Spent about $250 on Christmas this year.
Of course, it is also birthday season here, so includes a lot of birthday spending.
In addition, donated $200 cash to charity. I usually just apply some of the gifts/bonuses we get to charity, so don't usually count it as a Christmas expense. BUT, with all the credit card rewards, we spent so little, so I just paid out $200 a couple of weeks ago, from the budget. I won't be so generous with the cash gifts we receive because I am hoarding those to pay for our refinance costs.
OF course, money received so far:
$1000 from my mom
$ 50 Bday money
$ 110 from dh's Grandad (we used for a nice dinner out on 10-year move/house anniversary. Since it arrived that DAY - perfect timing!)
$ 250 work bonus (didn't end up getting more for *10 years.* Bummed about that, though happy to get anything. This is the money I usually give to charity. Usually $50 back to boss and $200 to charity).
In-Laws always gives us $1000. Will find out today, for sure.
$20 to Gardener
$50 towards boss gift
$20 for in-law gifts (Grandkid photo calendars, gift cards, split 50/50 with SIL)
$ 8 Christmas plates/bowls (cute and on sale!)
$ 4 calendars (for kids)
$ 8 Almond roca for my dad
$17 toys for kids (some game? - was a July purchase)
$15 Frame/print for work gift exchange
$ 5 Gag gift for my mom
$15 Birthday Pie for me
$30 Frames/prints for our home (Bday gift to self)
$40 Dh/kids bought me some t-shirts (dh kept one too)
$20 lighted bows and flowers (for us, though may give the flowers to my mom to take home Xmas Day. Lighted bows were cute! We can re-use)
Of course, with cash gifts, we come out ahead about $2000. Woohoo!
In addition to the above we did all the following for free (credit card rewards and creativity):
Nintendo DS3 for the kids
Several used video games for the kids
LOTS of free books/games for the kids (Scholastic)
Kindle for my mom
Kindle for dh's folks
Kindle Fire for us
$25 Amazon gift card for my dad's 60th B-Day
$25 Amazon gift card (x2) for teachers
$300 free books for teachers, approximately (Scholastic)
In addition, I printed out some sheet music from some of LM's favorite video games. The kids are with Grandma so I practiced them a bit to surprise him tomorrow. I thought of it because #1 - dh got some free CD of video game themes played by a Symphony - that kind of thing. LM LOVES it. & also we are trying to talk him into starting piano lessons. So, I thought maybe this would encourage him a bit. But I can't wait to see his face when I play "Chocobo theme song" and "Angry Birds Theme Song." For extra motivation I need to find some easier arrangements for BM. (To showcase what one year of piano lessons can do). I am sure I will find something - the internet is AMAZING. I couldn't believe all the free music I found. I usually pay for music. & I will be mindful to buy it if I find a good arrangement. But there is just so much free stuff being shared by people online, too. Like, their own arrangements of popular songs. WOW!
This year was certainly a unique year with so much opportunity for so much fancy free stuff!!
We probably usually spend about $500 on Xmas + $200 to charity. So, we saved about $250 this year, with credit card rewards. (Plus, were able to be extra generous).
BTW, framed print of my dad's photo was a HUGE hit at work gift exchange. I did good! Funniest part? Boss and his wife are really into art and have ridiculously expensive frames, etc. around the office. I had to get my frames approved for my certificates for example - to hang them in my office. Um, they approved my cheap Michael frame to hang on their wall? Seriously? OF course, I am thinking GIFT idea for THEM next year. I should go buy another of these frames - if they approve. (I love how nice and sturdy and sleek they look though I paid little more than $10 for them on sale!)
I received a dainty little gold watch. I LOVE it. The funny thing is that I have been thinking I could use a watch, but haven't exactly voiced that out loud. Must be "good gift" karma!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, to everyone.
Spent about $250 on Christmas this year.