I met my gifts/Christmas budget goal for 2015 and have started on 2016.
For the 2015 budget, the funds were made up of automatic savings of $60 per month, small amounts of cashflow and some from alternative income.
2015's alterative income has included:
$10 from Gyft
$350.69 Credit card rewards
$76 Chang jar
$20 Bing Rewards
$28.35 Settlement check
$49 insurance reimbursement
$40 inbox dollars
Can't beat that!
Any further extra money is going to my 2016 Gifts/Christmas fund.
So far, I have:
1365 My Points (Goal 3500-3700)
332 Bing Rewards (Goal 475 for next $5 AGC)
2420 Recyclebank points (no goal exactly)
$10.20 Inbox Dollars (GOAL $30)
1572 Mycokerewards (Goal 1400 for $20 gc)
My Oct, Nov & Dec's auto budget ($60/mo) is going directly into the 2016 fund for a nice jump start. I already had set aside some overtime funds as well. More family to buy for with all the new kiddos (my new little one, my sister-in-law's new baby, etc)
Viewing the 'Gifts' Category
I met my gifts/Christmas budget goal for 2015 and have started on 2016.
This is the first year I budgeted for all year gifts instead of just a Christmas fund where my goal was to get 1/2 of the money budgeted from 'free' sources.
I have been doing very well, but am curious to see how much people budget for such things.
Lots of family/friends. Some have bigger budgets than others. I splurge a LOT on kids, but give small gifts of books to friends kids.
My 2015 All inclusive Gifts/Holiday Budget is about $1500. That seems SO high, but its really reasonable, since other than nephews/niece and my parents and hubby, the budgets are usually $5-$25 per person.
What kind of gift budgets to you guys have?
In my 2015 budget, I included:
Nephew 2 (12)
I included Holiday/Event budgets:
Thanksgiving - Food/Decor
Christmas - Food
Halloween - costumes
Family Member's Wedding Shower
Family Member's Wedding
Sister's Graduation from Nursing School
Then I have Christmas:
Nephew 2 (12)
Pollyanna between Sister in Laws
Friend 1 Baby
Dollar store trip (friend tradition for frugal decorations/wrapping)
Sister's Boyfriend (if still around)
Friend 2 Baby
At the beginning of the year, I set a goal to have a mostly free Christmas this year. I have used Swagbucks, MyPoints, Cashcrate & InboxDollars, survey sites, and a few credit card rewards to meet this goal.
I cashflowed approx $66 as I found things I liked for future gifts.
I earned $147.07 in Amazon Gift cards (plus $79.99 that I used for a reel lawn mower).
I earned $437.67 in cash - through rewards, gift cards, ect that I turned into cash.
This totals $651.13.
My goal is 760.38 which includes budget for:
-gifts for family/friends
-my boyfriends end of November bday
-my 2 nephew's bdays (in December)
-my neices bday in the fall
-fudge for coworkers/neighbors
-mom's bday in Late october
-Uncles card/postage to england
-small decor additions
-work friends Happy HOur
-big New Year's Eve outting - funds for weekend
Once I reach the goal (and I will based on Mypoints cards about ready to cash in) - I will work to build a gift budget for the rest of birthdays in the year and eventually 2013's budget. My swagbucks earnings have taken a bit of a dive lately, so I will have to work to maintain this level. I find this fun
I have been working to earn credit card bonuses, rewards points & points through rewards sites. Any funds earned will go straight to my fund for my sister's upcoming wedding. If any of the rewards (MyPOints) come in gift card form, I will get cards that I can use for necessary items such as groceries and gas and those funds (from the budget) would go to the wedding fund (And debt payoff once that wedding goal is met).
So to help me with this goal, I opened a Bank of America Amex.
-Earned a $50 statement credit for $100 in spending (used for cell phone bill & normal gas spending. [Net $50]
-Earned a $25 credit for spending $26 at a local wine store for Small Business Saturday. Wine will be for Christmas gifts. [$1.00 out of pocket for 2 bottles!]
-Earned a $25 credit for a Target Purchase. I am not heading to Target (at the mall) at this time of year, but I was able to purchase a (needed) mascara online for $5.73 (including shipping) [19.27 Net]
- ALl usage is budgeted & will be paid off within the next 2 weeks
I opened a Citi Dividends card. $200 in rewards for $500 usage.
- I put the remainder of my car insurance on this (and will pay it off from savings) $480
- $29.07 gas (normal budgeted spending)
- *there is another offer I signed up for where if you spend $200 after signing up a Mastercard, by 12/31/11, you can get a $20 Mastercard gift card, but I am not making this a priority to meet
I opened a Citi Preferred card for $100 for $500 spent.
-$206.23 normal spending on card (budgeted & will be paid for in 2 weeks)
-Still need $293.77 but this will be completed by planned spending
-Also signed this one up for the Mastercard deal. I just need to meet that $200 goal by 12/31 (Which I will do since I need to get another $293.77
- At the end, I will get $100 rewards AND a $20 Mastercard gift card
I have been working my MyPoints. Reading every email sent for 5 points per viewing. I also utilized some of their deals.
- Started with 896 balance on 11/25
- Did a survey for 10 points
- Completed 76 searches using the MyPoints toolbar in Nov (earned 90 points)
- Signed up for OpenSky.com through MyPoints (earned 50 points PLUS a $15 credit on the acct for signing up)
- Used $15 credit & free shipping to purchase a soup/salad container for work lunches. $7.00 out of pocket (paid out of entertainment spending). Earned 3,500 in MyPoints for first purchase. (3700 mypoints approx = $25 gift card)
- Opened an ING Sharebuilder acct (Something I wanted to do anyway) By using the MyPoints link, I earned 200 points for opening the acct & will earn 2,000 points with the first transfer. I will be doign that tonight.
- I purchased a magazine subscription for my dad for CHristmas (Planned purchase). I bought 2 years because if the purchase was over $15, I would earn 1,000 My points.
- After all of these earnings hit, I will have 7,746 in points - approx $50 in gift cards!!
I also am working to utilize Swagbucks more. I am a new member, but have about 123 in points between searches, toolbards, daily polls and more searches. I will be keeping this up!
In other news, all my CHristmas shopping is done - except 1 gift for my boyfriend and the Christmas tree itself. So woot!
The BF's bday is this week and we are going out in town tomorrow night with friends for his bday. I will be driving about 45 mins each way for the group (Designated Driver) and using up gas (Budgeted for) plus paying for parking $20 and part of his meal (approx $40 out altogether). Wednesday, we are going out with his sister & different friends (hoping to keep the bill around $30). Thursday is dinner with his family - he chose Olive Garden. Which is great, since I have that free $50 gift card. I can cover both our meals PLUS some of the family's.
As for the Lunch Challenge, I packed all of my food for today. Breakfast, lunch & snacks. Lunch is actually pasta salad leftover from the boyfriend's THanksgiving. He even packed it up for me! LOL
Additionally - I should add that I UNFRUGALLY lost my cell phone in October. I frugally borrowed my friends old one for 2 months until my contract is up for renewal 12/28. And on Friday, there was a groupon for $25 (I had a $10 credit, so it was $15 out of pocket). For that Groupon, PLUS $35 activation, I can get a Droid X or X2 once my contract is up in December. Compared to what my friend just paid for upping her contract & getting a Droid, I am definitely making out on the deal!
Today's 5 Things: are actually more than 5
-Complete Sharebuilder trade
-update budget for 11/30
-MyPoints & Swagbucks sites
-WD40 Front Door
-Make dinner at home, lunch for Tues/Wed
-CLean kitchen, wipe counters & vacuum floor
-Pickup Living Room
-Gather library movies to return
-Finish laundry & put away
-Unclog bathtub drain
-Unclog upstairs bath sink drain
-Wipe bathroom counters, tub & toilet, vacuum floor
-Play on the internet
-Pack night clothes for BF's bday, work clothes for Wednesday
-Portion medicines to keep at work & at boyfriends (Have to take thyroid meds & vitamins &Missing them REALLY screws me up)
I have had a lot of online 'savings' I have been working on recently - to lead up to some Christmas deals/gifts.
-My boyfriend & I Are movie nuts and go a few times a month to the movies. In an effort to control spending, I purchased Fandango dollars through my work employee benefits at 16% off. Not too shabby.
-Snapfish emailed me a deal where I send my online photo album to 5 friends & they will credit me 100 4x6 prints - this is great for a little photo book I was preparing for my mom. Will just have to pay shipping, I think.
-I found a deal with Amazon Video on Demand where if you tweet about the deal, they give you a $5 video on demand credit. This is great since I have a Roku box & can use Amazon VOD.
-I found a deal for a small Yankee candle $1.49 plus free shipping, then $1.49 rebate through a site that I use
-I have been maximizing my MyPoints offers by reading emails, signing up for newsletters (to my junkmail hotmail account for sign ups like this). I am at 3104 points & want to get to 3500 quickly!
- I plan on pausing my Netflix for the month of September. I will utilize the free (But mostly lame) channels on my Roku box & the library for my entertainment. I can pause my subscription for a few months, I think
- I am heading to Rite-Aid today. I found a deal on their Always pads/panty liners (sorry if TMI!) I have two $1 off coupons that expire today. Will essentially be getting them for 1/2 price
- I am utilizing a groupon I purchased a while back for a local Wine Shop. I stopped by yesterday & they were out ofth e wines that I wanted - so the owner personally extended my offer (it is set to expire) and invited me back today after the shipment comes. I plan on taking them up on it. I will be able to buy 3 very nice wines with the groupon. These are slightly higher quality & will go to my wine obsessed friends only
- I am running back to Victoria's Secret. I have a coupon for a free pair of undies AND $10 off a purchase
So lots of savings today! I am working on my budget as payday is tomorrow and my Germany trip is in about two weeks. THings will be REALLY tight. I have to get on financial lockdown between now & the trip and for a while after!
***Edited to add the following***
-I also requested online a free sample of foodstorage. We will see if it comes in the mail
-Same with a free Welches fruit snack
-I registered to win a party for JOhnsonville Pizza. It would be awesome to win!
-I also found a deal with a new (to me) website much like Groupon except on a smaller scale. They have a $10 credit for joining & the daily deal today was a collapsable water bottle. I was able to buy FOUR bottles for $4.00 after using the credit. I have 4 specific friends in mind who would love this gift!
If anyone is interested in getting this or a similar deal through the site, let me know. I would only need your email to send you a link. I got my referral from a friend & she really recommends the site.
While on vacation, I happened up some books on local lighthouses that would be the perfect Christmas present for my dad. So I picked up 2 for $42.38.
During the Super Saturday event at Goodwill the other week, I found a Christmas Tree craft about 3 feet tall that lights up. Perfect for my mom and I only spent $3.00.
On my sidebar, I have included my Christmas budget & will update with spending as I get things. I hope to have ALL Christmas shopping done by the first week of December I'm not a fan of how nasty people get in stores around the holidays so I avoid stores as much as possible.
I also want to point out that my nephew's bday is a few days before Christmas, so I always just include him in my Christmas budget.
My total Christmas budget has changed recently and is now at $473. I hope to come in very under budget.
And since I like to plan things out -
Mom - 45 - 3 spent
Dad - 45 - 42.38 spent
Sister - 45
Nephew - 40
Nephew Bday(the 20th)- 30
Best Friend - 40
Friend 1 - 33
Friend 2 - 15
Friend 3 - 20
Friend 4 - 15
Friend 4's kids - 10
Sister Boyfriend - 10
Sis's BF's son - 10
Sis BF's daughter - 10
Wrapping - 5
Misc/decorations - 40
Tree - 60
Today was a No Spender. Yay! Its cold and rainy here and all I want to do is curl up under a blanket. But instead, I managed to get myself to the gym, make dinner and pack food for tomorrow. Thats something at least
Being cold and rainy, the heats kicking in at night. I set it at 64 during the night last night and 62 while at work. Normally, I'm not comfy unless its 66 at least, but I sucked it up and layered and kept the heat at 64 tonight. The problem really isn't layers for me, its my sinuses. So I know I won't be able to do 64 for forever
Tomorrow is payday. I will have 3 weekends in this pay period, so its a little longer than normal. My entertainment budget is going to be tight. I have a book signing for a friend on Saturday. This is a big deal and I'm totally willing to support him by purchasing the book ($18). Then I have another friend's bowling & bar birthday bash that night. I'm hoping to make it out of that night on $20. We'll see how it goes.
I'm working on Christmas gifts. I also have the one friends birthday on Saturday and another's the first week of December. So I'm going to be looking for deals this weekend! I know there's some super clearance stuff at Kohl's and I've been using free prints from Snapfish to frame for gifts too.
Well, I have a budget for Christmas. Normally I'm done my shopping by the first week of November, but I'm running late with this vacation coming up. I'm hoping to have it almost all done by November 15th.
I've already ordered some photos that I'm planning on giving from Snapfish at less than 5 cents per photo. I also supported my nephew's school & bought brownie mix at $10 (ripoff!) which I will make & bring into work at the holidays. I also got a great steal on some painted pub glasses for 2 of my friends for $0!
Family Presents: $156.75
Friend Presents: $84.00
Shipping to London for Uncle: $8.00
Gift wrap/Ribbons: $5.00
Work Party: $20.00
TOTAL budget: $353.75 All of which, I have saved and ready to spend!
Today I am taking a night off from being social & I'm getting a few things done around the house. And maybe I'll do a little playing around with clothes to pack for the trip! Lol, I am SOOOO excited.
And in a nice little surprise, the weather warmed up here & I've had the heat off the last two days.
Today's 5 Things:
1. Pay Bills
2. Go through, file & shred paperwork
3. Clean upstairs bath
4. Organize closet
5. Start pre-packing
Tomorrow's 5 Things:
1. Get bloodwork done before work
2. Clean downstairs bath
3. Clean out fridge
4. Do laundry
5. Take deck furniture into basement
My dad's hard to shop for and doesn't have a lot of time to do entertainment type stuff. But there's a lot of stuff around the house he wants to get done, so I'm giving him the gift of my time and offering to help him: Clean out the garage, paint the window trim, set up a new entertainment stand. He has a bad back & really shouldnt be doing these jobs - much less by himself. AND I get to spend time with him
Edited to add: My dad's birthday is also in join, so this is a joint gift
Had a great rest of the weekend. Had a really, really fun time at the races - wasn't allowed to take pics, but trust, me it was fun. It was hot as heck, so I drink a lot of water, spending about $6.00 for the day. There was no fee to get in, lots of visual entertainment. I didn't do any betting, but my friends and I chose horses and competed amongst ourselves. It was fun
I spend some time helping my sister pack and unload stuff at the new house. I was able to help her with some shopping and general support. Things are stressful & crazy for her.
This weekend, I was able to get stuff done around the house, hang out with my family, watch my nephew's baseball game, spend time in the sun & work on my container garden. I'm having a LOT of fun with it!
Today is my actual birthday, I ran around with family. Shopped for new eyeglasses with my mom. I had lunch with Mom & dinner with whole family.
In addition to the meals given to me by my mom, my sister, her boyfriend & my nephew gave me some beautiful roses and a birthday cookie cake.
My sister also gave me a few new to me items that she no longer wanted:
I have more pics to share - I am LOVING the fact that I have the camera back! And I realize I'm oversharing, but bear with me!
Here's a pic of my kitty enjoying my being home:
Here's a pic of my birthday cookie cake:
This is my kitten enjoying the flowers on my coffee table:
I've been tracking my Christmas Spending. I've bought a Christmas tree and gifts for my parents, sister, nephew, best friend, best friends boyfriend, two friends, and a small work gift.
Total Spending: $271.88. That includes $65.19 in gift cards used (from cc rewards & MyPoints).
I have 3 small gifts to get still and then I'm done. Estimated expense: $35.00
Woohoo. Almost done!
Got a lot of Christmas stuff done. My best friend, her boyfriend & I all have known each other since we were kids. We have a tradition of doing some Christmas decoration shopping at some really awesome places, getting our trees, watching Christmas movies, ect.
So yesterday, we went to the Christmas shop (not the Christmas Tree Shop) but an place that is a like a Garden Center/Christmas decor place.
I came away with a few Christmas gifts and a huge tree. Its more cost effective to get the fake trees, but I can't bring myself to do it
Afterwards, we had pizza, talked, played some games & watched Its a Wonderful Life. Good times!
Today, we (my friends & I) went to Ikea cause they just moved & needed some things. I bought a picture and frame ($9.99) to go in my kitchen and a shoe rack ($9.99) to house shoes left in my entry. I also came home with lots of decorating ideas
Tonight I'm watching a library movie, decorating the tree and resting. Tomorrow I have another day off and I'll be doing laundry & cleaning. After I sleep in
Last night I went out with my sister to a local bar/club. Did some dancing and had a lot of fun. The place was in the city (meaning more expensitive) and I brought drinks for my sister. Out of pocket expense: $38.00.
Today I am helping a friend move. I'll be home to take a quick nap, shower & pack then I'm heading to West Chester (about 40 mins away) for a birthday party/outing. I'll be spending the night there and coming home in the morning.
I already have a card & a gift and I plan on spending $20.00 when we head to a local bar for the party.
Sunday I am going to get some stuff done around the house and then Sun night I'll be going to my nephew's 8th birthday party. Its at a roller rink! I already have the gifts for him - Legos! Not one of those Star Wars/Indiana Jones sets, but true Legos that you build stuff with out of your imagination.
Currently I'm trying to NOT purchase a new digital camera. I do not have one currently and I desperately WANT one. But its not a necessity. Since I didn't find any awesome deals around Black Friday, I'd put it out of my mind... until my sister showed me her new one.
Anyway, she was telling me some feature on it that wasn't on the camera we both had previously been looking for. So I went online today. And saw that the camera that she got was down to $89.99. She paid $129 yesterday. I might just give in & buy it. A Cannon 9.2 Megapixal camera for $89.99 is a really, really GOOD deal.
Went to Bed, Bath & Beyond to get a wedding gift off their registry. Online, BB&B said the item that I wanted was in stock. When I got there, they said all the remaining items on the registry had to be ordered. So now I have to go off the registry.
BB&B had a big clearance section up front and I managed to snag some good early Christmas gifts.
I spent $12.51, and got a Glitter spun Candle set with a holder, red berry wreath and a pillar candle for a friend of mine. Budgeted $10.00, spent $3.74, saved $6.26.
I was able to get a large Maple Syrup candle in a very manly jar with stopper - perfect for a guy friend of mine. Spent $3.79. Budgeted $10.00, saved $6.21.
I also took care of getting some small gifts for just under a dozen coworkers. Just a little token gift that I'll wrap in tissue paper and a ribbon bow. I got 4 Yankee Candle Christmas (2.49) scented votives and 6 glass votives in evergreen (also $2.49). For about 50 cents and a handlful of tissue paper and ribbon, I have 10 work gifts!
I ended up getting a wedding gift at Linen's N Things. They matched the 20% off Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon. Spent 23.99. A little more than planned, but oh well. I also grabbed a wedding gift bag and card at the dollar store $1.50.
I did go to the movies today with my mom & nephew. $8.00. Picked up a soda at the dollar store and brought my own popcorn from home. (The theatre allows outside food).
Mom insisted on lunch, so we went to a local place. She treated. Which was fine, cause she owed me for some socks and stuff I picked up for her the other week, so now we're even
She wanted to stop at the Halmark store. Looked at a few cute things. And my nephew was VERY enamoured with a musical Halloween card featuring Star Wars characters. I went back in and splurged on it. $4.99. And he will carry this thing around for weeks!
Now I'm home, watching the first 3 episodes of Sons of Anarchy on Comcast On Demand. I am about to make dinner and get some stuff done around the house.
The air's still off. And I checked my electric usage today. I've used 297 KWH this billing period with about 6 days to go. Last month, I used 383. I've got the air off and am using minimal electric, so I should come in well under last month's usage.
My goal for October is to have air and heat off the whole month. There's been a big temp drop in the last few days, but hopefully it won't go any lower in the next month or so!