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G.O.O.D (getting out of debt) Nov-Dec. Thread - Page 2

post #21 of 90
Am I the only one who thinks that Christmas should be about spending time together and doing nice things, but not about the "stuff" that comes with it?
nope. but american society doesn't see it that way!

I just compiled for my MIL a list of things we'd like for christmas -- they include:
membership to the zoo
membership to the children's museum
magazine subscriptions

you get the picture. She's unhappy without a "list" and I try to have the list handy of things we can do.
post #22 of 90
I had to nag and whine to get my family to agree to a lottery for Christmas. Before that we were buying gifts for 20 people for my family alone. Some of these people I saw once a year for Christmas and that's it. I went along with it til the year after my dd was born when I had to shop for and wrap presents for all these people with a 2 month old in tow. That's when I realized how ridiculous it all was. I wanted us to just not exchange gifts but my mom and aunt whined that it would ruin Christmas. So I suggested we each pick one name but they insisted on three. So it's better at least. Now we have to buy for 3 relatives. And this year I pulled my mom's cousin who I see once a year and speak to for maybe 2 minutes :LOL Thanks for the Cindy's porch link (was that this thread?). I shopped at home and already found a present for her.

You know, I don't want to completely do away with gifts, but I hate how out of control they get. I wish we could just give gifts to the people we really care about instead of being obligated to give to everyone, yk?

I swallowed my pride (what pride? :LOL) and asked my mom to buy my dd the big ticket item I wanted to get her this year. Thankfully we have already limited presents with the kids anyway so they won't be shocked or anything this year. We've always put a limit of 2 or 3 gifts each on Christmas morning so that much won't change. But I did want to get her a violin this year since she's been asking for one. Ok, not really big ticket since I picked out a cheap one but it's still money I can't spend. My mom was thrilled because she never knows what to get and now she's getting a present dd will be guaranteed to love. My dd will be happy she gets her violin. I don't get to give it to her myself, but I'll live, right?
post #23 of 90

I wonder why...

our families think we are the weird ones. YK? My ils always give about 4-600/person at Christmas. I just don't need that much stuff. I would rather do the soup kitchen thing and teach my child that Christmas is about giving to those who are in need then about getting more stuff. The veggie tales christmas tape keeps coming to mind. You need more toys...christmas is when you get stuff...I personally don't need any more stuff either. I may copy your list kerc and get lots of memberships for fun places to go. It rocks. I've been trying for years to get the family to stop giving presents and everyone just thinks I'm weird. I'd rather be weird then thinking life is about getting more stuff.
post #24 of 90
Originally Posted by ShannonCC
I wanted us to just not exchange gifts but my mom and aunt whined that it would ruin Christmas. So I suggested we each pick one name but they insisted on three. So it's better at least. Now we have to buy for 3 relatives. And this year I pulled my mom's cousin who I see once a year and speak to for maybe 2 minutes
That's funny. My mom wanted to draw names with my siblings and siblings in law and I pointed out that the problem with that is that we could easily have my DH pick my sister's DH. The two haven't spent more than 12 cumulative hours together and have absolutely nothing in common. At that point it becomes gift giving for the sake of appearances, which drives me crazy. Frankly I WOULD cut out gift-giving completely if I could. I really like Christmas - the get togethers and the charity and the music and the food. I don't think it's any better than Thanksgiving though, which doesn't entail millions of dollars spent at the mall and a whole lot of packaging going into a landfill.

BTW - the center for a new american dream (or something like that) has a booklet that you can print from their website that talks about ways to scale down Christmas. It's definitely worth reading.
post #25 of 90
I am not a poster on this thread, as we don't really have any debt, but I LOVE to read it, and see all the great money saving ideas on here. I hope no one minds me sticking my nose it

For Christmas giving at large gatherings you might want to mention the exchange game. My DH's extended family all do this. Everyone brings a $5 item (you can get some neat stuff for just $5, or recycle presents you don't like from the other side of the family . The gifts all go onto a big table, and everyone draws a number. Number one gets to pick first, and opens a present. Number 2 can either take #1s present, or open another present. If your present gets taken, then you either take another person's present, or open a new one. At the end of the game #1 trades his/her gift for the gift he/she wants. It's fun to see all the creative wrappings in this game, all kinds of recyled bows, and a mismash of papers, streamers, ect to entice someone to pick that particular gift! They love it so much they also play a gag game round w/ gag gifts, like a trashcan, household cleaners, stuff you don't need anymore, but is still nice (yes, that's 2 rounds of this game, w/ 20+ people, and it takes a few hours). I like that it eliminates trying to find a perfect gift for someone I barely know. ALso, if you have anyone (boyfriends, girlfriends, ect.) that decide to come last minute, they can still get to open presents. They do also exchange names, but the main event of the evening is the gift games (and the paperwad fights *even at 30 my DH loves this part *).

BTW, I also shopped my house, and found some nice presents already That was a good link!
post #26 of 90


The Complete Tightwad Gazette! You can borrow a copy from your library. It even has a bead maze that you can make yourself. I got one of these in a trade on mamabarter, but this book has one that you can make yourself! I bought inexpensive arts and crafts stuff and I'm putting it together for the kids in the family. My kids will get one gift from dh and I each. The grandparents will I'm sure, send more than they could ever need. I sent them a list the other night.

I am in debt up to my eyeballs, but we are getting out slowly. We pay minimum on everything except one, where we put any spare money towards. Every time dh gets a raise or advances he sets up an allotment to go into a savings account. It's saved our rears a few times. Our kids play with the toys they have. We don't buy new toys often if ever. I buy books from the book orders from school as "gifts". I buy toys off of ebay for gifts for my kids. They love all of the old fisher price toys. I buy clothes from Old Navy for dh (he wears uniforms to work). His jeans and t-shirts are all he needs. This year he came home with two foul weather jackets from a storage locker. They can no longer use them and cannot donate them. I was worried how I would afford a new jacket (I lost 120lbs since last year). I still have a Large one of those jackets. It's really ugly but boy is it warm. I go thrifting! We have some great thrift stores.

I run the freecycle in my area and it's slowly getting up and running.
post #27 of 90
ok I'm up and not sleeping at 430 am. so...here's the center for the new american dream website (thanks for the wonderful reminder!).


here's the holiday part

we've talked in the past about what do we teach our kiddos about money -- I really like the new american dream's section on kids and consumerism. I need a reminder (often) that do-ing is so much more fun than get-ing.

and a totally side note: I bought my 4th stroller today : I'm taking Erin with me to San Fransisco alone next month. We have two joggers + one travel system but the travel thingy is in California with my new neice (ok she's 6 months). This represents the first time in about a year I wanted the graco stroller and didn't have it to use. So I forked out some decent cash on a stroller for travel, I just didn't see it working otherwise. Stroller #1 was purchased bc I couldn't carry erin post c/s. And #2 is really a bike trailer/ski trailer we use almost daily in winter but requires removal of all three wheels and some gymnastics to get it into either my car or ski box on top of my car. I did get dh to agree to sell one of those joggers next spring on ebay if we aren't using it frequently. Thanks for reading my little book on strollers, I'm feeling better now.
post #28 of 90


One of the ideas which I am trying to implement in my family is the idea of giving only3 gifts. When I am asked why by family members I tell them that the Wisemen only gave 3 gifts so DS and us should only get 3 gifts. I know that the grandparents will be giving far more than that. We are lucky this year that my family has decided to give only stocking gifts since my siblings and myself have very little money.
post #29 of 90
I would love it if we could all just buy *one* nice gift for everyone. Sigh. The kids I get 2 or 3 for but I HATE that I feel obligated to buy multiple ones for the inlaws. I have been silently protesting the past few years and only get them a few things each, as opposed to the pile of stuff they give us (it's sad too because after all this time they still don't know me so I get all sorts of knick knacks and gadgets that fit their tastes but that don't fit me at all).

Heh, I have too many strollers too : :LOL Dh laughs at it. I'm really into baby wearing but sometimes I wanted a stroller when they were older. Well (since strollers are inherantly not as convenient as baby wearing IMO) I could never find the perfect stroller. So I kept buying more and more in search of the Holy Grail of Strollers. Never found it (and at least all but one were bought from thrift stores so while it was a waste of money it wasn't as bad as it could have been). We are not having any more kids so I have officially given up. We are down to two strollers (a regular and a jogging one) and I'm never buying another one.

This thread sure is inspirational

I decided I'd crochet scarves for the inlaws for Christmas. Then I was stupid enough to ask them their favorite colors I have the colors for BIL and MIL, but I don't have the right ones for SIL and GMIL. Well, if I have to buy two colors of yarn that will still be pretty inespensive and BIL/MIL's presents will be free since I have those. I was thinking we could give them all cookies or fudge or something on the side along with the scarves. It might be a bit awkward when they roll out the dozens of knick knacks and stuff they will give us (seriously, how many Christmas ornaments and decorations do I need? :LOL) but I guess we'll deal with it.

What is everyone else doing for gifts for adults? I am not worried about the kids. I know I can get very inexpensive gifts for them from the consignment store and they will be *thrilled* It's the grownups I worry about.
post #30 of 90
Thread Starter 
hi all...
a bad morning (naking)..can't go into it all, but more $ we are going to have to come up with that won't go toward debt.

ditto on all the x-mas stuff. we canned tomatoes and are finishing a dvd that everyone was supposed to get last year of dd instead of the 1st 6 months, its the first 18 and given the newest info, we will be giving precious little else. i do love christmas and giving quality gifts to those i love, but....

on a GOOD note, i have a credit at a store for $60 that i never used- my sister's b-day is next week so.... hope she likes what they have!
post #31 of 90
Christmas- I have officially decided that I will not spend any more money on Christmas this year. OK, to be honest, I will spend a bit, but very little. I had a list of things I wanted to get for my kids, the list included a Leapster for my dd, a big inflatable toy for my ds, walkie talkies, remote controlled cars and some other things. I told my sister about the walkie talkies and remote controlled cars- she bought those. The Leapster- forget it- I was only buying it b/c their friend has a game boy and they wanted that (which won't be happening), I thought the Leapster would give them the "Game Boy" feeling, but- really- it is so NOT something that I can even be sure they would use. The big inflatable thing- let's be honest- it will pop in no time, and the little repair kit will do a crappy job.

So- they are both going to get fish, just a little Beta in a bowl. DH is making the bookshelf Firehouse for ds, and a Vanity which I will paint all cutesy for dd. I am going to give them their favorite cookies-in-a-jar with a note that they get special time to make them with mommy. I am also making them each a little photo album that they can play with with pics from this past year.

I was going to buy kid kits from my business (Usborne Books) for the nieces and nephews, I figured I could get them at cost so it would be a good deal. Still that would've been $10 a piece or so. Instead I am going to make the older kids journals (buy cheapo ones at the dollar store and decorate them) and make them cookie-in-a-jar mixes too, to make with their mamas. The younger kids are getting felt boards (and I think I'll make my kids one too) with shape and letter/number cut outs. I already have the felt and dh has left over thin plywood.

Everyone else is getting beaded jewelry or napkin rings, etc. made by yours truly, or hand painted wooden Celtic Crosses, or framed/matted designs made by dh, painted signs, photo albums, etc.

I am buying FIL's gift though ($20), as it is something I told him back in the summer I would buy for him.

I am really proud that I am not buying a bunch of stuff, that I am using what I have to make things, and that I have decided not to care that other people will be spending money on us. They can afford it (or not) and we can't, *and* I've asked them not to spend the money.

On another note- my dad is giving/loaning us the money to get my car fixed $3400 . It is so nice of him, he doesn't expect the money back, but of course, we will pay him back, I am just glad it won't be on the CCs.

KERC- YES! Doing is more fun/ better than getting! Esp. for kids, I know my kids would much rather have a special day playing Candy Land with me than get the Leapster Thank you so much for saying that, it is REALLY a HUGE lightbulb for me.

On the topic of what Christmas is supposed to be about---not intended to offend those who consider it a secular holiday- but for US- it is about celebrating Christ's birth, and remembering *that* will help me not to feel badly about the money stuff.

Hey Newmainer- I keep forgetting to PM you again- so I'll ask here- what size is your dd? I forgot to check that to make sure what I am sending will fit.
post #32 of 90
Hi everyone!

Do you have room for one more?

My DH and I are in debt up to our eyeballs with no end in site and I just have to do something. Maybe some support from this group can help me. We used to be on the right path with hardly any debt at all but then last year that all changed. When I got pregnant with our 3rd child (a little oopsie) I ended up having to quit my job. It just wasn't feesible to have 3 kids in daycare, it would be my whole paycheck. So I stayed home and my DH worked, 2 jobs at one point. Our debt comes from not having money to pay our bills and putting nessecities on the credit card (our first mistake) of course that CC didn't last long and now we are up to 3 credit cards almost maxed out. It really saddens me that it has come to that. I have been trying to get a part time job but it is extremely hard with my husbands schedule and now his schedule has gotten even crazier which means there is no way I could work except for at home but I don't even know where to begin! The cold, hard truth is that we may actually lose our home and that scares me to death. The real estate market here is horrible and there is no way we could sell it and even break even right now.
Thanks for letting me vent, and maybe I can learn a few things from you ladies.
post #33 of 90
Hi Christy-

I know where you are coming from, it is scary. Is your dh on board in making this a priority? That makes a huge difference IMO. You might want to read back through our old threads for lots of ideas/tips/thoughts. We are here to support you.
post #34 of 90

Welcome ChristyH...

I'm so sorry you're here as we all are. I applaud you for staying home and trying to make it work. Maybe doing an inhome daycare would help out and still keep you at home? I did it for 3 years and was bringing in about 1600/month which I never could have made outside the home. If it's ok I'm going to add your family to my prayer list...if not ok just pm me. I pray you find an answer soon. Look into your local resources...wic, foodstamps, free healthcare, help with heat in winter, etc. Maybe if you get some help you could free up some money to keep the house. LMK if I can do anything personally to help.
post #35 of 90
Thanks everyone!

Patty - DH is definitely on board, I think he feels even more pressure than I do because he's the one working and he feels like he's not supporting his family.

Dina - I can use all the prayers I can get I thought about the inhome daycare, but I don't even know where to begin. We actually got a room mate (he lives in the bedroom off of the garage) so that brings in an extra $300 a month. He's a nice kid and actually works with DH. We looked into Peachcare (free healthcare for kids in Atlanta) but the kids have to be uninsured for 6 months before they qualify. I'm just not comfortable with them being uninsured for so long, I just know something would happen. And we don't qualify for WIC, foodstamps or free heat. But here in GA its actually illegal to cut off anyones heat if they have children, so if we can't pay all they can do is try and set up a payment plan. And our bills are getting paid every month, it just seems to be later and later. If we could just get caught up on our credit cards and pay off our minivan I think we would be on our way to being ok.
post #36 of 90
welcome christy.
Sounds like you have a computer, is there a need for medical transcription in your area? In my town there are folks who work for the hospitals who do it from home.

In the meantime, can you refinance anything to extend the length of the loan (house, car, I am thinking) to let you get back within your means and then pay off?

I can't see how old your oldest is -- in school? Could you work in a daycare? newspaper route? have you recently tried wic? in minnesota with a kiddo under two and a family of three the cut off is like 42,000. That's a fair amount.

Can you sell one car? (do you own two cars?)
post #37 of 90
tomorrow's black friday. I'm spending the day cutting down my xmas tree, decorating it and making christmas cookies.

what do ya'll have planned?

oh and I've got to tell someone who'll be excited --- I sent off 500 bucks to my cc (extra bucks that is!).
post #38 of 90
Ugh. Just had to let my mom know that DH and I can't make it on the family trip to New Orleans for the holidays this year because there's no way we're going to have the money for plane tickets and because of finals we're into the 'restricted' tickets and can't use Frequent Flier miles.

Luckily, she took it rather well, all told. My sister is moving into a new house with her best friend and her daughter, so money is tight all around and it looks like we're going to just stay home this year... which is good, I think. But now I've got to do a lot more as far as family things and presents because I don't have the excuse of being out of town. I kind of wonder if after presents and holiday supper and Christmas Morning Tea and a tree for the house if we aren't going to just come out about even with not going anywhere and paying for airfair.

I also just found out that my health insurance is changing it's coverage with regard to infertility treatment and is going to want me to pick up half of any drug I take that's prescribed for that... I'm trying to see if we can slip into another program under open enrollment, but otherwise that's another god knows how much we're going to have to come up with... I'm resisting the temptation to get our first CC, but only just!
post #39 of 90
Originally Posted by kerc
tomorrow's black friday. I'm spending the day cutting down my xmas tree, decorating it and making christmas cookies.

what do ya'll have planned?

oh and I've got to tell someone who'll be excited --- I sent off 500 bucks to my cc (extra bucks that is!).
Kerc- You Rock! That is so awesome! Do you know how many people probably spent $500 today at malls, on a bunch of plastic junk that they felt they "had to buy" as Christmas gifts? You have totally gotten the jist of the GOOD threads/lifestyle.

Woo hoo!

Newmainer- please pm me 2T or 3T and I could mail them tomorrow morning if I hear from you in time.
post #40 of 90
oh- and dh and I were trying to decide if we should get a real tree again this year (at least $20) or buy an artificial for $30 or $40 and have it forever- it turns out his parents had a spare fake tree- so- decision made!

I guess I'll have to burn some pine scented candles when we put it up.
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