Christmas and ZERO spending money = stress!! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 11-18-2010, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ugh. Long story, but we bought some rental property before the economy went south... now it's just about doing us in. (And we just learned that the now-defunct lending company LIED about my husband's income... inflating it by about 40% to get us the mortgage.)

 

So we're hanging on to the property and trying to avoid bankruptcy.

 

Which means Christmas with no spending money. At all. Like I can't even see how I can buy decent tights for my 3 girls to wear for church this winter. Like I'm looking at my scrap bag of felted sweaters and trying to figure out how I can turn it into presents for my husband and kids.

 

Not that I mind being creative.

 

But I fall into the trap of comparing with other families, and that's never good. *sigh*

 

Just wanted to tell someone.


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#2 of 24 Old 11-18-2010, 01:18 PM
 
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Here's a hug2.gif from someone.  I know the feeling of comparing to other people and finding your situation wanting even though in your head, you know that its not about comparisons.  Maybe patchwork slippers from the felted sweaters?  Maybe you could write your own storybook staring members of the family?  One of my favorite things that my parents 'gave' me for my birthday one year was a 'Maria' day.  I was in charge of the family for a day and I decided what we ate, where we went, what we did, etc.  As long as the kids know that there is a money limit or a no spend provision and your kids are old enough to enjoy the autonomy, that might be a really good gift. 

 


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#3 of 24 Old 11-18-2010, 01:47 PM
 
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i'm sorry.  i do think it can be a lovely no-spend christmas, but i also understand the stress and sadness of not being able to give your loved ones whatever you would really like to. 

 

there are tons of projects out there for your felted sweaters!  you probably already know that.  some other ideas are a letter or poem, a thrifted book with a personal inscription (i've been on both ends of this gift and love it, including when i was a kid and it costs less than $1), a video of family photos with a special sountrack, homemade sweets - or what other supplies do you already have around the house?

 

can you find tights at the thrift store?  i know there is a huge variation depending on where you live; i'm spoiled by awesome thrif stores with good selection and good prices.

 

do you have anything to get rid of?  because raising even $30 would make things a little less stressful.  i recently found a ring i was given at my 5-year anniversary employment, from a company i no longer work for.  i am not sentimental so i sold it for scrap gold and got $60.  other things to possibly sell (on craigslist or in a shop) might be unwanted furniture, electronics, movies or music.  another possibility is to see if you can relieve a different area of your budget to free up a little cash, like saving some of your grocery money by getting a box from angel food ministries or something similar.  i'm sorry if all these suggestions are things you've already done or don't make sense for you - just thought i'd throw them out there in case they might help. 

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#4 of 24 Old 11-18-2010, 08:07 PM
 
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Sending you a GREAT BIG ((hug))  I totally understand.  Last week we found out our income is going down by 1/3.  Give yourself a moment or two to be upset then start making plans.  Maybe create a special holiday tradition every week.  How about a coupon book for your DH.

 

I have 3 boys and some days I think I am ok with things and others I am really upset about all I cant do.

 

Today I did what another poster suggested and listed a number of things on craigslist. After Thanksgiving the youngest and I are going to make ornaments for DH.  Taking each moment and trying to make the best of it.  

 

I will be crossing my fingers for you and yours may Christmas miracle come your way

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#5 of 24 Old 11-18-2010, 10:06 PM
 
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I recently found a blog called frugalfamilfun.com that had a lot of neat stuff done with castoffs/trash.  Maybe it could inspire you in making some gifts and decor for the holidays.  Also, if anyone else buys for your dc you can ask for the items they need and tell them you're broke this year.   Christmas often brings out the generosity of people.  I think decorating alone for the holidays can really lift your spirits and there is so much in nature to bring in for home decor.  You could make ornaments with your children, make cookies or goodies with food around the house, and crank up the radio to any Christmas station.  Also, any friends or family that you could do a toy exchange with?  Maybe you could pass on some toys that your children no longer use and they could as well...children could care less if their gifts are used.  For your hubby, how about coupons for a night out with the boys, his favorite meal, etc. 

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#6 of 24 Old 11-18-2010, 10:09 PM
 
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Can you make a list of the pros and cons of keeping the rental property? Be brutally honest on the list.  If the property isnt making $$ and it's not near the point of making money then it could be worth it to cut your losses.

 

As for a no-spend holiday, I think I've seen threads on here for that very thing, either on this forum or the crafting one.

 

Either way HUGS to you...


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#7 of 24 Old 11-19-2010, 06:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone. I'm feeling better after a good night's sleep... going to concentrate on that to keep myself on an even keel as much as I can. :)

 

I love all your ideas. Going to have a brainstorming session with the family today, and I'm sure we'll come up with some wonderful things to do for Christmas. It will certainly be focused on Jesus' birth instead of all the 'stuff' this year! I'm so thankful for my creative kiddos... they love handmade things for giving or receiving.

 

And, yes, we need to discuss the pros and cons of this house. Biggest con, I think, is that if we get rid of it we're in the hole with no property to show for it. But we'll see... I have no previous experience with owning property and feel more than a little overwhelmed.


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#8 of 24 Old 11-19-2010, 11:02 AM
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I heard a neat advent calendar idea, instead of candies or small toys, the mom put notes for hot chocolate with dad, play monopoly, go for winter hike etc. All of the stuff was free.

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#9 of 24 Old 11-19-2010, 01:22 PM
 
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we are all thinking of you and your family.  the fact that you know how to be frugal will make it a bit easier.  just think about those who have NO idea what it means to be without, they would suffer even more. a good friend of mine just passed on this quote from the dalai lama "poverty is the gift of purification".  you'll make it work.

 

i also have to add that my family went through a period when i was a kid, maybe 8ish, when had absolutely no money and Christmas was super super minimal. looking back, i can honestly say that i don't remember what it felt like or if it was that bad.  so, with that said, kids are resilient and whatever you give them will be wonderful as long as it comes from you.


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#10 of 24 Old 11-19-2010, 01:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Gracefulmom View Post

. Biggest con, I think, is that if we get rid of it we're in the hole with no property to show for it. But we'll see... I have no previous experience with owning property and feel more than a little overwhelmed. 

 

 

Actually if thats the worst that will happen... you can survive that...  Right now I would call an attorney or accountant and see what they say.  Its always good to get opinions of people with out emotional involvement and who have some legal background as well.  Most attys will give you a free consult




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#11 of 24 Old 11-19-2010, 01:48 PM
 
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As a mama myself now, this brings a tear to my eye.  I didn't know the terrible struggle my parents went through when I was about 10, my sister was 8.  Apparently they were absolutely broke, and you know what?  I had a fabulous Christmas as always.  Even to our kids, the holidays are about family, decorating, acting silly, Christmas lights, baking together etc.  I do not remember that year what we got for christmas, but I do remember we got kittens that we begged for for ages.  It makes me love my mom even more that her obvious heart ache and stress about not having money didn't come in the way of a great holiday.  And my dad still got up on the roof and hung all the Christmas lights.  I think they did some trade amongst friends and at our church back then too. 

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#12 of 24 Old 11-19-2010, 03:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by happyhats View Post

I recently found a blog called frugalfamilfun.com that had a lot of neat stuff done with castoffs/trash.  Maybe it could inspire you in making some gifts and decor for the holidays.  Also, if anyone else buys for your dc you can ask for the items they need and tell them you're broke this year.   Christmas often brings out the generosity of people.  I think decorating alone for the holidays can really lift your spirits and there is so much in nature to bring in for home decor.  You could make ornaments with your children, make cookies or goodies with food around the house, and crank up the radio to any Christmas station.  Also, any friends or family that you could do a toy exchange with?  Maybe you could pass on some toys that your children no longer use and they could as well...children could care less if their gifts are used.  For your hubby, how about coupons for a night out with the boys, his favorite meal, etc. 


frugalfamilyfunblog.com :)

 

It looks awesome!


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#13 of 24 Old 11-21-2010, 06:32 PM
 
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We are in the same boat.  I have been collecting freebies from websites all year for stocking stuffers.  I also participate in freecycle.org.  It is a great way to give things you no longer use a good home and receive items for free.  We are getting the kids a free cat from the shelter and I got almost all of the supplies for free from freecycle except for the cat food.  In terms of clothes for kids, you can trade in clothes at a consigment store.  I have enough of a credit to get my daughter a christmas dress.

 

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#14 of 24 Old 11-23-2010, 07:28 PM
 
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CVS has a lot of freebies from Thanksgiving till Saturday. Lots of stuff is free with their "Extra Care Bucks," like candy bars (good stocking stuffers), lotion, headphones, etc. You can check out southernsavers.com and click on CVS for a list of the freebies and the coupons to make the deals even better. You'll basically separate everything into different transactions so that you pay for the new items with the ECBs you previously earned. With the ECBs you have left over, you can use them towards freebies the following weeks. (stuff like toothpaste, deodorant, etc that you'd be normally be buying anyway.)

 

I second trying Freecycle for craft and gift items. I'm sure that there will be families who are cleaning out outgrown toys to make room for the new ones.

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#15 of 24 Old 11-24-2010, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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These are all great ideas... I've been browsing Craigslist and freecycle and will DEFINITELY be decluttering after Thanksgiving.


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#16 of 24 Old 12-02-2010, 09:53 AM
 
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IF your kids are in school, it may not be too late to call the school counselor and ask for christmas help. Our PTO and the Elks lodge give clothes, toys and school supplies to kids at christmas. Also possible places to call for holiday help; salvation army, goodwill, Elks lodge, Toys for tots, local churches and charities.. food pantries seem to know where to send folks for help at the holidays, too.

Along the lines of consigning and getting something else, you can also do this at some used book stores and used video stores; we have ones where we can get cash or credit for trading in old ones for new to us ones. Probably works for used video game stores too, if you need that type of thing. Also you can swap books on paperbackswap.com, you just need to pay shipping, which for one small book usually isn't much.

Hang in there mama, I know how it is.


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#17 of 24 Old 12-02-2010, 04:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dicksonley View Post

One of my favorite things that my parents 'gave' me for my birthday one year was a 'Maria' day.  I was in charge of the family for a day and I decided what we ate, where we went, what we did, etc.  As long as the kids know that there is a money limit or a no spend provision and your kids are old enough to enjoy the autonomy, that might be a really good gift. 

 



That is awesome. I can't wait to do that for DS! Even at 3.5, he is going to eat it up :)

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#18 of 24 Old 12-02-2010, 07:50 PM
 
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this will be us next year. i'm quitting work late this winter (if everything works out), so things will be really tight. i've been trying to think about what the holidays will be like then. honestly, i think its good for kids to see that there's more to christmas than presents. i know that sounds cheesy, lol. i have been broke before though, and i know how much of a bummer it can be. i'm scaling back our christmas this year from what it was last year, so next year isn't as much of a shock. i plan to make next year about experiences. baking, winter walks if we're lucky enough to get snow, driving around to look at christmas lights, decorating and listening to holiday music. i'm lucky because my girls are usually happy just to be able to do things with us. i agree that you should take some time to work through your emotions, then try to make the most of what you have going on. shift the focus and challenge yourself to make it about the celebration and not the stuff. good luck!


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#19 of 24 Old 12-03-2010, 12:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by phytoangel View Post

we are all thinking of you and your family.  the fact that you know how to be frugal will make it a bit easier.  just think about those who have NO idea what it means to be without, they would suffer even more. a good friend of mine just passed on this quote from the dalai lama "poverty is the gift of purification".  you'll make it work.

 

i also have to add that my family went through a period when i was a kid, maybe 8ish, when had absolutely no money and Christmas was super super minimal. looking back, i can honestly say that i don't remember what it felt like or if it was that bad.  so, with that said, kids are resilient and whatever you give them will be wonderful as long as it comes from you.


soooo true, I grew up dirt poor...getting gifts and food from Savation Army and the Toronto Star newspaper...

 

it was bliss welfare day...tuna sandwiches and salad...yummmm....

 

We still have not much, but we beat the wefare rap and even though the money is only a little more...self esteem is way better:)

 

growing up without I still get blissfully happy over simple things!!!!!  We are super broke this year, but my Christmas spirit is stronger than ever!!!!!!

 

My favorite gift that I came up with this year is matching pjs for dh and ds....I am going to cut up the top of one of dh's flannel jammies to make pants for my 3 year old son and applique (for the very 1st time) a tie shape from the leftovers onto t-shirts they already have :)

 

Maybe I sabotage us...the less money I have the happier I get....so much for my vision board....lol
 


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#20 of 24 Old 12-03-2010, 04:33 PM
 
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Maybe I sabotage us...the less money I have the happier I get....so much for my vision board....lol
 



I know what you mean! lol

 

Posting to say that omg I LOVE the frugal family fun blog! I want to be THAT mom!


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#21 of 24 Old 11-26-2011, 09:27 AM
 
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First off Big ((hugs))  I totally understand your sadness and frustration.  I have 4 kids and NO money this year as well. 

 

So far my plan is to make Christmas about everything but gifts this year.  I will save every penny I can find to buy food for our feast.

 

Next Christmas starts on the first I plan to do some Holiday activity everyday of Dec,  we will make chains, ornaments, cookies, and cards.  We will have hot cocoa and go see the town lights one night read special stories. 

 

 

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#22 of 24 Old 11-28-2011, 06:57 AM
 
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We're broke too.  Like really broke.  I make an advent calendar w/a fun activity for each day.  Last year we all piled into our bedroom and listened to an episode of "Cinnamon Bear", which is a free old time radio show online.  Pretty neat, and I got the idea here on MDC.  We'll read stories and make gift bags out of old wrapping paper, make paper chains, decorate the tree, make coffee filter snowflakes (even though my kids are a bit older now they still love this stuff).  I decided not to stress.  I'm stressing about the bills getting paid, but not the lack of $ for presents.  We will manage to get new socks, new long underwear, new jammies (or used from the thrift stores), new gloves, and a much-wanted toy from Santa, but that's it.  I despise the commercialism of Christmas, and we are very secular, lol.  Oh, and I have old jeans that I've been collecting and I'm making a couple of area rugs for gifts.


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#23 of 24 Old 11-29-2011, 10:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndtheStars View Post

Here's a hug2.gif from someone.  I know the feeling of comparing to other people and finding your situation wanting even though in your head, you know that its not about comparisons.  Maybe patchwork slippers from the felted sweaters?  Maybe you could write your own storybook staring members of the family?  One of my favorite things that my parents 'gave' me for my birthday one year was a 'Maria' day.  I was in charge of the family for a day and I decided what we ate, where we went, what we did, etc.  As long as the kids know that there is a money limit or a no spend provision and your kids are old enough to enjoy the autonomy, that might be a really good gift. 

 

I love the idea of putting the child in charge of the day - my daughter would eat that up!
 

 

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#24 of 24 Old 12-03-2011, 05:03 PM
 
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back to this again...ugh


mom to ds '07 first day of a new year, dd '09 in the caul, and  ds '11 at home Oct 24th

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