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Cash flowing X-MAS gifts, B-day, Prop Tax due December

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    Cash flowing X-MAS gifts, B-day, Prop Tax due December

    We've always tap into our savings every December. We've spent anywhere from $3000 our lowest in about a decade to about $5000 last year; excluding food, utilities, gas, and entertainment. It seems like December’s expenses just keep going up every year. This time, we are highly motivated to stick to the budget.

    Our family has gone to a complete transformation using DR's zero based budgeting. We are debt free except our mortgage. We paid off about $24K in debt this year and sold my car (bought a beater). We became a huge supporter of DR’s principle. This will be our first year of implementing this budget. Our goal is to Cash Flow December’s expenses without tapping into our savings (except for Emergency). November’s budget is complete.

    While we are putting together the budget for December, eliminating all other discretionary spending, entertainment, saving contributions, extra mortgage payment, and food budget at bare minimum. We reduced our monthly expenses like car insurance, cable/internet, and iPhone with AT&T combined monthly savings of about $200, or $2400 a year.

    Our daughter is turning 10 in December, we list a budget of $500 for her, Christmas $2500, and property tax due $1500 a total of $4500.

    I guess, my question to you all what steps have you taken to afford December’s expenses without tapping into your savings?
    Last edited by tripods68; 10-16-2015, 10:03 AM.
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    #2
    Over the years, my family has cut way back on gift giving. Adults exchange small gifts, less than $50, there are 5 of us. Friends and I no longer gift, instead we make dates to do stuff. I have a 16 yr old girl and a 18 yr old son. I used to spend $200 on them plus stockings. Last year I was ill, money was tight. I cut them to $100 plus stockings and amazingly they did not complain. So $100 is the new standard in my eyes, since I am worse off than last year.

    They want cash or gift cards usually, I hate that. Nothing to open. Their dad can do that. This year, I didn't ask what they wanted, I'm doing it and trying to get the very most for my money. DS will be in school next fall and DD travels a bit, will be in college after next year and she took my very best suitcase (I want it back, lol). So I found a Slickdeal on nice but way discounted suitcase sets, they will be needing those. They will probably complain so since those were under $100, I am searching high and low online to find incredible deals on things they will like. This has been surprisingly easy and I am amazed how far $5 can get you on deal sites.

    Then I kept going, doing the same thing for my dad, my brother and his GF. I have not hit anywhere close to $50 each and have a decent amount so far. In fact, I may stop on my brother and the GF, since it already looks like $50 worth. Need a bit more for my dad.

    My total needs to be below $350 for two kids and 3 adults.

    My mom and I don't exchange, we get really cheap season passes to the local rep theater and go together to 6 plays, we love it. Sadly, she is slowing way down from a terminal illness, no more season passes for us. They don't go on sale til May so maybe things will be better by then but doubtful. But we bought them this May, promising that would be all we do for Christmas. However, if this is her last Christmas, i need to do something meaningful but IDK what. The last thing she needs is more stuff. Before we did the season passes, she wanted donations in her name to a third world country where you can buy a family a goat or a cow, etc. (there is a legit charity for this and they have a nice catalog that shows what your money can do. Except I cannot remember their name just now.)

    then I need a few hostess gifts, done, $5 each for really pretty and unique pot holders (sounds stupid but they are nice) and a few small things for the cleaning lady who has become family, she is so good to my mom. I'll get her a few inexpensive things and my folks can give her cash, (not in my budget this year).

    Between my mom and the hostess stuff, I am trying to spend only $50-100 total. Bringing Christmas giving to $450. We entertain at Tgiving, so we don't host another event at Christmas. People stop by but no big parties.

    I budget for holiday bills by spending less in other categories for a few months before Christmas. The bill comes, it's not that much more than other months, and I pay it in full. This year, buying in dribs and drabs is making it even easier to avoid a big bill in January. I would never ever spend so much that I had to dip into savings.

    What do you mean by Christmas $2500 at the end of your post? Gift giving other than your daughter? Entertaining?

    If you want to cut back and make Christmas less about gifts and instead, focus on time with friends and family, I suggest reading Unplug the Christmas Machine. That changed the way I do Christmas and she has some really good ideas.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by tripods68 View Post
      Our daughter is turning 10 in December, we list a budget of $500 for her, Christmas $2500
      Is that $500 and $2,500 for gifts? If so, I'd attack that number. That's a huge amount to be spending on gifts. How many people is that $2,500 for? Do you really need to get all of them gifts? Can you do homemade stuff instead for at least some of them - baked goods, maybe something handmade if any of you have a craft or hobby that you do. Or just sit down with these people NOW and tell them that the gift giving needs to be cut back. Agree together to eliminate the gift swapping. Chances are they'll be happy too because they may be struggling to afford it just as your are.
      Steve

      * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
      * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
      * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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        #4
        Originally posted by tripods68 View Post
        I guess, my question to you all what steps have you taken to afford Decemberís expenses without tapping into your savings?
        I save for XMAS, property taxes, and other quarterly/yearly expenses throughout the year. I reduce my savings in Quicken by a certain amount each month so I do not get fooled into thinking I have more money than I really do.

        If you like going all out at XMAS, and can afford to, there is nothing wrong with that. Some people will spend their money on vacations, gadgets, etc. during the year and not spend as much at XMAS.

        Comment


          #5
          Just to clarify $500 maximum is just for daughter's birthday gifts includes food expenses/entertainment that day.

          $2500 is maximum allocated towards Christmas for everything. That include spending for us and our kids. We also plan to buy gifts for 15 adults, and 6 children; in addition gifts to my 2 coworkers, my wife's 2 coworkers, our 4 friends and their kids, and daughter's teacher. We are stretching that budget. Our goal is not to go over that budget. IF we succeed or spend less that's simply a bonus. Since Christmas will not be in our house, it will be my sister's house, (real happy about that ) it would be cheaper, it means less food expense and entertainment. I know to some of you $2500 is a lot, but we do have the budget for compared last year.

          Next year we are hoping to reduce Christmas budget by $500.00
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          www.mo-moneyman.com

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by tripods68 View Post

            I guess, my question to you all what steps have you taken to afford Decemberís expenses without tapping into your savings?
            We save 1/12 monthly, for all non-monthly expenses (which would cover property taxes).

            As to Christmas/December, we don't partake for the most part. So we don't have any large expenses to cover. Our Christmas budget is literally $0. Growing up we all had birthdays in December and we were lucky to get one Xmas gift. A big To-do was never made about Christmas. These days, none of our friends or family want to exchange gifts; kids too spoiled by grandparents. So we put less effort into our kids' Christmases than our parents did. I also have a crazy work schedule in December so have really bowed out. If my work situation was different I'd maybe be more into the homemade spirit. Anyway, as our Christmases get less materialistic over the years, it all seems more insane to me. (I did not know before how extravagant Christmas was for so many). Of course there is nothing wrong with it if you can afford it, but I do wonder how many people really stop and think about it. OR how much is just something you do because it's something you have always done, or feel some obligation. It makes me sad to see how much people stress over Christmas and go into debt over it.

            Comment


              #7
              I think you can save at least $500 this year, instead of waiting til next year.

              ITA on trying to get other adults to stop swapping gifts, no one has ever declined when I've done it. Say you'll do lunch instead. If you find yourself never doing that lunch, then that is a person you probably do not need to exchange gifts with, kwim? If a year goes by, neither of you have arranged for lunch or even seen each other, this likely is a person whom you can cut out entirely.

              And then for the kids, have each kid pull another kid's name out of a hat. Then each kid goes with the parent and picks out a gift. The parents give suggestions on what the kids like. The kids like picking out the present.

              Teachers, I got the least expensive item from that catalog that helps third world countries, and donated it in their name. Tight years, I'd have the kids make her something.

              Everywhere I have worked, we have decided to stop Christmas giving and everyone was relieved. Can you suggest that to your co-workers?

              Your list has 24 adults on it and plus more than 6 kids. I can see 6 kids but 24 adults? If you have the money for 24 adults, enjoy doing it then go for it. If not, and you are using savings or whatnot, I would figure out a way to cull that list or find something you can make homemade.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by FLA View Post
                Before we did the season passes, she wanted donations in her name to a third world country where you can buy a family a goat or a cow, etc. (there is a legit charity for this and they have a nice catalog that shows what your money can do. Except I cannot remember their name just now.)
                Heifer International. A good charity that our family has given to in the past.
                My other blog is Your Organized Friend.

                Comment


                  #9
                  We save for gifts all year long. This year a mere $600 will be saved by Dec 1. We have never been as high as $2500, but probably $1200. The people we buy for is dwindling by mutual choice.

                  At this point we buy for our two daughters, ourselves (if we decide to, some years we don't), my husband's mom, and maybe five others (it depends on the year). I break it down this way:
                  $100 for each daughter
                  $50 each spouse
                  $50 mother in law
                  $25 for five others

                  That's $475 if you do the math. Leaving us with another $125 for a small gift for work, stamps for cards, wrapping paper and meal items. It may be less if we don't buy for the five others.
                  My other blog is Your Organized Friend.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by tripods68 View Post
                    I guess, my question to you all what steps have you taken to afford Decemberís expenses without tapping into your savings?
                    I'll echo what others have offered: I save a set amount each month to cover irregular expenses throughout the year, like Xmas gifts. These include: HOA fee, car registration, estimated taxes, birthday gifts, annual vet visits, vacation, show choir fee, etc... All added up, this is a significant amount but splitting it in 12 helps with the monthly cash flow.

                    Tom

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by FLA View Post
                      I think you can save at least $500 this year, instead of waiting til next year.

                      Everywhere I have worked, we have decided to stop Christmas giving and everyone was relieved. Can you suggest that to your co-workers?

                      Your list has 24 adults on it and plus more than 6 kids. I can see 6 kids but 24 adults? If you have the money for 24 adults, enjoy doing it then go for it. If not, and you are using savings or whatnot, I would figure out a way to cull that list or find something you can make homemade.

                      Christmas is a big deal for our large family. Its a tradition that we cherish every year growing up. Up to the day of Christmas we get together at least once a week, if its not in our house, it's over cousin, or my parents, or sister. Mainly these are food and alcohol expenses. We don't mind spending that much for Christmas either (sorry if I sounded that way) as long its in our budget. My wife's work and my work have a holiday tradition. We attend each other holiday party, secret Santa, and gift exchanges with $20 limit. It gets old sometimes but I do enjoy it.

                      Two years ago, my son broke my wife's ipad. We are replacing that with the new ipad with stylus. I think it cost $650 plus tax. That's a big chunk of the $2500. We're also looking to buy my parents a weekend package trip to Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno (couples package and massage). We're splitting this cost with my sister around $400-$500. We sister's brother in-law is coming for Christmas from Virginia. She wants to take a weekend trip for all of us to Lake Tahoe (house for rent). We're setting aside at least $500 to split the cost for accommodation.
                      Got debt?
                      www.mo-moneyman.com

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by tomhole View Post
                        I'll echo what others have offered: I save a set amount each month to cover irregular expenses throughout the year, like Xmas gifts. These include: HOA fee, car registration, estimated taxes, birthday gifts, annual vet visits, vacation, show choir fee, etc... All added up, this is a significant amount but splitting it in 12 helps with the monthly cash flow.

                        Tom

                        We tried to set aside $200 a month but it hasn't work very well for us. Hopefully with our new approach in budgeting we will not have this issue.
                        Got debt?
                        www.mo-moneyman.com

                        Comment


                          #13
                          We haven't a budget yet for spending but this year we might. We've never spent anything for the kids at Christmas. They get enough. I usually budget $25 for each teacher and last year I spent at the end of the year $200 for 8 teachers. Ugh.

                          I refuse to exchange with friends for holidays and birthday I do. But I usually do a book or gift card for birthday parties. I also ask for a book instead of a toy for my kid's birthday or nothing is fine too.
                          LivingAlmostLarge Blog

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                            #14
                            We stepped out of the holiday frenzy several years ago when we observed too many manic shoppers, buying expensive gifts that were not valued nor enjoyed by the recipient, with money not yet earned, to impress people they really didn't even like.

                            With DS1's birthday December 26th, we celebrated several family birthdays and Christmas with one event for kiddies in the early afternoon [when DSs were youngsters]; open house for adults 7 PM onward for drinks, holiday food and entertainment. I discovered it's far more satisfying to spend the money and effort for a fun event than to offer relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbours more clutter-like gifts.

                            I've a gift/entertainment budget that is funded 1/12 each month plus a holiday supplement in December. With both sons remaining in the east this holiday season and surgery, I've modified plans to a holiday, buffet dinner on the 26th

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by creditcardfree View Post
                              Heifer International. A good charity that our family has given to in the past.
                              thanks so much!

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