Author Topic: Holiday non-badassity  (Read 6057 times)

G-dog

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Holiday non-badassity
« on: December 19, 2014, 06:02:53 PM »
I've been buying Christmas gifts and stocking up for New Year's Eve and feel like I am just bleeding money! I am not a shopper, and it is not that I am spending that much or spending more than I can afford - but this last week or so has been a bit painful.

I just found this site earlier this year, and instilled some new habits to help my new FIRE goal. So even though I like giving gifts, I feel like I am negating some earlier good work.

Sorry, just had to vent in a safe environment.


TheThirstyStag

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2014, 04:26:33 PM »
I don't think you're alone.  Even though I receive gifts in return, I still feel like I'm hemorrhaging money at this time of year. 

How much have you spent on gifts?

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2014, 08:32:00 PM »
Please don't feel like the Lone Ranger: I'm beginning to think that I shouldn't be allowed out with credit cards without adult supervision.

Take a deep breath, and promise yourself you're going to better next year.

getgoing

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2014, 08:59:09 PM »
I've managed to negotiate all holiday spending down to white elephant affairs, which is a huge boon to me because a) there usually is a $15 or less price limit per person and b) it's a fun game. But then I'm one of those people who really hates getting gifts and I'm a bit of a scrooge when it comes to xmas, so it's definitely not for everyone.

lizzie

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2014, 06:58:13 AM »
Oh man, I hear you. I discovered this site earlier this year too and we've made some really positive changes. My dh has been pretty good about going along with it but there's a limit to how far he wants to go and Christmas has turned into kind of a challenge.

I've had a couple of epiphanies over the last week or so. One is that, while I enjoy giving gifts and feeling generous, I only enjoy it when it's inspired by the thought that "this is something the recipient will really like." A lot of the gift-giving that happens in dh's family, though, seems to me to be inspired more by competition, or a desire not to look cheap. So even if you find the perfect gift for someone, it's not good enough if it only costs, say, $10-$20.

This has always annoyed me, but having adopted a much more mustachian mindset since last Christmas I can hardly stand it. The most ridiculous part about it all, to me, is that everyone in dh's family is a well-paid professional (including us). We are all perfectly capable of buying whatever consumer nonsense we want, so if there's something we don't have, it's because we don't want it or have decided it's not worth the money.  Yet we all waste enormous amounts of money on this weird passive-aggressive game of oneupmanship.

It's going to take some deep breathing and tongue-biting to get through this. Thanks for the safe place to vent!

sarah8001

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2014, 07:22:09 AM »
I've had a couple of epiphanies over the last week or so. One is that, while I enjoy giving gifts and feeling generous, I only enjoy it when it's inspired by the thought that "this is something the recipient will really like." A lot of the gift-giving that happens in dh's family, though, seems to me to be inspired more by competition, or a desire not to look cheap. So even if you find the perfect gift for someone, it's not good enough if it only costs, say, $10-$20.

Dang, I know just how you feel! I've always been of the mind that presents are to make people that you know happy by getting something you know they'll like, to get to know somebody by figuring out what they'd like, or to just give a general expression of goodwill. My fiance's family, however, has a big gift exchange where everyone draws someone and then must spend 50$ on that person. Since they don't all know each other that well, the most commonly exchanged gift is a gift card! They literally all hand each other 50$ gift cards on Xmas! I don't get it. Getting something besides the requested gift card is frowned upon (no sneakily figuring out the perfect present and getting it at a hell of a deal, just buy the Sephora giftcard and call it a day).

Kansas Beachbum

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2014, 07:39:02 AM »
I suspect this is a common feeling among this group.  Happens every year for me, although we do have a gift budget in advance and do a pretty good job sticking to it.  I just keep reminding myself it's like this every year, and it's ok...as long as you're not putting anything of plastic that you don't immediately pay off in January :-) .  We've been for several years trying to instill in our kids the value of "experience" gifts vs. more stuff.  They are finally beginning to understand...going somewhere and having an experience is much more valuable than another pair of overpriced jeans, or the latest electronic doodad. 

Relax and enjoy...Happy Holidays all.

pachnik

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2014, 08:22:24 AM »
so glad to see this thread.  Feeling pretty un-mustachian this morning. 

I actually buy very little stuff - niece and nephew will be getting cash or a gift card - they are too old for toys now.  The husband is getting new pajamas + a month's worth of dance lessons.  We will take my parents out for dinner in January.  A close friend is getting a magazine and chocolates.  She and I usually exchange little things like this. 

For work, I am going to bake some oatmeal cookies.  There are 4 of us in all at the office so I think that will be fine.  Taking a veggies and dip platter to a Christmas Eve party and hosting Christmas Day on Boxing Day for my family.  Everybody brings something so it isn't all on us. 

I do have to get something for a $10/gift exchange for one of the parties but I will just get a Starbucks card.  They usually go over well.   I would love to do a white elephant one.  That sounds like it could be fun.

G-dog

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2014, 05:53:25 PM »
I don't think you're alone.  Even though I receive gifts in return, I still feel like I'm hemorrhaging money at this time of year. 

How much have you spent on gifts?

About $200 so far. I need to get my husband something still

G-dog

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2014, 06:04:12 PM »
I don't think you're alone.  Even though I receive gifts in return, I still feel like I'm hemorrhaging money at this time of year. 

How much have you spent on gifts?

About $200 so far. I need to get my husband something still
The above is gifts alone. For New Year's Eve (folks coming over), I'll probably spend another $200 on food and drink. I'll make all the food, but decent cheeses and booze add up!

I think part of this for me is also the end of year pressure at work, and in life in general - take stock of how well you've done in meeting your goals, etc.

G-dog

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2014, 06:05:57 PM »
I've managed to negotiate all holiday spending down to white elephant affairs, which is a huge boon to me because a) there usually is a $15 or less price limit per person and b) it's a fun game. But then I'm one of those people who really hates getting gifts and I'm a bit of a scrooge when it comes to xmas, so it's definitely not for everyone.

I've tried to convince my husband to not exchange gifts at Christmas - no luck so far. So I try to keep it to simple things I can use.

G-dog

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2014, 06:09:48 PM »
Oh man, I hear you. I discovered this site earlier this year too and we've made some really positive changes. My dh has been pretty good about going along with it but there's a limit to how far he wants to go and Christmas has turned into kind of a challenge.

I've had a couple of epiphanies over the last week or so. One is that, while I enjoy giving gifts and feeling generous, I only enjoy it when it's inspired by the thought that "this is something the recipient will really like." A lot of the gift-giving that happens in dh's family, though, seems to me to be inspired more by competition, or a desire not to look cheap. So even if you find the perfect gift for someone, it's not good enough if it only costs, say, $10-$20.

This has always annoyed me, but having adopted a much more mustachian mindset since last Christmas I can hardly stand it. The most ridiculous part about it all, to me, is that everyone in dh's family is a well-paid professional (including us). We are all perfectly capable of buying whatever consumer nonsense we want, so if there's something we don't have, it's because we don't want it or have decided it's not worth the money.  Yet we all waste enormous amounts of money on this weird passive-aggressive game of oneupmanship.

It's going to take some deep breathing and tongue-biting to get through this. Thanks for the safe place to vent!

It is wonderful when you find the perfect gift isn't it?! We are all so busy anymore, it is hard to have the time or mental capacity to hunt down the perfect gift - I think I used to be good at this, but anymore I feel like I am just getting them something OK.  That may be part of my angst this year.

G-dog

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2014, 06:12:22 PM »
I've had a couple of epiphanies over the last week or so. One is that, while I enjoy giving gifts and feeling generous, I only enjoy it when it's inspired by the thought that "this is something the recipient will really like." A lot of the gift-giving that happens in dh's family, though, seems to me to be inspired more by competition, or a desire not to look cheap. So even if you find the perfect gift for someone, it's not good enough if it only costs, say, $10-$20.

Dang, I know just how you feel! I've always been of the mind that presents are to make people that you know happy by getting something you know they'll like, to get to know somebody by figuring out what they'd like, or to just give a general expression of goodwill. My fiance's family, however, has a big gift exchange where everyone draws someone and then must spend 50$ on that person. Since they don't all know each other that well, the most commonly exchanged gift is a gift card! They literally all hand each other 50$ gift cards on Xmas! I don't get it. Getting something besides the requested gift card is frowned upon (no sneakily figuring out the perfect present and getting it at a hell of a deal, just buy the Sephora giftcard and call it a day).

Sounds like everyone should bring a $50 gift card, throw them in a hat, and draw randomly.  One extra card to the online sex toy shop would sure spice up the festivities!

SMCx3

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2014, 07:58:43 PM »
Man I have struggled sticking with our gift budget this year.  2014 has been good to us in regards to saving, but it is disheartening to see how fast gifts add up for family and friends.

Appreciate the thread.  Comforting to know I am not alone this month.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2014, 10:44:22 AM »

About $200 so far. I need to get my husband something still

I am so glad my husband doesn't expect that we exchange gifts.  We share finances- anything one of us gives the other isn't a gift, it was just a purchase. 

CheapskateWife

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2014, 11:00:38 AM »
Hi, I'm Cheapskate Wife, and I let guilt rule my Christmas.

I had been feeling like an MMM failure this month, by shelling out nearly $1000 for Christmas gifts.  Part of that is providing a rather hefty gift of lots of clothing for my nieces (whose parents are often unable to make ends meet) so that felt good. 

My bonus kids however don't need a damn thing, because their mom and maternal grandparents buy them all sorts of extravagent stuff especially at the holidays (each boy has their own gaming systems, computers, flat screen tv's in their rooms, etc)....so I feel the pressure to keep up, even though it is likely our very expensive child support that helps her buy those iphones and gaming systems.  Oh, and did I mention we get to pay for their plane tickets too so they can come see their dad twice a year?

Why do I let myself fall into this awful trap...it ought to be enough to say "for Christmas, you get to see your dad."  Or, "for Christmas, you get tuition."  But somehow I let myself feel like we need to keep up with the other family, and its so unhealthy.

yoga mama

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2014, 12:00:58 PM »
I'm feeling the same way.  I am spending a little too much on my hubby, actually - we share finances but since we've fallen in love with bicycling (via MMM!) there are lots of little wants/needs.  Bike lights, drink carrier, etc.  We are easing away from giving with the extended family though, we will opt out of one exchange starting next year, which leaves us in 2 total ($50 each, per person, so $200 there) along with an exchange for our kids with their first cousins (as of next year there will be 9 kids, so buying for everyone was getting old for all of us). 

Gift exchanges, however, have been such a lifesaver for us.  So much easier to just pick out something for one person, than to have to find some dumb little thing for 10-15 people.  I've been working on convincing people that we should all take a little vacation together rather than exchange gifts.  No dice yet.

G-dog

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2014, 09:31:56 AM »
Husband wanted sweatpants, so I got him two pair yesterday. I also found something online I think he will like/can use. It will be about $40 in gifts for him.

I hope everyone is having a badass Christmas, hannukah, Kwanzaa, festivus, solstice, Thursday...

Alchemilla

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2014, 09:49:07 AM »
  Even though I receive gifts in return, I still feel like I'm hemorrhaging money at this time of year.

This.

JeffC

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #19 on: December 25, 2014, 10:10:03 AM »
I'm with you, although I did take some steps this year to curtail the spending. 

It isn't so much the spending of money as it is the frivolity of it all.  I have created the habit for myself of very carefully evaluating the need of any purchase, not only to save myself money, but to hopefully help save our environment from the toll of making impermanent things without need. Usually I hold off on buying something I really want for at least 60 days.  Often, I have forgotten all about that thing I felt so obsessed about owning just 2 months prior.  If I still want the thing after that period, I know I will feel good about the purchase and will hold onto it for a very long time.  There's no way to give gifts with that level of scrutiny, and there's no way you could ever hope to receive gifts that would pass that sort of test from someone else, unless by chance.

For this reason, it feels like money just being completely wasted (which it actually is) not only for you, but for others on your behalf.  After becoming a minimalist and an anti-consumer who builds his own furniture out of reclaimed lumber and the like, it is really hard to just piss away a bunch of money on worthless trinkets.  Last year, I brought this up with my siblings and their families and they agreed we should be more minimal.  Careful what you ask for - this caused a problem for me because I could no longer give my artwork (I'm a professional potter) as it "exceeded the value" of the 20 dollar cap we agreed upon.  I gave my art and everyone then they felt bad about not giving me anything near as high dollar (I sell mugs for 75 bucks each).  So due to the cap, I had to switch to buying crappy consumer goods.  This year I convinced them that the time away from our lives and money spent traveling in order to be together was the best and most meaningful gift we could ever give, so why do we need to also give cheap objects to each other.  They agreed!

There's hope for a way out but it might take a number of years.

 
« Last Edit: December 25, 2014, 10:13:41 AM by JeffC »

Travis

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #20 on: December 25, 2014, 01:09:05 PM »
This is definitely the most expensive time of the year (gifts, traveling, eating out).  I just finished balancing the books (YNAB) for this month.  I budgeted $400 for Christmas and we ended up spending about $550.  My wife did all the shopping (I'm out of town this year) and while she's not a big spender, she insists on gifts for people I might not necessarily feel the need for.  She baked snacks for the neighbors, we gave school photos of our son to most extended family (some in frames), toys/books/clothes to the smaller children (our son, my best friend's son, her best friend's 3 kids, her nephew), gift cards/cash to the elder children (my nephews and niece) and dvds/magazine subscriptions to our parents.  The most expensive single gift was a bottle of alcohol to my brother in law.  Since I'm often not around for the holidays it's tough to know if I'm not giving her a realistic budget or we could make some compromises somewhere.

ash7962

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2014, 12:10:31 PM »
There's hope for a way out but it might take a number of years.

That's kinda how I'm feeling right now.  This year has been a little frustrating for me because in addition to finding MMM and reducing the amount of things I buy, I've also been trying to reduce the number of things I already have.  I cringed when it became December because I imagined the influx of both stuff and spending that I'd have to deal with.  So, I tried to suggest that we don't do gifts this year, but after some initial tentative probing I realized that would not happen.  I was successful in getting everyone to share what they would like for Christmas which was my attempt at ensuring both that I'd be getting my family meaningful gifts they could use and also that I'd only receive gifts that I would buy myself.  I feel like it was a first step down the road to less Christmas gifts.

Greg

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Re: Holiday non-badassity
« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2014, 01:56:03 PM »
There's hope for a way out but it might take a number of years.

That's kinda how I'm feeling right now.  This year has been a little frustrating for me because in addition to finding MMM and reducing the amount of things I buy, I've also been trying to reduce the number of things I already have.  I cringed when it became December because I imagined the influx of both stuff and spending that I'd have to deal with.  So, I tried to suggest that we don't do gifts this year, but after some initial tentative probing I realized that would not happen.  I was successful in getting everyone to share what they would like for Christmas which was my attempt at ensuring both that I'd be getting my family meaningful gifts they could use and also that I'd only receive gifts that I would buy myself.  I feel like it was a first step down the road to less Christmas gifts.

Yes it's that time of year.  But, there are small victories.  I spent a small fortune on a wood stove chimney, but the propane savings will pay that back in 2-3 years.  And, the wood is constantly generated at work (design/build).  This was our "family" gift.  Rather than buying a lot of gifts, we each made a short list of gift ideas and also made a rule that the list wasn't meant to be all-or-nothing, but suggestive.  I made my kid a cool t-shirt with a design she likes using special printer paper I got for free, and made my sweetie a sweater drying rack out of some scrap wood and window screen material.  I also gave my kid a very nice drafting compass set for her schoolwork, I haven't used it for 25 years and it was still in the case and had all the bits.  Everyone else got honey from my bees.  Suggesting no gifts for extended family is easy, as they are older and on limited income anyway.  Their visiting was special enough and we made that the point ahead of time.

I've been getting rid of stuff on a Buy Nothing facebook group.  Extra clothes, toys, shoes, you name it.  Easier than trying to sell it and often the things go to folks who could use the help.  Not always but I'm ok with that.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2014, 01:58:25 PM by Greg »