Friday, October 24, 2008

More On The Compact

Even More... this one gets into gift giving


Marie said...

Yeah...we recieved our quarterly statement on our 401k last week...I just threw it out and didn't even peek... We are only 30, so its fine, but really..didn't need to see the "you made -$xxxx this quarter". I do feel bad for a girl dh works with. She's retiring in 6 months and is left with pennies on her dollar (she started late and threw it all into high risk to try to get the most bang).

Jennifer said...

Well, you are essentially paying for college for your 5 year old! Yikes!

Staci said...

We are right there with you. No real & cars but other than that just your basic utilities. Our savings is also all in investments. We've got time too. No worries there.

Well, with food & gas prices climbing it has really pinched our budget in both those areas. I hate that we can't do organic but we never got FULLY into it. Plus, I stay home more than I normally would. Don't want to burn up all my gas. :P

I do love a challenge so I try making a weekly food menu and grocery list from the sales ads and make a game out of it and see if I can get the most bang for my buck. We've also cut out all snack/junkie foods. That has been HUGE for my waist line too! No junk to snack extra fat going on me. :)

All that to's comforting to know we are not the only ones having to make changes. :)

Have a great evening.

PS~$58 for a hair cut? YIKES! How much was it here in MI?

You look great in navy! :)

Mrs Furious said...

My financial advisor called and he said (and he's the freaking president of the firm) that he shreds his statements in the sealed envelopes. There is no reason to look at them now.

Now you know why I was thinking of homeschooling. 9K for fucking kindergarten. That's significantly more than the private Ks in MI.

You are definitely NOT alone.
My haircut in MI was 45 but they had separate hair washers so I ended up tipping about 8-10 bucks so I'm only a little over that now. BUT I had long hair so I only had it cut a couple times a year. Last night Mr F was adamant that it's worth 600 a year... so I guess we know how he likes my hair ;)

Staci said...

LOL! That is too cute Mrs. F!
He's a keeper! ;)

Lori said...

I'm very frugal and I used to buy gifts w/ the 50% off coupons at Micheals and Joannes.I have always liked the idea of giving a gift that helps them be CREATIVE.
As far as wrapping I used to let my kids draw on the brown wrap or we used comics to wrap. I too, can get very Martha Stewart in my wrapping. I would use ribbon to finish off their "masterpiece." A good place to buy inexpensive wrap is Ikea, but I doubt you have one close by. (BTW, I have read all the Beverly Lewis books. I'm so addicted to the Amish.)
Love the video blogs. :-)

Anonymous said...

Baby cracks me up in those videos!

Have you gotten to check out Amazing Savings yet? You can save quite a bit on organic foods there. Best bets there are bread, chips, snacks and dairy is sometimes good too (just check the dates).

Also, one thing that I was very pleased with around this area, is most parties we have been to the parents request no gifts at all or ask for food donations for charities. The birthday thing gets ridiculous really fast, you will have a party every week so I say cut it out entirely unless it is a good friend.

I do like the gifts you got though, very good choices.

We also went to Walmart this week with the same motivation (I am prone to spend less there since I am a Target junkie as well).

Teresa said...

Oh my gosh...I am so right there with you about the whole gift giving thing!! I'll admit's all about the "size" of the it looks big and all. LOL!! Like there's a 'size' that is apporpriate for a gift! :)

I applaude you though...I think if we could all just somehow give eachother 'permission' to spend under $10 per gift...we'd all be happier! It's like what you said about US not wanting all that junk in our house so why would we give it to some other mother who probably doesn't want it either!

You've set me free Mrs. to give a gift under $10...Thank you!! :)

Staci said...

We JUST went through this yesterday!

My 9 year old son had a birthday present to buy for a friend and I was determined to NOT spend more than $10. Boy knew what he wanted to get him...a $9.99 lego set. Fine. We looked...the store didn't have the right one. :P

So, we went to look at the Halloween stuff and BAM...a Mr. Potato head-Halloween style! Boy was excited...guess his friend collects all the special ones. Here's the kicker...ON CLEARANCE! Normally $6.99 down to $4.19! SCORE! So that paired with a 50 cent card from the dollar store and leftover wrapping paper and we had a $5 gift and Boy was thrilled with giving the gift. ;)

I'm concerned about Christmas. :/
Any suggestions there?

My boys still believe so I'm not sure how to pull it off cheaply. :P

Mrs Furious said...

I'll get back to you on how those gifts are received!

And getting big gifts... I think that's brilliant. Kind of wish I'd thought of that ;)

Yeah I'll be interested to see what happens with the parties through her school... these 3 this week actually aren't school friends. Tonight's was a Toys For Tots drive. I like the idea of a food drive too. Fortunately we will probably host the 1st school party so we can set the stage on that front. Although sadly by 6 kids have a pretty set expectation of what makes up a birthday party... so we'll see how that goes.

No I haven't been yet. I'll go scout it out. We don't actually buy many snacks or dairy so I guess it'll depend on what all they've got. Whole Foods is also much cheaper for the 365 organics line and Mr F is stocking up for me again on Monday.

I actually put back the last in the Nellie Fisher series. They get them at the library so there is no need to buy them. I also just borrowed the Jodi Picoult amish book "Plain Truth". Did you read that one?

I just thought of another good gift idea for Kid's friends. I can get those wooden unfinished jewelry boxes at Michael's and Kid could paint and bejewel it for them. I think with a coupon I can get those for about $2. Thanks for the Michael's reminder Lori!!

Girl I'm with you on Christmas. We've got 4 nieces & 3 nephews. On top of that I've got 2 sets of parents, Mr F's got one. I've got 4 siblings and Mr F's family does a more $$ gift exchange (although I'm not sure well be included this year).
For our kids I'm going to get one gift from Mr F & I to the girls each, and one gift from the girls to each other. The rest is Santa. I've kind of lucked out this year because Kid is interested in Playmobile. I'm getting a bigger set and putting all the smaller pieces inside the stocking. Baby is still clueless she just needs a couple things in there for Kid's benefit.
For our family I'm no longer buying individual gifts. The kids will get some small gift under $10 and my older nieces will get Target gift cards in their age amounts. My parents, g'parents, and siblings are all getting a gift basket of homemade treats and ornaments made by the kids. This year might be awkward but they don't need the stuff I buy them anymore than I need what they give me. I'm done stressing and pretending all the time. Everyone likes brownies and caramel corn and it's easy to pack and ship.

Nutmeg said...

For family gift giving we have a gifting only to children policy. Although, this has frankly left us spending twice as much as everyone else (we would receive one gift and buy two), I don't really care. For me it is the thought a person gives a gift. The thought that in November, we call our nephew's parents and tell them what we are thinking of getting them (note, we don't ask what to get them, because that shows we didn't think about it) and they tell us if they think their kids will like it or not, and if not, they suggest something they will like. My mom gets something big and a lot of little stuff, because Christmas is honestly her absolute favorite time of year and my life is better if she is happy.

I hope to receive nothing except maybe some nice pieces of clothing I wouldn't buy myself.

As far as types of gifts, I am ALL about the consumables. What kid doesn't need a bucket of sidewalk chalk or some markers and a pad of paper, or a bubble related item. You use that stuff up and you always need more.

I haven't had to tackle gifts for people I'm not really good friends with yet, so we'll see. I think consumables, crafty things, and books.

I'm working on something for making newspaper look less like newspaper so that I can wrap stuff in it. Maybe some food coloring or watered down water colors. I'm thinking tinting it and some opaque seasonal/birthday appropriate stamps will make it look DELIBERATE rather than.. I just ran out of wrapping paper.

Oh.. and I have several rolls of that target solid paper. It's perfect for many occassions, gender neutral, and cheap, but now I'm trying to reuse things.

Mrs Furious said...

now this would be somewhat toxic (I can't currently think of a non toxic way to do it) but you could get a glitter or metallic spray paint and BOOM that newspaper would be fabulous and completely intentional.

Nutmeg said...

Totally a good idea, could be used very sparingly... and most importantly could be done AFTER presents were wrapped, so wouldn't be wasted by cutting it off while wrapping.

Also, maybe writing using white glue "happy birthday" or "merry christmas" etc and dusting with some fine glitter... the same can be done with embossing powder and stamping stuff. You've got me going now!

Mrs Furious said...

Oh I'm into it... too bad we don't read the paper. I'm into enough to consider pilfering through our neighbors recycling though ;)

Lori said...

Yep, Read it!
I get my books from the library too. I haven't purchased a book in many years. The last book I got was a gift. It was the Martha Stewart homemaking, now all I need is her new one "cooking school."
Have to get that for Christmas.
She has so much great info.

We draw names for the extended family at Christmas. Much less hassle. Still give other kids gift cards. Impersonal, but that's really what they want after the age 13.

We should really try the compacting, but Ohhh, I'm scared!!Very challenging obstacle/thought. How long did it take you to decide to wrap your mind around it?

katieo said...

Well, you can probably guess that I've been an "under $10" gifter for awhile. I had the same guilt issues with how much I was spending until Sam was old enough to start getting invited to parties. It was like I woke up one day, "WHY am I spending this much money on crap EVERY month? THEY DON'T CARE." I notice too that when I tried to combine a couple of small gifts, the kids didn't really notice the gifts as much. But with one good gift (and if we can get a winner at a good price) they seem to open it and focus on it more. I'm not sure if I'm making that up to justify how cheap I am. still.

I have green polka dot paper that is used for birthdays Christmas and everything else.

and Mrs F. welcome to the Target-ban club. That's one of the reasons Wal Mart saves me money. Lack of cute stuff. Heck, lack of good lighting. In fact Wal Mart pretty much sucks the joy out of shopping. I get out of there as quick as I can.

Elizabeth said...

See with Target vs. Walmart, in Target I *want* everything! In Walmart I wander around in a zombie-like daze, and get to my car with so. much. stuff.

I'm trying not do do either unless I must. Though I did do my grocery shopping at Target the other day and managed to only get a few extra things.

That was mostly a result of another bad habit of mine, the desire to just *drive* somewhere on the weekends. I feel the need to get out/away for awhile... and end up at Target!

Mrs Furious said...

OH that's funny. When you asked about the shirts I was like "I didn't know that concert was in Utah". But it seemed likely enough that they would.

And I agree 100% that the kids do not care.

I'm still wrapping my brain around it! I want to be very careful about what I say I'm going to do... kind of because I'm scared... but also because I want to be successful.

Oh I hear you on the needing to get out of the house and ending up at Target. This has pretty much been my MO for my entire adulthood. I have a very hard time thinking of things to do "by myself". Shopping has always kind of filled that void.

Haley said...

Giftgiving is tricky business. I used to study cultural anthropology and "gifting" is one of those universal activities that we all invest a lot of symbolic content in -- obligation, control, love, respect. Fascinating stuff.

As you know, my extended family (all 13 of us) decided to make all our gifts for each other. Simple enough, right. But then new "rules" began popping up, like parents could give children extra purchased stuff. And then spouses could give a special purchased item. What was going to be a simple homemade christmas is starting to snowball just a bit... ah well.

Gigs said...

I was JUST at Walmart last night to get a birthday party gift for a 10yo. I did exactly what you were talking about - rounding out the gift. I got a $7 nerf gun, and even though that comes in a pretty big box I felt it wasn't expensive enough, so I grabbed a bionicle too. Then I thought, screw it, and put the bionicle back. The kid's not going to care. I must have been channeling you on a subconscious level :) And Christmas, oy. We do gifts for children only with the extended family, but it can still get pretty crazy. Sometimes it's just hard to reign it in...

Gigs said...

I was JUST at Walmart last night to get a birthday party gift for a 10yo. I did exactly what you were talking about - rounding out the gift. I got a $7 nerf gun, and even though that comes in a pretty big box I felt it wasn't expensive enough, so I grabbed a bionicle too. Then I thought, screw it, and put the bionicle back. The kid's not going to care. I must have been channeling you on a subconscious level :) And Christmas, oy. We do gifts for children only with the extended family, but it can still get pretty crazy. Sometimes it's just hard to reign it in...

Gigs said...

ugh, didn't meant to post twice.

Renee said...

We too, just sat down and did a new budget and I, like you, Mrs. F almost had a panic attack when we only had $200 extra per month after all of our, there are definitely things we can cut back on (Direct TV, etc.) but I cannot help but worry with me being a stay at home mom and my husband running his own business that any emergency that could come up ie car breaking down, etc. would put us in debt...not to mention at our current rate, we won't have enough to cover property taxes without dipping into savings, etc. I'm very curious to know what the average family spends on groceries per week-anyone willing to share that info? I've wanted to go completely organic for quite a while (there are certain things I try to always buy organic-milk, fruit, veggies, etc.) but at our current budget, find it tough to do organic for everything (like meat). I would just love to know what the average family of four spends on groceries per week to see if I can adjust my spending there. (I know I also need to get a lot better about clipping coupons, etc. but find when I do this, I usually wind up buying something I normally wouldn't!!!)

On another note, Mr. F is DEFIITELY a hubby used to freak everytime he found out how much I spent on haircuts/color..when I was working, it was no big deal because it was my money, but now that I'm not, it became much more of an issue. I'm happy to report I ended up finding someone that cuts my hair now for $25 which is super cheap without resorting to Supercuts or a place like that (its definitely not a salon experience like I had come accustomed to and I'm usually in there w/ little old ladies getting their hair 'set' for the week) but the stylist does a great job for the money. I think $50-$60 is really on average for haircuts these day-I've spent that much in Raleigh, Charlotte and Asheville...esp. w/ a short cut you want someone who knows what they are doing and Mrs. F-your hair looks fantastic so I agree w/ Mr. F that its money well spent (and you are VERY lucky to have a husband that feels that way!!!) But you are right that having a shorter cut is more expensive because you have to have it cut a lot more often.

Renee said...

Sorry for the long post above! Yet again, it feels like you are reading my mind Mrs. F and its hard for me to do short comments!

Mrs Furious said...

I've actually done lots of research on food expense and the USDA has it divided into 3 spending categories. I wrote about a long time ago and then took it down... but basically I thought we'd be way over and I was shocked that we were actually came in between the the middle and top bracket (I forget how they were divided but kind of by economic standings). We spend about 150 a week on groceries (not diapers or cleaners). That is really with just about everything you can get organic (somethings that don't come that way I do buy when needed) and all grass fed hormone free meats, cage free eggs, etc. We also eat meat or fish just about every night and that includes kid's lunches which also includes her smoked salmon every day. Our only drinks we buy are milk, coffee, and half & half. Occasionally OJ and very occasionally alcohol.

Mrs Furious said...

correction I found the USDA break down for family grocery spending (4 people)
Thrfty Plan: $457.80 a month

Low-Cost Plan: $574.20 a month

Moderate Plan: $703.90 a month

Liberal Plan: $871.70

We are actually now down between Low Cost and Moderate and doing it all with organic/high end foods. So I feel pretty good about that. Those figures are from 2007.

Renee said...

Wow, thanks for the great information....guess I've always thought that our budget wouldn't allow for going completely organic but from the info you gave, it appears that I'm mistaken....I need to cut out snacks, etc. I've wanted to shop soley at Earth Fare for a while but didn't think I could afford it for everything. Any ideas on good organic snacks? You are very lucky that Kid will eat smoked salmon...I love your menu plan that you are posting and I'm going to start trying to follow it-thanks. I'd love suggestions on what you typically pack for Kid's lunch at school? Thanks for all the great information!!!!!

Mrs Furious said...

Well I can tell you what I do in person. But last year I spent closer to 200 a month (but that included diapers) and by making dinners that fed us dinner and not leftovers (that would never get eaten) I've saved us some serious money. I really make 4 portions period. Unless I am doing something for the freezer... but you get the gist.

Mrs Furious said...

Hey Gigs... that was a relevant enough comment that you should have posted it twice ;)
My impulse to round out a gift will be a very hard thing to get over.

Oy the snowballing. Every time I've tried to introduce the idea of reducing our spending as an extended family it is met with that kind of response.

Missives From Suburbia said...

Great ideas everyone is posting on gifts for kids. I haven't gotten to that point with birthday parties every week yet, but I know it's coming.

As for Christmas, I know it's not going to go over well, but I'm getting ready to make the calls to my family and tell them they're not getting Christmas presents this year. They don't need the crap we buy them, and we don't need the crap they buy us. On the other hand, I have a very good friend whose husband just lost his job, and they're really struggling, and they DO need gift cards and clothes for their kids and whatnot, so the message my family is getting is thanks for helping out some people who really need it this year with the money that would have been spent on your gifts. I wasn't going to spend money at all this year, until our friends hit a rough patch.

Mrs Furious said...

A couple of years in a row I did different donation gifts in leu of actual gifts... they were not well received. I'll be interested to hear how this goes over for you.

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