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holiday spending
Old 11-24-2005, 09:54 PM   #1
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holiday spending

Eagle 43 said:
Quote:
And I spent 40 bucks last nite on incidentals to go with the turkey.... which we gotta cook!
I am envious.* *
*

I don't wanna be a killjoy here by mentioning something like this, but holidays can really eat up the cash. This is a place where Billy and I rely a lot on our own personal creativity. By the time we buy all the doo-dads, all the matching colors, and all the foo-fahs, these types of events can easily add up to 3 figures.*

Has anyone here ever figured out how much a certan holiday has cost them? (I don't mean just presents...) but all the trimmings?*

I do apologize if anyone thinks I'm out of line here...* ** * yet this is a perfect example of where to put money aside for later. Instead of spending, say, $300, why not just spend $250 and bank the rest? No one will suffer from the savings of those $50 bucks..* 8) (will they?)

Akaisha
Author, The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...
Old 11-25-2005, 06:44 AM   #2
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Re: Up in Chiang Mai...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy
Eagle 43 said:*

I don't wanna be a killjoy here by mentioning something like this, but holidays can really eat up the cash. This is a place where Billy and I rely a lot on our own personal creativity. By the time we buy all the doo-dads, all the matching colors, and all the foo-fahs, these types of events can easily add up to 3 figures.*

Has anyone here ever figured out how much a certan holiday has cost them? (I don't mean just presents...) but all the trimmings?*

I do apologize if anyone thinks I'm out of line here...* ** * yet this is a perfect example of where to put money aside for later. Instead of spending, say, $300, why not just spend $250 and bank the rest? No one will suffer from the savings of those $50 bucks..* 8) (will they?)

Akaisha
Author, The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement
www.RetireEarlyLifestyle.com


Excellent topic. I am struggling with this as I type. Lots of sales going on all day
today, but also big crowds/traffic. Thinking about staying home even though
I may miss a few bargains.

My "family" has gotten bigger and bigger while my income has gone in the
opposite direction. So..what to do? Don't know. Have not done anything yet
(for Christmas). Lots of choices (shop on-line vs. in store, send the .50
cards vs. the fancy ones, or maybe no cards at all, etc). My hunch is that there
is a small fortune to be saved. The trouble is how do you do it without
coming off like Scrooge? My son has helped me. His "gift" last year was
so chintzy and thoughtless that I won't worry about him this holiday.
I have no idea what the holidays cost me in the past, but it's a lot.
I'm guessing I will wait until the last minute this year.

Bah Humbug!

JG
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-25-2005, 08:11 AM   #3
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Re: holiday spending

Akaisha, I thought your comment on holiday spending was a good one so I took the liberty of splitting your post and JGs into a new topic.

For thanksgiving with 7 people we spent $80 and Greg cooked half the day. Lots of leftovers--some went home with relatives. Going to be major fine turkey soup with dill dumplings.

Christmas and presents is a struggle. Last year I started a thread on how to simplify Christmas shopping and reduce the costs. http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...p?topic=1661.0

I never go out shopping the day after Thanksgiving. Too crowded for me. And too cold today anyway. I am staying in. I plan to visit here, pull out a novel, and lay on the couch.
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-25-2005, 08:37 AM   #4
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Re: holiday spending

Billy, I have your book; enjoying it, and you were spot on about the holiday spending. We had the kids and grandkids over, nice meal, etc. and sent them home with leftovers. Holiday spending is outrageous, IMOH. The grandkids were discussing rising at 4 a.m. to go buy this and that. I've never done that in my life and never will (never say never, but... well never).

Did y'all know today is "Buy Nothing Day"?

http://www.ecoplan.org/ibnd/ib_index.htm

http://adbusters.org/metas/eco/bnd/

http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,56489,00.html

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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-25-2005, 08:45 AM   #5
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Re: holiday spending

Eagle43, are you Reverend Billy?

http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...86604#msg86604

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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-25-2005, 08:58 AM   #6
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Re: holiday spending

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
Nah, not me brother.* OTOH, no Walmart today for the Eagle, either.* I'd like to preach, but taking up the collection is more fun! Amen.

And I missed your earlier post.* Too bad.* Maybe great minds . . . .
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Re: Holiday spending (or not)
Old 11-25-2005, 10:26 AM   #7
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Re: Holiday spending (or not)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy
I don't wanna be a killjoy here by mentioning something like this, but holidays can really eat up the cash.

Has anyone here ever figured out how much a certan holiday has cost them? (I don't mean just presents...) but all the trimmings?*
Try it in a household that celebrates both Christmas & Hanukah.

We've cut it way back. All the adults exchange cards or online websites. We have potluck dinners and everyone hauls away more food than they started with. (Grandma's baked yams-- priceless.) This holiday meal for five is probably about $40 of materials and a few hours of labor (mostly teaching the next generation how to cook it). Presents are selected way in advance, bought on sale, and stashed until it's time. This year both our hardcore TV watchers are getting $40 RF headphones from eBay. I'll probably get some power tool that'll save me more contractor bucks than we spent. Grandma & Grandpa spend a few bucks on Hanukah gifts, do it all over again at Christmas, and mostly spoil their grandkid rotten.

Our "worst problem" has been the schoolkids exchanging gifts. They're very generous with their parents' money and things get pretty competitive. When a circle of a half-dozen teenagers starts swapping $25 Wal-Mart cards, the guilt cost adds up quickly!

We tell our kid that she's getting these gifts because she's a good friend and because she helps with homework. She should smile, say a heartfelt thank-you, and not worry about reciprocating unless she wants to. While that advice may come in handy in a couple decades, the gift guilt is the teenage problem NOW.

So when the post-holiday garage sales start, spouse is always on the lookout for cute containers. You've seen them everywhere-- cookie tins, glass jars in the shape of Christmas trees, whatever. She buys them for a buck or two and builds up a stash of a half-dozen by autumn. When the Hallowe'en candy goes on sale she buys Hershey's kisses in their generic silver foil wraps. They go into the jars and that's the reciprocating gift. The first rule is to not initiate a gift exchange. But if she's ambushed, she responds another day with one of the containers. Her true friends appreciate the thought (and the chocolate) and everyone's happy. The not-so-true friends (who are keeping score) may be a bit disappointed but they probably won't ambush her gift next year, so the problem goes away by itself. I think all the grownups are looking for an excuse to get off the gift-giving treadmill and maybe this'll catch on in the next few years.

My personal peeve is holiday letters. Some of our neighbors & friends spend over $100 on stationery & stamps. Acquaintances who can't be troubled to drop a line all year will bombard us with four-page letters & photo albums all month. I always answer them after New Year's (when they're not lost in the shuffle and are more likely to be appreciated) with an e-mail and a photobucket link.

My next holiday pet peeve is fireworks. (In Hawaii, Asian families use fireworks as a cultural practice to bring luck in the new [western calendar & Chinese calendar] year.) Over the years it's turned into a he-man ordnance competition, and the smoke/noise/mess is unbelievable. Even after buying a $25 permit families will spend $100-$200 to create more trash than they can be bothered to sweep up. Due to two decades of military explosives safety I just can't bring myself to run around in a smoke-filled neighborhood setting flammables ablaze, so our kid knows that if she wants to burn her money then she has to save up for it.

This year's holiday is going to be a bit more expensive. It turns out that the fiber-optic Christmas tree we bought at a garage sale last spring is missing a few critical parts... but we can always revert to the unlit one we've been using for the last decade.
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-25-2005, 10:33 AM   #8
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Re: holiday spending

On the costs of the actual gatherings (turkey, trimmings, etc.), I prefer not to know. We don't go particularly overboard and IMO, time togethre with family is precious enough that I am not about to cut something out on the maybe half-dozen occasions when we all get together.

Gifts are another story. The spiralling cost definately has us looking for ways out, but it is tough when both families are still pretty tradition-bound. We are slowly edging in the direction of an agreed-upon "arms reduction" in the holday giving race, but it is turning into a bilateral agreement type thing rather than a universal treaty.

Ugh, Martha, for Gawd's sake at least pick an avatar with some semblance of dignity and competence. Even Ms. Putin was better.
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-25-2005, 10:45 AM   #9
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Re: holiday spending

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Originally Posted by brewer12345
Ugh, Martha, for Gawd's sake at least pick an avatar with some semblance of dignity and competence.* Even Ms. Putin was better.
Sez the guy with a Bob Marley avatar!

It's hard to look dignified with a head full o' dreads...
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-25-2005, 10:54 AM   #10
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Re: holiday spending

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Sez the guy with a Bob Marley avatar!

It's hard to look dignified with a head full o' dreads...
Or as a Tasmanian Devil on a surfboard. 8)

Say what you like about ol' Bob: he said what he meant and you didn't have to second guess about anything.
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-25-2005, 10:59 AM   #11
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Re: holiday spending

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345


Ugh, Martha, for Gawd's sake at least pick an avatar with some semblance of dignity and competence. Even Ms. Putin was better.
Well I tried to get a grumpy picture of Condi. Back to the Chancellor. Or maybe the queen mum.
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-25-2005, 11:00 AM   #12
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Re: holiday spending

Most in my circle have bailed on the senseless gift giving. SO's family agreed that the adults don't exchange gifts. *Since my mom passed away (Christmas and the giving of gifts was her focus at least 6 months of the year) my side has agreed to tone things down too.

I have bought a few things during travels earlier in the year. * *Most of the other gifts I give will be consumables - either baked goods or locally produced stuff. *One idea I liked was "dinner in a basket" - gourmet pasta, sauce, etc. *that can fill in for dinner on a no-time-to cook day.

SO and I use Christmas gifts as an excuse to buy each other stuff we need/want anyway and stock up on enough chocolate to last until Valentine's Day. *He's probably getting an MP3 player and a chain saw. *How romantic. *
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-25-2005, 11:15 AM   #13
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Re: holiday spending

Along the same line, how many of us don't exchange presents with our SOs?

I learned a long time ago that it was so much less stressful on DH (and me) to abandon the whole Christmas present thing with each other. For birthdays and the anniversary, we'll have a date night--dinner/movie etc.

There's really nothing we need...stuff we want, but nothing we need.
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-25-2005, 11:19 AM   #14
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Re: holiday spending

We don't exchange presents. Haven't for years. Both of us would make bad choices anyway. He would buy me some kind of flowered hippie dress and I would buy him pants.
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-25-2005, 11:23 AM   #15
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Re: holiday spending

We usually buy each other something nice that they want but wouldn't actually be willing to spend the money on and buy for themselves. DW is panicky when it comes to spending money, especially on herself. I just am not willing to part with the ducats for fluff. Its a nice way to scratch the itch without having to agonize over spending the money.

Martha: Danke schoen.
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-25-2005, 11:24 AM   #16
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Re: holiday spending

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leslie
Along the same line, how many of us don't exchange presents with our SOs?*

I learned a long time ago that it was so much less stressful on DH (and me) to abandon the whole Christmas present thing with each other.* For birthdays and the anniversary, we'll have a date night--dinner/movie etc.*

There's really nothing we need...stuff we want, but nothing we need.*
Interesting..........my oldest daughter asked me the other day to give her some ideas for DW and myself. *I couldn't come up with a single thing we need.
Will probably suggest consumables (food basket, etc) although that's kind of what I was considering for them. *If you have someone who is really
passionate about something, it makes gift giving a lot easier. *Folks without
such interests are tough. *For example, C-T and Jarhead should be easy to buy for. *I plan to give C-T a subscription to The Limbaugh Letter *

JG
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-25-2005, 11:29 AM   #17
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Re: holiday spending

Quote:
Originally Posted by MRGALT2U
If you have someone who is really
passionate about something, it makes gift giving a lot easier... For example, C-T and Jarhead should be easy to buy for. I plan to give C-T a subscription to The Limbaugh Letter

JG
And for Jarhead, a six-pack, similar to one in this photo...
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File Type: jpg boxedsetwheatbread.jpg (19.6 KB, 120 views)
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-25-2005, 11:36 AM   #18
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Re: holiday spending

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Originally Posted by brewer12345


Ugh, Martha, for Gawd's sake at least pick an avatar with some semblance of dignity and competence.* Even Ms. Putin was better.
You should check out mine on Raddr's Board.

JG
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-25-2005, 11:51 AM   #19
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Re: holiday spending

Our family spends almost nothing on gifts for Christmas. We still hand-make Christmas cards for everyone (costs almost nothing except time and some thought plus very personalized). We do all travel to our home town to be together. We spend a week visiting with each other -- three generations. We visit extended family. We play in the snow together. We go to events together. We eat a lot together. The travel and the event tickets probably do cost quite a bit. I have no idea how much. I don't care how much. The value proposition falls easily on the side of continuing.
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-25-2005, 12:22 PM   #20
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Re: holiday spending

We'd gotten people to agree to adults getting assigned a single person to gift, and children were fair game to everyone. This year we've managed to get them to agree to dropping the adult gifts entirely, though the grandmother is expected to ignore that (she insists that gifts marked "from Santa" don't count : ).

It just gets way out of hand. My sweetheart's niece/nephew have a room in their house that is literally filled with toys, the last thing they need is something additional. At least they are getting old enough that we can give a gift card to a book store or something like that and let them pick their own gifts. Besides, since we don't have a television we haven't a clue what 10-13 year olds might actually want these days.

Some years ago I told my mother that it just didn't make sense for us to exchange checks (we live in different states).

I'm fine with everyone getting together and sharing a meal, and we had pie and candy making going on here the last few days. But the consumer gift giving cycle is just insane.

cheers,
Michael
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