Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Santa's Secret!

Yes, Santa has a secret. I personally have always thought that he was into leather. He just seemed the type. Between the elves and all the little kids that he wants to sit on his lap. Ummm, sorry! It's like I have a touch of A.D.D. and just fly off on a tangent. And it is mixed with Tourette's syndrome and I feel the need to just shout out whatever is on my mind. I should say that I'm working on controlling myself but I'm not, I'm just going to go with it.
Anyways, you know in A.A. when someone admits to having a problem, you are not allowed to rip them apart, well I'm hoping that you will be kind when I admit to my problem. (Don't you love how I go from Santa the pervert to A.D.D. to Tourette's to AA, all in a few sentences?) I totaled up everything we spent on Christmas and I have got to do better. We spent $1543 on gifts. Ugh!! BE KIND! Yes, I know that this is too much and I'm going to work on it. The problem is we have a lot of people to buy for. And we like to give a little something to everyone. I can hear you thinking, cut people off of the list. I just can't. I've tried and it ruins Christmas for me. So what we try to do is just spend a few dollars on each one. We buy for 60 people. Oh I can't wait to read the comments on this post. You are just itching to type something, aren't you? A lot of the gifts are a family gift so we get off with just one thing for them. I'm thinking about making different kinds of flavored popcorn as a gift this year. Anyways, I'm going to post all of the gifts that I collect throughout the year as a way to get my spending under control. Another problem is we spend about $500 on Anna and DJ. We don't buy anything but the necessities for the kids and this is our one splurge for the year. Den and I spend about $25 on each other. Sad, I know!
So, I'm going to track what I buy and how much I spend until Christmas. This is a huge undertaking but I hope this will help me cut back. I would be happy with even 10%.

This is the gift closet after Christmas. Empty and longing for more gifts!
The first thing that I bought was an 11-Tools-in-1 Stainless Steel Credit Card Survival Tool. I paid $.95 for it. I figured that it would be a good to slip a gift card in. I like something like this over a gift bag.

And then I bought 15 baskets and one platter at Cracker Barrel. It was their after Christmas clearance. So everything was 60% off. It was $101.28 but I used the gift cards that I got for Christmas and my birthday. So I'm not sure how to total this up. My out of pocket costs were $.95 or $102.23. How should I add this up?
Thanks for stopping by,


Tiffany said...

You have a huge list to buy for. I won't say to cut back though since to be honest the only reason we cut back was because I hated shipping stuff. LOL There are lots of great gifts that can be made or extra stuff from CVS/Walgreens.

I would only count your out of pocket at Cracker Barrel. I never count giftcards into my spending unless I had to buy them.

Annie Jones said...

I agree with Tiffany. I'd say you spent 95¢.

McVal said...

We have a big list too! Last year I decided I was going to sew for most of them and I did. I plan to do more of that throughout the year 2010 and do it again.
We usually spend about $150 per each of my kids. I've got a spreadsheet that I've listed everyone that we buy for and keep a column for the dollar amount. Then as I either buy or make something for each one, I highlight it a different color.
Good luck!

SonyaAnn said...

Tiffany-I'm lucky because a lot of the things that go far, I don't pay to ship. I just give them to Grandpa Mott when he goes to visit. I would quit this if I had to pay shipping.
And I think that I'll just count the out of pocket costs. Thank you.

SonyaAnn said...

Annie Jones-$.95 it is! Thank you. I really didn't want to track the percentage saved, how much it started off costing, and everything else.

SonyaAnn said...

McVal-I just want everyone to know I was thinking about them. It doesn't have to be a lot.
And I highlight too! I use stars next to their names when I'm done buying for them and then I highlight it when I hand it out! I also use matching paper for the family. Do you think I've gone to far?

A.Marie said...

Hi there! I agree with Annie Jones and Tiffany...only count what you paid OOP (.95). I can't wait to see what cool things you buy this year for little or nothing!

I found some really AWESOME things at the Kohls clearance sales online. I snagged two bath/gift sets for $2.50 each (free shipping!) and those are now in my gift closet.

Keep up the good work! If I find any great buys, I'll let you know! :)

SonyaAnn said...

A.Marie-I always feel so uplifted when you leave a comment! You are sweet and I feel so bad about trying to corrupt you. Well, once in a while I feel bad.;)
And I'm glad to hear about your bargains! It is such a rush!

kado! said...

wow! honestly I think you did...um..amazing! You bought for 60 people for only $1500! wow...actually you are a miracle worker!

...my husband...or..i mean Santa spent that about the same amount just on my iMac. We had 4 people to buy for and I'd say we spent 3 times that! I penny pinch all year...but let it go for Christmas!

we do send gifts to a few close friends and family too...but I like to bake goodies and throw in little fun stuff too!

I have a gift closet too...and I like your tracking method you mentioned in your comments...I do that too! oh...and I agree..you spent 0.95...out of pocket!

SonyaAnn said...

kado!-You are lucky that you get such a splurge at Christmas. Den got me three sweaters from Victoria's Secret. Well, I bought it but I let him wrap it! I stacked coupon codes and used a $10 reward and got all three for $23. I was so excited. He also got me a coach bracelet for $25. I thought it was cute because he got Anna one too.
I'm so thankful that every one is good with just the OOP! It will save me so much time!!

slugmama said...

If the amount you spend(and who are any of us to judge You for what You spend...as long as you can afford it)freaks you out then don't spend that much. You don't necessarily have to strike anyone off your list, just come up with ways to spend less on each gift. How about for family outside of your immediate family, set a price limit to spend on each person & possible gift ideas. Now your job this year is to find ways to NOT spend more than that on each person.
You already buy throughout the year when you find a deal, that is good! How about shopping at thrift stores & garage sales for gifts? Many times you can pick up items in those places that are still new and unused but for alot less than what it costs in the store. Check craigslist, ask on freecycle and join any local swap/barter/for sale by owner lists.
I found this xmas that people are asking for and appreciating more necessities as gifts, rather than extravagant/frivolous things...ie:Really nice sox rather than a billy bass singing fish(remember those?lol)

Try to make gifts like McVal does with her sewing or crafty things. OK, not everyone is crafty or SHOULD attempt Crafts LOL, so use the skills you have. Make cookie plates-didn't someone just talk about those?LOL....that IS a gift! Make soup or bread mixes in decorative jars and print a custom label. Make vanilla extract! Make laundry detergent, etc. All these are Eco-friendly and a cheap USEFUL gift!
I can send you some more ideas if you want.

slugmama said...

And everyone is correct about the OOP being .95¢
Next time don't use your personal gift cards to buy presents....you are so bad but I'll confess, I do the same thing.lolol

SonyaAnn said...

slugmama-I was actually worried that I would be crucified for saying that I spent that much. I think it is a lot of money. To be honest, Den covers the bills and not much more. The money that I get for cleaning, our tax return, birthday and Christmas money go for the extras that I was talking about. I think I said we needed an extra $8500. So, $1500 is a huge chunk of it and Anna's teeth. I really think that this will help keep me in check. If I have to report to everyone about the amount that I have spent, I'm sure to watch it.
I would love any ideas that you have. Why don't you post it on your blog? I'll link to it. I was thinking about doing something like soup or soap. But I'm not sure yet. I guess it depends on the price.
Thank you so much for taking an interest in me! I need all the help I can get!

SonyaAnn said...

slugmama-We are alike, aren't we? I can't help it. I just take from myself for the good of the family. Isn't that every mom's motto?

Pam said...

Actually, I agree with Slug Mama, it's your business if you spend $3 or $35,000 dollars on Christmas (as long as you can afford it.)
I would go crazy knowing I had to purchase 60 gifts. I can't even think of anything to buy for my inlaws!!!

Donna Freedman said...

It's the Curse of the Moms: We use gift cards for OTHER PEOPLE!!!
I did it myself, this year: I was given three gift cards that I promptly regifted. They made up a big chunk of my giving to DD and DSIL.
Definitely watch those yard sales and keep an eye on clearance racks, as they keep marking down stuff until it hits 90% off. I've gotten some nice toys and books that way for my gift closet.
I'm racking up MyPoints, My Coke Rewards and Swagbucks, too -- by next November, I should have enough rewards to make a few gifts absolutely free. For example, the My Coke Rewards got me two magazine subscriptions for, I think, 120 points each. And most of my points come from other people, i.e., I pick them out of the recycle bin both here at the apartment building and at the university campus. Sometimes I find them on my daily walks, too.
Or just go buy a winning lottery ticket. But keep THAT for yourself.

Jules @ Lovely Las Vegas said...

Without regard to cost - you are way more organized then I am with regard to gift purchasing. I'm impressed!!! I'm always buying last minute.... eeks.

SonyaAnn said...

Pam-I guess I'm ashamed of it because that is a house payment. So it is more than half a month of bills. So its kind of extravagant for us. But thank you for making me feel its alright to splurge.
Buying for that many people really isn't a problem, I shop all year long. So it is kind of fun. We never have the money just to shop so it's kind of nice.

SonyaAnn said...

Donna Freedman-You should do an article about the curse of the moms! It a horror story for sure!
It really made me sick to post this. You know how we don't have much. I'm not complaining because Den has a job and there are people out there that really do have problems. I really just want to spend less and save more in general but there comes a point where we just have to spend something. But this is an area that I can really cut back. Our house payment is $1300 a month and we spent $1543 on Christmas. We need to come up with a rule of thumb for Christmas spending like half a house payment or rent. I could deal with $600-700 but $1500 is too much in comparison to our income.
I've been saving up my MyPoints so I should have a few gift cards. I have enough for one already! I did the majority of shopping online last year. I don't do Coke Rewards because all pop has been cut from the budget. It's a good day if you get tea around here! I was using swagbucks for used movies but I think we have hit our saturation point. I'm just worried that at some point I will be robbing Peter to pay Paul. But the good new is, I think that I will have enough points on our credit card to get $500 by Christmas so that should take care of the kids! Jump with me. I'm really going to do my best to track this, I think it will be the only way to get this under control. Why is it I can get our bills under control and actually get excited about it but I don't feel this way about losing weight? Oh well, one problem at a time!

SonyaAnn said...

Jules @ Lovely Las Vegas-I missed you TERRIBLE! I was worried that you had forgotten me!
Thank you for thinking that I'm organized, it doesn't feel like it sometimes. I make plans and the family unmakes them for me. But I keep trying.

Frances said...

SonyaAnn, I think you should spend what you are comfortable with for Christmas. If you are not comfortable with what you spent this year, you have a whole year to plan how to cut back.

I don't even track what we spend, as most of our gifts were of the consummable variety and I buy ingredients all year long...they are in my grocery budget. LOL!

I think making gifts is a great idea. Of course, I do, since that is what I do. LOL!

If you don't feel crafty or artistic, make food. If you plant a garden this year, plant tomatoes, onions and peppers and make salsa for Christmas. Then again, I don't know if salsa is big in your neck of the woods.

Or make jam. It is really easy. Easier if you do it throughout the summer and not in a marathon like I do. I only make all mine in the Fall and Winter because it is too hot in the summer for me to be making jam.

Or you can bake. Or make candy. One year, I made all kinds of candy and it was a BIG hit at Christmas.

My sister has made soap for gifts and everyone loved it.

Just some thoughts. Of course, buying all year long is great and just think, if you put back $150 a month in a "Christmas Fund" you will have it covered next year.

Whatever you do, I won't think less of you. Gift giving is a personal thing and we all have to do what is right for us.

SonyaAnn said...

Frances-I guess I'm just not very comfortable with this amount! It is huge in comparison to what we have coming in. I think what I'm going to do this throughout the year is try to come up with things to cut costs and then write about them.
Thank you so much for always being here for me.
Have a great day!

Frances said...

I have a book for you. email me your mailing address....if you are not worried that I am a stalker.

SonyaAnn said...

Frances-Thank you and I wish that you would stalk me!!!

Nancy said...

Another cute way to give a gift card is to get a small box and put some cotton or filler in it and place a nice sharp pin in it, got to the store and purchase a large balloon and and gift card. Go to the counter where they blow up the ballons and ask them to put this gift card in the balloon - you have to get one of the bigger necked balloons and dark so recipient cant see the card. Wrap the pin and attach it to the ballon - it will act a a small weight and then see if the recipient can figure out what to do with the pin. Another one is the cracker jack box, by a box and open it up very carefully, open the bag of cracker jacks - may have to steam the package and insert the card and re-seal and then seal the box. Next get a small cup and wrap the cup and the cracker jacks up with instructions to open the cracker jacks and pour them into the cup - when they pour it in the cup the card will come out like the prize inside the cracker Jacks!

SonyaAnn said...

Nancy-I LOVE the pin idea. That is fun. I may have to give that one a try. I'm so glad that I posted this little problem. Everyone has been so helpful. It is upsetting to me to spend that much. Everyone has been so helpful in trying to find ways to get the cost down.
Much love!

kado! said...

i love everyones suggestions!! I agree...I LOVE to do a little bit for everyone..and I love the gift to be something from the heart..or home-made! I know I love home-made gifts and think most everyone else appreciates it!

I gotta laugh at your 3 sweater deal you got at VS...but only because I did that EXACT same deal!! You must read one of the same saving blogs I do!!! I also got some free slippers and a scarf with the deal...and to be honest...I absolutely do not like the sweaters. I was thinking of giving them away...do you happen to wear a Small? I will mail them to you if you don't mind stuff like that? I have tried them on but not worn them anywhere. Let me know...if not I am bringing them to GoodWill.

SonyaAnn said...

kado!-I got the idea from slickdeals but I did have my birthday gift card for $10!
And i so love you for wanting to send me your sweaters. On my best day, I couldn't get into a small. Ohhh, how lovely that would be? I'm a bit top heavy. Who the Hell am I kidding, I'm a bit bottom and all over heavy. But thank you and how about a prayer that I could shrink a bit. But I have to tell you that I got a large and had to shrink the snot out of it because it was too big. I don't have that problem very often!!!

kado! said...

oh! I'm bigger on the top too...these just seemed a little too short for me...I'm tall and like them to be longer so when I bend over I don't have to worry about what might be showing!! ;) ya know! ;)

I just thought I'd ask!

SonyaAnn said...

kado!-I've seen what you look like and I'm sure that no one would complain! You are absolutely adorable! I'm hemorrhoid pretty!