Friday, August 19, 2011

My First Christmas Present of the Year

If you've been following my financials goals you will know that this past year was the first time that I established a Christmas Club.  Even though Christmas comes at the same time every year, previous years have found my Chrismas shopping done in one of two ways:
  • An organized fashion where I started in the summer buying as much as I can, finishing in December with our third paycheck or my bonus (haven't gotten a December bonus in a number of years).  There was usually quite a bit of stressing about how to afford Christmas.
  • A disorganized fashion where I started in December using our third paycheck for Christmas, there was typically A LOT of stress about how to afford Christmas.
 Unfortunately both ways resulted most of the time in the credit card being pulled out to finish up.  Last year was the first year that I didn't stress quite as much and didn't have to use the credit card but I still felt there had to be a better way.  Hence, the Christmas Club goal this year.

In addition to the club, I've been planning other ways to find Christmas money (you can read more about that here).  I'm happy to say that I bought my first present this week and it didn't cost me a dime!

As I've gotten older I try to make my gifts more meaningful.  I'm not saying I never give the plastic 'it' toy but I do try to be more thoughtful in my gift choices and give either practical gifts, experience gifts or lifetime gifts.  By lifetime gifts I mean gifts that the kids can carry with them into adulthood.

On a trip to Washington D.C. a number of years ago I stumbled across the White House ornament and fell in love.  My mother and grandmother always included special ornaments in our presents and I loved the idea of creating a whole series for my daughter.  Over the years I've included my nieces in the annual ornament collection.  Here is this year's White House Ornament ($17.95- no S&H, Click here to be taken to the website.  This is not an affiliate link)

Now for the good stuff.  I ended up getting my three ornaments for free by using my credit card points.  Note If you are not in position (or have the will power) to pay your card off in full please don't try to use credit card points, they aren't worth it.  I use the Chase points, what I like about Chase is that you can buy the item in question with your credit card and pay that specific item with your points.  As soon as the item shows up in your statement (I pay my statement at minimum twice a month) you can go into your rewards and transfer points directly to that purchase.  This is what I did with the ornaments making them free.  Yeah!

I'm expecting to be able to get a couple more items for free using my Chase points.  I'm hoping to make my next purchase with Swagbucks but I'm still almost 1,000 points short, I need to get on those surveys!  I'm actually trying to get the majority of my shopping done before the release of my Christmas Club funds so that I can set that money aside for our super cool trip we are planning in Q1 2012.

I'll keep you updated on my shopping progress.  How about you, have you started your shopping yet?

I'll be linking this up over at Life as Mom and We are THAT Family

You might also like:

What do you Want out of Your Job?
Preparing for Christmas
Financial Check Up - July
Rock Star Mom Moment


  1. this year I am planning on making a lot of hand made gifts. Not sure if this will cut costs or increase them so we shall see.

  2. As soon as my kiddo gets back to school I am gonna get serious with Christmas shopping!

  3. Penny - good luck making your gifts. I am totally with you on it sometimes costing more to make them. I have about three different projects I want to do for Christmas this year. Luckily I have a lot of the components already otherwise I don't think I would tackle them.

  4. Niki - I'm hoping to be done pretty early this year. I've actually bought two more gifts that I'm going to share in future posts so I feel like I'm rocking already! Good luck to you, nothing feels better than not having the last minute rush to get everything done for Christmas.

  5. Mama Zen - Every year the ornaments are different and I will say that they are usually beautiful. They come in a nice box which makes storing them easy too. My daughter and nieces love them!

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