I’m Dreaming Of A Tight Christmas
November 2, 2010
I’ve been worried for months about Christmas. Specifically, affording Christmas. You see, J and I have the 2 boys together, then I have 3 stepchildren and one step-grandson to buy gifts for. That’s 6 people that get a good haul from us, although our “good haul” is definitely not as good as most parents provide. We try to spend $100 per kid, although we’re probably closer to $125 when it’s all said and done. Still, gifts for the 6 of them, something for each of us, plus parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, friends, co-workers, chineese auctions, classroom exchanges, baking for dinners and parties, etc. adds up to a pretty heafty sum. It’s hard to afford all of it during a good year, much less one in which J has been off work for 3 months due to an injury, thus depleting our meager savings. Needless to say, I’ve been stressin’. Alot. And I’ve been praying. Alot. I’ve been wondering how we were going to provide a good Christmas, without going into more debt. I suggested we cancel it altogether. Post a sign, “Christmas has been cancelled due to lack of funds”. Or possibly convert to Jehovah’s Witness.
In the past few weeks it’s amazing how things have began to come together. No, I didn’t win the lottery, or find out I was the only heir of a long lost rich dead uncle. I just started recieving blessings. First came the JC Penney’s cash. I turned a $15 birthday certificate into the wallet my oldest wanted and giant fluffy towel for a Chineese auction gift. Just last week I got $20 more, which I intend to spend on sports apparell for my step-kids. $35 worth of free gifts just for walking to the mailbox.
Next came Coke rewards. I had been saving bottle caps for a co-worker of mine who participates in this program, thinking the only thing he was getting with these points was coke tee shirts and other coke related merchandise. My interest was peaked this summer when he told me he redeemed points for tickets to the nearest 6 Flags theme park. Finally I browsed the website to see what it was all about and I found out you could get Season 1 of Glee, a show I finally watched recently and am now in love with. I began saving caps for myself, knowing I would need 1,000 points to acquire it. As I got nearer to my goal I noticed the other rewards that I could get. Namely the gift cards you could get. I gave up my dream of Glee in favor for some K Mart cash, which I would use to buy Christmas presents. Upon amassing enough points for $20 in gift cards I went to redeem them, only to find that, apparently everyone else had the same idea. K Mart gift cards were out of stock, as were ones from Best Buy and Home Depot, which put a huge damper in my plan. However, I found a bigger selection of DVD’s, many of which will be the perfect fit for my stepkids or neices and nephew, as well as great personalized photo items from Snapfish, which will be perfect for my parents or husband. Also, being a new snapfish customer I get 50 free prints, which will be my Christmas card photo. By my calculations, in just a few weeks I have amassed enough Coke points to purchase gifts that would cost me $40. Also, Glee now cost only 500 points, so I’m glad I waited!
I’ve also discovered couponing. A friend of mine had been blogging about it and I’ve been giving it a try. I haven’t been able to get a whole cartload of stuff for $7, as she does on a regular basis, however I have been watching the internet and matching store sales with coupons and gotten some really good deals. In the past two days I have redeemed $20 in coupons. I haven’t gotten anything free, or for pennies on the dollar, but I have managed to get name brand things like hair products, toothpaste, OTC medications and air freshener for the same price or cheaper than their generic counterparts. I’ve also been able to score some fancy candles for $3 for a Chineese auction present or teacher gift. Here is today’s haul from a Rite Aid trip, which cost me $38 and change. I also got $7 in Up Rewards to use on my next transaction, so I basically got it all for $31.
I know it doesn’t look like alot, but when you consider that 4 of those items run around $8 I think I did good!
There is one final blessing that has come my way in the last few weeks. My sister’s church had a really awesome community book giveaway. The books were all of a Christian nature and in new condition. Unfortunately I was at work the day of it, but J and both boys were able to go and get their maximum of 13 books each. After going through their bounty and keeping one of everything, I have a great stash of teacher gifts and stocking stuffers for the older kids.
In the last few weeks, I’ve quit stressing about Christmas, and started keeping an eye out for blessings. That God fella is really awesome, and he has provided so many answers.