to work the first few trimesters. He's frugal and budgets, and I admire his goal.
Younger Son is an athlete, playing on the freshman basketball team and also doing club soccer. There is always something needed: new cleats, high tops, an additional training session, etc. He can decide and prioritize his needs and fund some of this.
Interestingly enough, I was at my brother's house on Thanksgiving Day for drinks and desserts and my SIL was having a discussion with her sister on spending limits. They agreed on $150 for each child (so my brother and his wife are spending $600 on her neices and nephews). We stopped gift exhanges a few years ago. It's a world I never lived in and am glad I didn't/don't. They are free to do whatever they choose and I don't mean to be a curmudgeon, but ... I'll stop now.
Our most fun gift tradition is Secret Santa with our immediate family. Funniest year was when Child 3/E was 13 and he put his name on all of the slips and then thought the better of it when no one started to compare notes. He had to confess and re-do, but it still caused a good laugh.
Our gift limit is $30. We also give ideas on things we'd like: I usually get a personalized ornament with the year and everyone's names on it. I've given a gift certificate for a pedicure and cozy socks to Child 1 two years ago, and last year gave Child 3 a Harry Potter Funco Pop Head and coloring book.
I also pick up puzzles at Goodwill that we work Christmas week. We watch our favorite Christmas movies. We also make gingerbread houses ($7.00 for a set at Aldi's) and a Christmas craft or two from Michael's (usually purchased for 70% off a few days before Christmas).
I think its really about the traditions that we have or have had. And for me now gifting is such a small part of the season, but I remember feeling bad at not having much money for grand gifts. Or only one really nice gift (like an American Girl doll one year)
But whatever works for one's family is what should be done!
The PVL (Previous Version of Laura) was probably at this point suffering needlessly stressing about Christmas Nonsense X,Y and Z.
I recall distinctly wondering how I'd explain to the principal at the school why my two sons wouldn't be attending the evening Christmas show when they had tickets to the long-awaited Star Wars premiere. ["They love robots more than Jesus," she commented. I should have laughed right then and there.]
I recall trying to make everything work for everyone else on Christmas Eve when I knew I still had to come home and cook for Christmas Day.
This year, all of our beloved Christmas things are packed up and in storage. I bought a new tree and new ornaments, and my sentimental children weren't too keen on it. "We're in transition," I said to them, "We can do whatever we want this year and what doesn't work we don't have to do next year."
For Christmas Eve, my brother was insisting on a pizza party at his house at noon. I decided that won't work for us because we're attending Christmas Service at the church my daughter and I attend at 2. I simple said, "Sorry, won't work for us, but feel free to drop by my house on Christmas Day!"
And my family is replacing traditional Mass with a non-denominational worship with contemporary music. There was no complaing about that either. And since my niece goes to church with us, my brother moved his pizza party earlier to a brunch.
I've come to realize the devil is in the details! And its only one requested gift to open on Christmas morning plus a $100 bill. We do Secret Santas with our immediate family. Low stress there now as 3/4 of my children drive and have their own money.
I'm having a family friend recently widowed over for dinner on Monday night. My daughter likes orange chicken from Trader Joes, so that will be her birthday dinner on Sunday.
Also, in adjusting to zero based budgeting. Although my bank account balance is hovering there (but all bills are paid and I do have a buffer), my concern about lack of funds has caused me to check my cash envelopes where the money for gas and groceries and other expenses lives.
Time for new versions of everything. Or at least modifications to previous versions are happening.
Money isn't everything as long as you have enough.
- Malcolm Forbes
Well, pay day is Friday and we're cruising on into the last days with exactly $1.68 in the checking account. It's not as bad at is sounds since the budgeting is going decently and we've got gas in the cars and groceries in the cupboards.
The best laid plans didn't go according to how we had hoped and a projected timeline. The money crunch is for the short-term, but weathering it with a positive attitude and sense of humor is the challenge of the moment.
I suppose zero-based budgeting does bring one close to zero. And we're closing in on the win with $1.68.
And so the story begins.
|<< Newer Entries||Older Entries >>|