Author Topic: Advice! I'm so tempted to open Christmas presents early so I can sell/re-gift  (Read 5224 times)

babysnowbyrd

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Backstory: I'm a new convert to Mustachianism. I have about $50,000 of debt, mostly student loans, but also some hair-on-fire credit card debt, an unsecured loan, and $2000 left on my car. I have a decent-paying job though not the $25 min Mr. MM espouses. Single, no kids or pets. I really want to put my hair out, so I'm doing the debt-snowball. My unsecured loan (17% interest!!) is almost paid off (over two years early). I think it would be awesome to make the last payment this month but it will take a bit of extra effort/ingenuity to do it. I'm trying to be mustachian and frugal AND since I live in an RV, I'm trying to get rid of a lot of things still. I just don't want debt OR junk anymore!

My mom is a borderline shopaholic/hoarder. She loves to buy random things throughout the year (usually at yardsales) because they're a "good price" and can be a present for "somebody." Every year at Christmas I get my share of these random things. Most of the time to me they are just clutter.  I keep them around for a few months, try to use them, then put them away in some cupboard where I never use them again. They end up in a yard sale/trashed/given away by the end of the year anyway.

This year I already received my presents. I'm tempted instead of waiting for Christmas to just open them now. If it's something I like (i.e. useful and not just extra plastic clutter) I'll keep it, but if it's something useless, I'd rather get rid of it. I'm thinking of doing in NOW instead of waiting until after Christmas because I think with so many people out spending their money it would be easier to get rid of it by selling it BEFORE Christmas while people are buying vs. AFTER Christmas when everyone will be returning things/freaking out about January's finances.

But then I feel like a horrible selfish person for thinking this way, but when I think about keeping them instead of selling them, I just get a sinking feeling in my stomach as I wonder where to put it, how long to keep it to be considered "used enough" to discard it etc. It also bothers me to throw something out if someone else would conceivably buy it. Even if I only get $5, that's $5 closer to getting rid of my debt.

I think 99% of my friends would agree it's selfish, but then they're also the typical consumers. 

I thought I'd put the question to the Mustachians to tell me if I'm being a Grinch/holiday spirit sucker for thinking this way. Help please?


neo von retorch

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I don't think it's selfish. Presents are yours to do with as you wish (or they should be.) While there's something to be said for tradition (let's keep doing things that way because we always have!), I don't take kindly to the obligations we place on each other because of culture and tradition.

Stuff is stuff. Selling stuff is smart.

The only consideration is - will your mom know you did this? Will she be understanding or would it create a rift in your relationship?

Bob W

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Sell them back to your mom at a discount.

Future Lazy

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Sell them back to your mom at a discount.

+1


But no really, as long as it won't hurt feelings or burn bridges, get rid of it. Don't wait till Christmas, unless someone will miss out on your disappointed smile when you unwrap their knick knack.

That being said, there's a lot of time until Christmas. It might be a good time to express your desires for cash as a present - or, if you feel weird asking for cash, ask for useful gift cards, like Kroger gift cards or something that you can spend on your regular needs.

SporeSpawn

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When you say you've already received them, do you mean, "There are presents with my name on them under my mom's tree," or do you mean, "She gave me the box, wrapped, and it's in my closet, in my house, away from her"?

If the second one, open them now because she'll never know so it won't matter. If the first one, then ask how much you care about hurting her feelings/looking like a selfish person vs. how much you might get from the gifts by selling them early. Will the price of the gifts she probably gave you change much? It sounds like a bunch of second hand stuff. I really doubt you're going to score a mint by selling it two weeks before Christmas instead of two weeks after.

babysnowbyrd

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Sell them back to your mom at a discount.

Lol.

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When you say you've already received them, do you mean, "There are presents with my name on them under my mom's tree," or do you mean, "She gave me the box, wrapped, and it's in my closet, in my house, away from her"?

I live far away from home. They were mailed. I will most likely be alone Christmas. I thought about taking pictures of me with the items and just keeping them on my phone, then sending them with a heartfelt Thank You! on Christmas morning so it looks more legit. It's a long story but it's kind of normal for me to put on "shows" for my mother to keep her happy.

Thank you neogodless, Kayla EM, and Sporespawn for your answers. Sporespawn, I don't know how much the items will be worth. The kinds of things she buys from yardsales/consignment are usually still packaged (however badly) or don't really need packaging. (Tin sunflower door hanger, anyone?) I'll probably go ahead and break into them this weekend and see what I ended up with.

BooksAreNerdy

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As long as you make note of everything and send a thank you after Xmas, I don't see a problem. How would she ever know the difference?

Gone Fishing

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Rock on!  You gotta do what you gotta do when your hair is on fire.  Let us know how it goes!       

TerriM

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This sounds exactly like my mom.  The problem is that she wants to be "appreciated" and "feel useful", and both of those are expressed by appreciating the presents and finding them "useful." 

But are yours worth much anyways?  THere's a reason the items are on-sale/clearance/garage sale.

You may be able to fend this off next year.  Tell her, thanks for the presents, but with so much debt, what you really need most is for her to give you that money to pay off the debt even if it's just $20.  And then if there's something you need her to find at a garage sale, send her looking.  I found that after having kids, I started sending her looking for clothing for them.  Worked out really well actually as she was able to follow instructions pretty well, and it decreased the influx of unnecessary stuff.

babysnowbyrd

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This sounds exactly like my mom.  The problem is that she wants to be "appreciated" and "feel useful", and both of those are expressed by appreciating the presents and finding them "useful."

Exactly how mine is! No go on avoiding it next year though. She is terrible with money. I don't think should could hang on to cash to save her life. It all goes to these kinds of purchases so she is always short on cash (especially during holidays). Always an abundance of trinkets though.

I already feel mean for telling her that if I end up needing to take care of her I won't let her go shopping anymore. She looked at me like a kicked puppy.

Seņora Savings

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I think opening them early and trying to sell them to someone else is fine.  Regifting things that you consider junk, not so much.

It is rude to request gifts of money (or any other gift).  She puts time, effort and money into your gifts, by asking for money you are telling her the the first two items are worthless to you.

My recommendation would be on Christmas, tell your mother that you appreciate the gifts and they are wonderful but that your apartment is so full that you're not sure where you can put them all.  Then request that next year she use the money that she would have spent on your gifts to pay down her own debt.  Tell her that the best gift that you could receive would be to see her become more stable.

NoraLenderbee

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It isn't selfish at all to do what you want with your gifts.


I thought about taking pictures of me with the items and just keeping them on my phone, then sending them with a heartfelt Thank You! on Christmas morning so it looks more legit. It's a long story but it's kind of normal for me to put on "shows" for my mother to keep her happy.


Great idea.

tomita

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if you take the photos now: can you make sure that your photo date doesn't show dec 5th instead of 25th

just trying to help

MBot

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I would sell them now. More buyers and higher prices than after Christmas

You could also try returning at pre-Christmas prices. Even if she bought them from clearance, at your stores they may not be on clearance. I've returned duvet covers and appliances for full price tht I'm pretty sure we're purchase for me on clearance in another city. 

scrubbyfish

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I LOVE your idea!!!

Hotstreak

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It's totally fine, did you know Jesus was actually born in November?  Mary & Joseph decided to move the celebration so it wouldn't conflict with Thanksgiving plans.

Self-employed-swami

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It's totally fine, did you know Jesus was actually born in November?  Mary & Joseph decided to move the celebration so it wouldn't conflict with Thanksgiving plans.

Umm... This might be the funniest thing I've read in a while.

TerriM

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This sounds exactly like my mom.  The problem is that she wants to be "appreciated" and "feel useful", and both of those are expressed by appreciating the presents and finding them "useful."

Exactly how mine is! No go on avoiding it next year though. She is terrible with money. I don't think should could hang on to cash to save her life. It all goes to these kinds of purchases so she is always short on cash (especially during holidays). Always an abundance of trinkets though.

I already feel mean for telling her that if I end up needing to take care of her I won't let her go shopping anymore. She looked at me like a kicked puppy.

Interesting..... Mine is very, very frugal which is why she buys this stuff--it's a good deal.  I think though, she finally got the message, as she's started asking what we want for Christmas even if it costs a lot more.  Don't quite know what changed.

babysnowbyrd

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Here's an update for those of who chimed in!

I was actually pleasantly surprised! Two gifts were quite thoughtful and one was immediately useful so I'm glad I opened it! Just one gift was a "meh." It won't be worth reselling, but it'll be good enough for the upcoming office white elephant gift exchange!

I feel really good and I'm glad I didn't wait.

scrubbyfish

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Awesome!!!!! (On every count.)

Thanks for letting us know -I was curious what decision you'd make, and what the impact would be.

neo von retorch

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I feel really good and I'm glad I didn't wait.

Excellent! Happy for you :)

aschmidt2930

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Sell them back to your mom at a discount.

Lol.

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When you say you've already received them, do you mean, "There are presents with my name on them under my mom's tree," or do you mean, "She gave me the box, wrapped, and it's in my closet, in my house, away from her"?

I live far away from home. They were mailed. I will most likely be alone Christmas. I thought about taking pictures of me with the items and just keeping them on my phone, then sending them with a heartfelt Thank You! on Christmas morning so it looks more legit. It's a long story but it's kind of normal for me to put on "shows" for my mother to keep her happy.

Thank you neogodless, Kayla EM, and Sporespawn for your answers. Sporespawn, I don't know how much the items will be worth. The kinds of things she buys from yardsales/consignment are usually still packaged (however badly) or don't really need packaging. (Tin sunflower door hanger, anyone?) I'll probably go ahead and break into them this weekend and see what I ended up with.

Take the pictures now and send them on Christmas :)