Author Topic: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending  (Read 30459 times)

Bee21

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #150 on: November 29, 2017, 02:01:40 PM »
What are you buying for Christmas? Is it a big deal in your family? It sounds like a lot. ( but i don't like christmas, so feel free to disregard it. I personally hate the fact that a religious event was turned into a month long hyperconsumption)

 Do your kids have high expectations? Surely the baby wouldn't expect much. It is not like you can't afford to spend the money, so do whatever makes you happy.

And is the amount planned for tips/ teacher's gift customary there or a bit overly generous?


MustachedImposter

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #151 on: November 29, 2017, 07:09:26 PM »
What are you buying for Christmas? Is it a big deal in your family? It sounds like a lot. ( but i don't like christmas, so feel free to disregard it. I personally hate the fact that a religious event was turned into a month long hyperconsumption)

 Do your kids have high expectations? Surely the baby wouldn't expect much. It is not like you can't afford to spend the money, so do whatever makes you happy.

And is the amount planned for tips/ teacher's gift customary there or a bit overly generous?

The tips/teacher amount is surely a bit generous.  We used to be in an in home and did the equivalent of one week’s fees split among the staff, but this is our first year in a center and the expectation might be different.

Generous gifts are a big thing in DH’s family and it drives me crazy.  We have moved to charity gifts for the adults in his family but it’s still a ridiculous amount.

So here’s the Christmas budget:

$500 - tips and teacher gifts
$350 - gifts to DH’s family ( niece, nephew, BIL, SIL, and his parents) which is $150 in real gifts and $200 to charities that are important to them
$150 - gifts for my mom, niece, and nephew, including shipping abroad
$300 - gifts for our kids, which is what we spent on DD last year doubled, but we likely won’t spend that much on the baby and probably won’t spend that much on DD either (Last year DD got Magnatiles, which are expensive, a doll, a train set, and a couple books.  We’re not extravagant compared to a lot of the people around us, but that’s probably the wrong bar)
$75 - Christmas cards and postage

Adult gifts to each other are small and come out of spending money.

You’re right that this feels really out of whack, since we spend far more on others than our own family.  I need to think more about this and if I want to change it.

Bee21

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #152 on: November 29, 2017, 10:54:28 PM »
Hmmm. Families are tricky. Mine is not really into gift giving, so I can't comment on that. The consensus is that everybody has everything they need, and nobody needs extra clutter. We give plants to the inlaws( getting them a cactus this year as they killed the little bonsai in record time last year), exchange a 50$ gift ard with my sil, and do a boxing day shop together. The nieces requested itunes gift cards the third year on a row, I buy them when they are on sale.

The easiest is to cut the amount you spend on your own kids, as they are only little.  My kids (5 and 7) got tired opening presents halfway through last year, and i spent less than 100. This year i got them things to share, like books, craft sets and board games, plus they get new snorkelling gear.

Teacher's gifts are tricky, esp with multiple carers at childcare. I just got them little gift packs from the bodyshop, nothing extravagant. Might put together a hamper for the staff room.

As for family members, it is probably too late this year, but do you have a gift cupboard? I stock up on presents during the year, whenever i find something suitable on sale. Last year all my kids friends got heavily discounted boardgames for bdays. I used to hoard presents for the nieces when they were little too.

Are the Christmas cards necessary? Can you make them? How many are you sending out? It is a lot of money for something which ends up in the bin. I always feel bad for binning friends' family photos (you know, with them wearing antlers and cheerful raindeer sweaters)after xmas, but really, why should I keep them?

Actually, this is my favourite xmas activity, making cards, now that you mentioned it, I will pull out the cardmaking gear to make the cards for the kids classmates etc. That will keep us busy for a while.

farfromfire

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #153 on: November 30, 2017, 02:43:41 AM »
What are you buying for Christmas? Is it a big deal in your family? It sounds like a lot. ( but i don't like christmas, so feel free to disregard it. I personally hate the fact that a religious event was turned into a month long hyperconsumption)

 Do your kids have high expectations? Surely the baby wouldn't expect much. It is not like you can't afford to spend the money, so do whatever makes you happy.

And is the amount planned for tips/ teacher's gift customary there or a bit overly generous?

The tips/teacher amount is surely a bit generous.  We used to be in an in home and did the equivalent of one week’s fees split among the staff, but this is our first year in a center and the expectation might be different.

Generous gifts are a big thing in DH’s family and it drives me crazy.  We have moved to charity gifts for the adults in his family but it’s still a ridiculous amount.

So here’s the Christmas budget:

$500 - tips and teacher gifts
$350 - gifts to DH’s family ( niece, nephew, BIL, SIL, and his parents) which is $150 in real gifts and $200 to charities that are important to them
$150 - gifts for my mom, niece, and nephew, including shipping abroad
$300 - gifts for our kids, which is what we spent on DD last year doubled, but we likely won’t spend that much on the baby and probably won’t spend that much on DD either (Last year DD got Magnatiles, which are expensive, a doll, a train set, and a couple books.  We’re not extravagant compared to a lot of the people around us, but that’s probably the wrong bar)
$75 - Christmas cards and postage

Adult gifts to each other are small and come out of spending money.

You’re right that this feels really out of whack, since we spend far more on others than our own family.  I need to think more about this and if I want to change it.
Is this considered a normal amount for only 2 children? And is this (i) something that you want to be doing, (ii) feel obligated to because of society, or (iii) feel is somewhat necessary for your children to be treated well?
Really seems like a lot.

BeanCounter

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #154 on: November 30, 2017, 03:59:28 AM »
The only time I have given that kind of money for teachers/babysitters is when we had an infant sitter. I paid her a week of pay (plus time off).
IMO, it's totally unnecessary at a center and would be crazy money for elementary. Unless that's for small gift cards spread over a lot of people at the daycare?
I've done smallish restaurant gift cards for preschool teachers.
Thank goodness our elementary home room coordinator parents have always taken up a collection for Christmas, teachers birthday, and end of the year gift. They give us a suggested amount at the beginning of the year and we write one check. Then they pool the money and buy one large gift or gift card. It works really well. We usually put in $50 for the gift pool.

Laura33

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #155 on: November 30, 2017, 10:16:37 AM »
You’re right that this feels really out of whack, since we spend far more on others than our own family.  I need to think more about this and if I want to change it.

FWIW, personally I am far more likely to cut back on family gifts than on teacher/caregiver gifts.  We* have more than enough; they frequently don't.  My general rule is that barring a real problem, I don't improve my own budget by cutting what I give to people who make a buttload less money than I do/causes I care about.  And frankly, that money means a lot more to the caregiver who makes $9/hr than it would to my SIL whose combined HH income is over $200K.

That said, it is worth checking around for local expectations now that you are in a center -- I don't think we ever did more than $50 for an awesome "main" teacher and $10-20 for helpers (since they tend to get similar tips/gifts from other parents as well).  By the time we got to ES, the lovely room mothers generally arranged class gifts, so we contributed about $20 to that (there seemed to be an unstated expectation that each kid contributed to the gift for only the homeroom/main teacher and the "specials" teachers, which cut down the expected amount by quite a bit).  Most years it still added up to a few hundred dollars, but not $500.

Figure out what you can afford to spend, figure out what is appropriate for your area, but don't kick yourself (or your DH) for being generous to those with less/charity if you can afford it and it is consistent with your values.

* The broad "we," including siblings, parents, children, in-laws, etc.
Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

MustachedImposter

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #156 on: November 30, 2017, 10:48:11 AM »
You’re right that this feels really out of whack, since we spend far more on others than our own family.  I need to think more about this and if I want to change it.

FWIW, personally I am far more likely to cut back on family gifts than on teacher/caregiver gifts.  We* have more than enough; they frequently don't.  My general rule is that barring a real problem, I don't improve my own budget by cutting what I give to people who make a buttload less money than I do/causes I care about.  And frankly, that money means a lot more to the caregiver who makes $9/hr than it would to my SIL whose combined HH income is over $200K.

That said, it is worth checking around for local expectations now that you are in a center -- I don't think we ever did more than $50 for an awesome "main" teacher and $10-20 for helpers (since they tend to get similar tips/gifts from other parents as well).  By the time we got to ES, the lovely room mothers generally arranged class gifts, so we contributed about $20 to that (there seemed to be an unstated expectation that each kid contributed to the gift for only the homeroom/main teacher and the "specials" teachers, which cut down the expected amount by quite a bit).  Most years it still added up to a few hundred dollars, but not $500.

Figure out what you can afford to spend, figure out what is appropriate for your area, but don't kick yourself (or your DH) for being generous to those with less/charity if you can afford it and it is consistent with your values.

* The broad "we," including siblings, parents, children, in-laws, etc.

Thank you for this perspective.  I think we have mostly given out of immense gratitude for them taking such good care of our children, and also because it is something we can afford to do for people who don't make a lot of money.  I certainly don't feel like I am obligated, since I know other parents give less, but it is somewhat important to me.  It is similar to the charitable giving - not something I feel comfortable cutting back on when we are so financially well off.  This is gifts for six teachers and the director.

MustachedImposter

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #157 on: November 30, 2017, 10:51:45 AM »
Are the Christmas cards necessary? Can you make them? How many are you sending out? It is a lot of money for something which ends up in the bin. I always feel bad for binning friends' family photos (you know, with them wearing antlers and cheerful raindeer sweaters)after xmas, but really, why should I keep them?

Actually, this is my favourite xmas activity, making cards, now that you mentioned it, I will pull out the cardmaking gear to make the cards for the kids classmates etc. That will keep us busy for a while.

Totally not necessary, but something I enjoy doing as we have lots of out of town family and friends.  We mail about 70 cards, so $35 of that is postage.  The other $40 is cards and a photo print of the kids.

MustachedImposter

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #158 on: November 30, 2017, 10:53:47 AM »
Are the Christmas cards necessary? Can you make them? How many are you sending out? It is a lot of money for something which ends up in the bin. I always feel bad for binning friends' family photos (you know, with them wearing antlers and cheerful raindeer sweaters)after xmas, but really, why should I keep them?

Actually, this is my favourite xmas activity, making cards, now that you mentioned it, I will pull out the cardmaking gear to make the cards for the kids classmates etc. That will keep us busy for a while.

Totally not necessary, but something I enjoy doing as we have lots of out of town family and friends.  We mail about 70 cards, so $35 of that is postage.  The other $40 is cards and a photo print of the kids.

Something I haven't thought about doing is an online card - that would cost almost nothing and preserve the ability to write personalized messages.  The cards are already purchased for this year, but I might consider that next year.

Laura33

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #159 on: November 30, 2017, 11:27:57 AM »
Are the Christmas cards necessary? Can you make them? How many are you sending out? It is a lot of money for something which ends up in the bin. I always feel bad for binning friends' family photos (you know, with them wearing antlers and cheerful raindeer sweaters)after xmas, but really, why should I keep them?

Actually, this is my favourite xmas activity, making cards, now that you mentioned it, I will pull out the cardmaking gear to make the cards for the kids classmates etc. That will keep us busy for a while.

Totally not necessary, but something I enjoy doing as we have lots of out of town family and friends.  We mail about 70 cards, so $35 of that is postage.  The other $40 is cards and a photo print of the kids.

FWIW, I make my own newsletters and just copy photos from iPhotos directly into the Word document.  Add some photo-friendly, somewhat-nicer-than-usual paper, and you avoid at least $30 of that $40.  I like it because it feels more personal than the standard "Merry Christmas to you and yours!" photo cards I usually receive (they're my friends, I want to hear about how their lives are!), and I can still handwrite whatever personalized message I want to add to specific individual recipients.
Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

BeanCounter

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #160 on: November 30, 2017, 03:05:58 PM »
Are the Christmas cards necessary? Can you make them? How many are you sending out? It is a lot of money for something which ends up in the bin. I always feel bad for binning friends' family photos (you know, with them wearing antlers and cheerful raindeer sweaters)after xmas, but really, why should I keep them?

Actually, this is my favourite xmas activity, making cards, now that you mentioned it, I will pull out the cardmaking gear to make the cards for the kids classmates etc. That will keep us busy for a while.

Totally not necessary, but something I enjoy doing as we have lots of out of town family and friends.  We mail about 70 cards, so $35 of that is postage.  The other $40 is cards and a photo print of the kids.

FWIW, I make my own newsletters and just copy photos from iPhotos directly into the Word document.  Add some photo-friendly, somewhat-nicer-than-usual paper, and you avoid at least $30 of that $40.  I like it because it feels more personal than the standard "Merry Christmas to you and yours!" photo cards I usually receive (they're my friends, I want to hear about how their lives are!), and I can still handwrite whatever personalized message I want to add to specific individual recipients.
OMG. I LOVE this idea. I had just been contemplating what to do as I feel like the kids have grown out of the cute-ish post card type Christmas card and I'd prefer to have a space to write a note or two. Really good idea.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #161 on: November 30, 2017, 03:39:43 PM »
I get crafty for my Christmas letter - I do a text that summarizes the year, add in 5 or 6 pictures and do some layout tricks. Sometimes it is a half lengthwise 11x17 folded into an accordion.  Sometimes it is just a straight up letter size.  Then I paste it into cards that I get the kids to make and mail it off to mostly overseas friends and family.  My goal is to get it to them before February first.  Some years it gets there before Christmas but if it doesn't, it doesn't.  I often get a long email back from distant friends mentioning how they look forward to it every year.  People that I regularly Facebook with - don't send them one in the post - I just do it virtually.
Seeing the possibilities

MustachedImposter

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #162 on: January 04, 2018, 04:37:05 AM »
Minor update, re: Christmas.

Spouse and I discussed the large charity gifts to his family and decided that they probably didn't have much meaning to anyone.  So we decided on small, more meaningful gifts for his family - photo books of the kids.

Christmas actual spending

Daycare teacher and cleaning lady gifts/bonuses - $550
Daycare Secret Santa x2 - $25
Gifts for DH's parents - $37
Gifts for nieces/nephews - $56
Gifts for my mom - $53
Gifts for our kids - $111
Christmas cards - $75

Total: $907

That's $443 less than our budget, so I'm going to send that amount to my student loan right now.

Laura33

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #163 on: January 04, 2018, 07:36:10 AM »
That's $443 less than our budget, so I'm going to send that amount to my student loan right now.

Congrats!! 
Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #164 on: January 04, 2018, 07:37:11 AM »
That is fantastic.
Seeing the possibilities

YoungGranny

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #165 on: January 04, 2018, 08:05:00 AM »
Just caught up on you entire case study! Congrats you guys have really come a long way! Can't wait to see what 2018 holds for you but I'm sure it'll be good with your new-found mustachian ways.

Did you review your December budget yet? Curious to know if it's been getting easier to find deals at the grocery store the longer you've been at it.

MustachedImposter

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #166 on: January 04, 2018, 08:17:12 AM »
Did you review your December budget yet? Curious to know if it's been getting easier to find deals at the grocery store the longer you've been at it.

I'm about a week behind in YNAB but I'll update once I have the December spending.  December was a little weird with the holidays, but I do think it's getting easier and I'm getting more price conscious.  For example, I did a quick mid-week run because we were out of a few things, which in the past easily could have turned into a $35 run, but I only spent $11 on yogurt, milk, lettuce and sale fruit.  I've also been much more conscious of shopping seasonally, especially for fruits and vegetables, which seems to make a HUGE difference.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #167 on: January 07, 2018, 04:56:49 AM »
You’re right that this feels really out of whack, since we spend far more on others than our own family.  I need to think more about this and if I want to change it.

FWIW, personally I am far more likely to cut back on family gifts than on teacher/caregiver gifts.  We* have more than enough; they frequently don't.  My general rule is that barring a real problem, I don't improve my own budget by cutting what I give to people who make a buttload less money than I do/causes I care about.  And frankly, that money means a lot more to the caregiver who makes $9/hr than it would to my SIL whose combined HH income is over $200K.

That said, it is worth checking around for local expectations now that you are in a center -- I don't think we ever did more than $50 for an awesome "main" teacher and $10-20 for helpers (since they tend to get similar tips/gifts from other parents as well).  By the time we got to ES, the lovely room mothers generally arranged class gifts, so we contributed about $20 to that (there seemed to be an unstated expectation that each kid contributed to the gift for only the homeroom/main teacher and the "specials" teachers, which cut down the expected amount by quite a bit).  Most years it still added up to a few hundred dollars, but not $500.

Figure out what you can afford to spend, figure out what is appropriate for your area, but don't kick yourself (or your DH) for being generous to those with less/charity if you can afford it and it is consistent with your values.

* The broad "we," including siblings, parents, children, in-laws, etc.

Thank you for this perspective.  I think we have mostly given out of immense gratitude for them taking such good care of our children, and also because it is something we can afford to do for people who don't make a lot of money.  I certainly don't feel like I am obligated, since I know other parents give less, but it is somewhat important to me.  It is similar to the charitable giving - not something I feel comfortable cutting back on when we are so financially well off.  This is gifts for six teachers and the director.

Completely agree with Laura here.  We do the same.

Now, here's hoping our respective *we*'s don't troll the MMM forums anytime soon...ha! 

Omalley

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Re: Case Study: Hair on Fire Spending
« Reply #168 on: January 15, 2018, 07:55:26 AM »
One way we avoid grovery store spending creep is to make a detailed list before going to the store.  This gives us a chance to see if the needed items are buried in the pantry, and more importantly if an item isn't on the list it stays at the store. 

Agree with other suggestions that you should begin tracking how the $600 per month  ($7,200 per year) in spending money is used.