Christmas! Awesome time of year. I’ve been taking it easy this year. Too easy, in one case. And I am Loving It!
Each year I try to get some fresh Christmas music. This year’s purchase was a 2 CD set from Target’s kiosk near the gift wrap, called “Christmas Stress Relief.” While I wasn’t stressing when I selected it, I knew it would keep me from stressing throughout the coming weeks. Caution: do not listen to this while driving! It is quite relaxing, with familiar Christmas tunes in a spa-like sound. I keep the CDs in rotation throughout the day, and I feel so much better. Good for background dinner music, as well. One of my better Christmas music purchases.
However. Ahem. For 18 years we have had chocolate advent calendars for the boys. This year Mom forgot. And Aldi is out of them. My last resort is the Christmas in Germany Market on Sunday 12/8, since we’re going, anyway. Sure, the boys are old enough to do without them, and #1 isn’t here yet. But it’s tradition, and we can’t have a void! *sigh* I messed up in all my relaxing and refusal to partake in the typical hubub.
And our light-slashing Scrooge didn’t even take that much out of me. I just got some net lights and a staple gun, and slapped those puppies up when the wind died down. No further damage yet. I was going to cover them with chicken wire, but the price at Westlake Ace was close to $20! Eh, I’ll take my chances with our existing supplies, thanks.
So, while staying under budget so far on Christmas, I’m also enjoying it more. Yay! The house is getting decorated in a candy theme this year, and the tree is up with one ornament on it. It should be finished by Monday. I hope your season is going well for you, and that you are taking time out to contemplate the real Reason for the Season.
Here are some additional, new things we intentionally did this week to save:
- Purchased backer rod (foam rope) for $5 and installed it at the baseboard of the front window in the living room. Wind gust drafts alleviated. Why have I not done this before?
- Bundled up to keep warm in the house instead of turning up the thermostat. Warm sweater weather!
- Winterized #1′s bedroom, after DH slept there one night and said it was too cold. This is always a problem room. I have a couple of tricks that help. Comfortable last night, reportedly.
- Used existing Christmas decorations to come up with the candy theme throughout the house this year. I may change the tablescape to a toy theme for Christmas day, and a gold theme for closer to New Year’s Eve. All with existing items in my stash.
- Used Paypal funds to purchase gifts and a household necessity online. Easy-peasy, no credit card bills!
- Made a few batches of cookies and treats from scratch. Freezer. And tummies.
- DH had his suit pants let out instead of buying new.
- Took advantage of the BCBS offer to keep our old plan into next year, after all. (They had cancelled all existing plans in favor of pushing “compliant” plans this fall.) Will save $100/month, but I may still have to make a decision in March. Still, that’s $500!
- Found leftovers in the freezer and had those for dinner one night. Had soup two nights.
- Cleaned out the fridge/freezer and moved some items to the basement freezer; rearranged the basement freezer by food type, and prepped for double-size meals for #1′s visit.
I’m pleased that I can stay frugal during this season. I’m more pleased that I can turn my back to the “buy, buy, buy” mentality that hits so many in our culture. A third paycheck in November, an unplanned bonus, and a scheduled bonus in a couple of weeks are helping build our savings. I’m bracing for that final medical bill that hasn’t come yet (last PT was in late September, and still no bill).
Right now we’re doing what we can, and what we have to do, to make the finances work. Every penny counts, and I’m counting every penny!