Monday, November 17, 2008

Moving Right Along....

Everybody has now seen what a cynical bitch I have become. I guess it's time for an attitude adjustment!

The first thing I must do is stay away from the news for awhile. I'm so tired of hearing about our tax dollars being used to bail out the results of greed and gross mismanagement while the unemployment rate rises daily. My Boss is no different. Over the years, she has let her personal spending habits ruin her credit and endanger her business. This scares me!

What I really, really need to do is concentrate on the upcoming holiday season. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the bright spots of my year. Fortunately, we are already equipped with everything we need for a joyous holiday season. 20 years ago I started putting money away, every week, for Christmas. This year I put $15 in an envelope EVERY week. We now have $780 of Christmas money. This year we won't be able to spend all of this money on gifts. We'll need to put some of the money away to make up for the payless days off we have coming up. This shouldn't be a problem, as I've already bought several gifts, on sale, throughout the year.

Our Christmas package to SME's family must be mailed by Dec 1st, in order for it to arrive before Christmas. I bought everything I could locally, then I ordered the rest of their gifts online. My orders should arrive any day. Then I just have to wrap and mail them. Yesterday I lightened my mood by ordering almost all of the rest of my gifts. I got some incredible deals! This week I'll be starting a couple of homemade gifts.

I've also been stocking up on holiday baking supplies(all on sale) over the past couple of months. All I have left to buy are fresh items, like eggs and sour cream. Tomorrow I will buy the final item for our Thanksgiving feast...the turkey! Turkey went on sale today for $.67/lb. YES!!

The day after Thanksgiving we will start decorating our home with the 13 boxes of Christmas decorations that we have accumulated over the years. I even have a couple of extra strings of lights squirreled away...just in case.

This year we will have to stick to a stricter budget for our holiday celebrations. Thanks to a bit of forethought, we'll hardly notice the change. Christmas lights and the aroma of fresh-baked goodies will do a lot to lift my mood!


At 11/17/2008 8:19 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

You are NOT cynical!!! Honestly!!! Just point me at whoever said that grrrrr.

Thanksgiving is my fave. The hype and $s around Christmas makes it a bit trying but love the way it makes (most) people feel and act.

Re the planning and saving...I definitely want to be like you if and when I grow up. Seriously.

At 11/17/2008 8:48 PM, Blogger Jeannie said...

Honestly - I don't know where you get the energy - I'm so much more cynical than you are! Lately, I'm lucky to get a tree up a week before Christmas. And what's Christsmas shopping? That's no fun when the kids are old. And I don't get much chance to bake and that used to be my favourite part - now it's a bother. Poor me.

At 11/18/2008 4:46 AM, Blogger Squirl said...

You are such a great example of doing more with less. We hear that phrase at work all the time, but you actually do it. And you can still keep up your holiday spirit. Sounds like your holidays are going to be wonderful!

At 11/18/2008 8:24 AM, Blogger Laura said...

I'm gonna have to take a few plays from your book, seeing how my income is going to be reduced next year... I definitely prefer handmade gifts to purchased, when possible. They're more thoughtful, less $, and really - do we need any more plastic crap? I hate shopping, so I tend to buy what I can online when possible. Though there are some nice shops in my 'hood that have cute things too.

Hang in there.

At 11/18/2008 11:35 AM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

Of course, we area facing a postal strike right now - great timing! Gr.

At 11/18/2008 1:44 PM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

Well I may make your holidays even brighter by saying we are coming home for a few days Dec 16-18th.. I am putting up all of our stuff the day of Thanksgiving since I will have to work the night after again.. LOL... We work Wednesday night and then they close Thursday at 11 AM.. Then open back up at 5 the following morning.. Have a great Thanksgiving..

At 11/18/2008 6:10 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Bridg, I'm the one who said I was cynical...please don't beat me. ;)

We choose not to let the Madison Ave hype ruin our Christmas. We just do what we enjoy.

Jeannie, I'm just as cynical as you are. I just battle it more. ;)

You just bought 2 of your kids the PERFECT Christmas gift...a dining room set...and you had fun doing it, didn't you?

I make my guys help with the baking. If they don't help, no goodies. Works every time!

Squirl, we've never been flush with money. L says I've refined "doing more with less" into an artform.

Laura, I plan on sharing some of my penny-pinching tips in upcoming posts.

I'm fortunate that my whole family loves hand-crafted gifts. You knit, don't you? I've got hundreds of patterns. I can email you patterns if there's anything you want.

BTW, who gets custody of Annie?

WC, you're shitting me?!! That'll screw up everything!! UPS can get a package to Edmonton in 3 days, but the last time I used UPS they demanded a $35 inspection fee from SME when they delivered the package. :(

Tweets, Whoo-hoo! Now I won't have to mail your package! Let me know if you can't make it, so I'll have time to mail it.

At 11/18/2008 8:52 PM, Blogger Laura said...

I do knit, but I can only handle one or two projects at a time since I don't have a whole lot of spare time to sit and knit. But I'm working on a couple things right now. There's some great patterns online, but next time I'm looking for something, I'll let you know & see if you have something I need.

The critters are staying with me. I'm better able to care for them with my schedule.

At 11/18/2008 11:05 PM, Blogger Mike S said...

Mrs Mike says I'm no challenge to shop for. Seems any type of food works equally well with me; single malt Scotch & micro-brew ales are plentiful here; and she claims that best of all is that I'm easily distracted. Since our kids & grandchildren are pretty much scattered all over the world we seem to be doing more & more 'remote shopping' for them.

At 11/19/2008 2:50 AM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

I am looking forward to our trip this time around.. I dont think anythign is going to stop us this time.. Its been three years since I was at home. Now do you want the girls to open presents at your house when we come or do you want them to take them home and I can take photo's like I did last year??? UP to you adopted Gramma... LOL.. N..

At 11/19/2008 8:11 AM, Blogger Mnmom said...

Luckily we decided years ago to keep Christmas simple - in the gifting department anyway. Remember Christmas Clubs? Banks should bring those back.

We focus on the music, the cookies, and the decorating with our old things and pine branches from the yard.

At 11/19/2008 3:23 PM, Blogger Cherie said...

Now that's the spirit, Tshs! Focus on the feel-good stuff and postpone the frustrating stuff for...well, as long as possible.

Another thing we have in common, you and me - we have a Christmas fund for which we budget from every paycheck so that Christmas spending won't be a one-paycheck shock. Like one paycheck would have enough to cover it anyway.

I did the same thing you did to get myself up out of the doldrums - I started my Christmas shopping online one day this week and nearly finished it in local stores the next. I already knew what I wanted so it was just a matter of doing the leg (finger) work. Really lightened my load and mood.

Yes, have the rest of the family help with the holiday baking and not only does it make it easier for you, but it's a source of family-time fun that's hard to beat!

I don't think you are a cynical bitch at all. If that's true, then I'm one, too! Yikes. No, I think we are both frustrated at our helplessness in things governmental, and with this 'bailout' we see our hard earned money going to greedy bums who have no clue how hard it was for us to earn nor how precious each dollar is to us.

Thankfully Thanksgiving and Christmas are instant attitude adjusters - who can resist putting smiles on the faces of our loved ones, and witnessing the Christmas spirit in our communities.

Cheers to you, Tshs!

At 11/19/2008 3:51 PM, Blogger Suldog said...

"The first thing I must do is stay away from the news for awhile."

I stay away from it as much as possible. I used to be a political junkie (I was state chair of the Libertarian Party in Massachusetts for a short while) but I found myself increasingly madder and madder. I finally gave it up, unless there was something I really needed information about. Best thing I ever did.

At 11/19/2008 4:02 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Laura, you're doing better than me if you can handle 2 knitting projects at once! I have to do one at a time or I get the patterns confused in my head. ;)

Mike, easily distracted CAN be a blessing at times. My hubby is the same way. ;)

Do you have a web-cam? We use ours to connect with SME's family every holiday. That way we can see each other opening our gifts.

Tweets, we've got a BUNCH of hand-me-down stuff for the girls, so we'll give them that stuff while they're here and let them take the wrapped gifts home to open at Christmas. I'll probably mail their ornaments so they can enjoy them on the tree for the whole season.

mnmom, our money used to go into a Christmas Club account until the banks quit them. Now I just use an envelope.
Your Christmas celebration sounds like ours, except we enjoy our collection of Christmas videos too.

Cherie, once again we're in PERFECT harmony with each other!

My gifts started arriving this week. Opening the packages has brought huge smiles to my face!

We normally don't start Christmas baking until after Thanksgiving, but I'm thinking maybe we'll bake one kind of goodies this weekend. Gotta keep the good vibes coming, right? ;)

At 11/19/2008 5:22 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Suldog, I've always prided myself on being current on major issues, but the idiocy out there is driving me crazy. Like you, it enrages me, and that ain't a pretty sight. ;)

At 11/19/2008 9:33 PM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

Normally I'm more like you. Buying ahead of time, putting money away, but this year I haven't been able to do that. First, I quit my job to start my own business. The other full-time job I took for a guaranteed paycheck while I get my business up and going pays less than what I made before. Plus I'm scrimping every month to pay for family health insurance. This is going to be one of those homely, cheap Christmases where we're lucky to have a stocking. But I know we're still so much better off than most and our futures will likely be brighter.

At 11/20/2008 2:27 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

VV, OUCH! We've had Christmases like that too. :(
For us, family health insurance is more than our monthly income. I'm grateful for our state-run insurance pool! It's not much, but it's all we can afford. Don't you just wanna strangle the next person who whines about "socialized" medicine to you?!

At 11/21/2008 8:34 AM, Blogger zydeco fish said...

You are a model of organization and planning. Wow.

At 11/21/2008 1:54 PM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

I've been whining to the court for 4 years that my ex was court ordered to carry the health insurance under the child support order. He is even paying reduced child support because of the amount he was having to pay for health insurance when the child support order was issued. Well he stopped covering them years ago. I've been covering them and trying to get reimbursed and get increased child support ever since. Unfortunately for me, people all along the DHS line have screwed up this case every chance they've gotten a hold of it. For the last 2 years I've handled it personally and have had to deal with incompetence, delay and repeated contempts of court orders by my ex. He pays his lawyer well to drag this out and delay it as long as possible. It's just ridiculous! I have to wonder how much worse it is for those without law degrees trying to navigate the system.

At 11/22/2008 5:00 PM, Blogger SME said...

I have to do the same - less news, more holiday! There's nothin' we could do about these stupid bailouts, anyway, so I guess there's no point in paying attention to them and getting so furious about them that someone could fry eggs on our foreheads like they used to do in Donald Duck cartoons...

At 11/22/2008 5:02 PM, Blogger SME said...

P.S. Mom, go ahead and send UPS. Not a biggie.

At 11/23/2008 10:11 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

ZF, with our budget, planning is ESSENTIAL!

VV, my co-worker just went through a 2 yr court mess like yours. She has a 5 ft stack of documents that cost her a mint in lawyer fees. :(

SME, the only thing I could do is refuse to vote for anyone who voted for the bailout. Now that I've done that, I'm ignoring the whole mess until after the holidays...if I can.

At 11/23/2008 3:29 PM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

Unfortunately I am constantly hearing how messed up the system is. I couldn't afford to pay an attorney for the number of hours and years I've put into this case.


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