Need Advice

Lounge By wgoat5 Updated 30 Oct 2007 , 1:30pm by KellJ

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wgoat5 Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 11:27am
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Ok here is my dilema....Every year for 11 years my DH has gotten a bonus of 4300.00 for Christmas. They spring it on us this year that they aren't getting it!!!!!!!!! icon_cry.gif I know you aren't supposed to rely on bonuses but people do and we did. The kids ALWAYS had a wonderful Christmas.

What I want to know is what do you all do? I have heard some get small loans that they can pay off when they get their tax refund or a small one that can be paid off by the next Dec.

I know it is crazy that I expect them to have a awesome Christmas. They DO know the true meaning of it ..... but they don't ask for anything year round and I believe they deserve it. We usually took about 3000.00 and each child got exactly what they wanted ....usually around 1000.00 a child. Now what are we supposed to do? Tell the kids that Santa couldn't? I know the bigger kids know there is not a "real" Santa but the baby...she is 5.

Please advice...maybe tell me what you all do for Christmas money. I usually do save and start by Febuary...and for some reason didn't start the Christmas shopping early OR saving money.

Thank you for your time and thanks for listening to my whine


31 replies
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itsmylife Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 12:24pm
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I hate to say this but, we rely on my parents a lot at Christmas. The kids are still at an age where the toys aren't rediculously expensive - but my parents love to indulge the, at Christmas, it's a big help to us.

If you can't go that route..... maybe the small loan would do. I have a friend who takes out a 2,000 loan every year to pay for Christmas and she always pays it back within a month or two so she's not getting killed on the interest (she always tries to save this money during the year, but something always this is how she's done it for the last 3 years). At least with a loan... your interest rate would be relatively low compared to a credit card.

I wouldn't go by way of credit card unless you knew you could pay it off quickly. A small loan would be much better, IMHO.

That's pretty crappy about your DH's job cutting the bonuses. Reminds me of that scene in Christmas Vacation when Clark (who always got a big bonus every year) finally gets what he thinks is his bonus (to get a pool), and it was a certificate for a jelly of the month club. Classic.

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Memie Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 1:44pm
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My husband is paid weekly and we have 100.00 taken out each week and put in a Christmas Club account. In November, it's transferred into our checking account and that's what we use. It took a while to get used to the lesser amount of "take home" pay, but now we don't have to worry about having Christmas money. We also have extra taken out and put into an account that is used only for big expenses like car insurance - kind of like an escrow account.

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Jenteach Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 3:34pm
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I actually know of a financial institution near me that is giving interest free loans for $2,000 until March 31, 2008 for Christmas shopping. Do you think there would be a bank near you that may do that? I would go to your bank and see what kind of small loan you could take. The rate shouldn't be too bad....



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mkerton Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 10:22pm
post #5 of 32

OH my gosh!!! I cant imagine spending that per child!!! (I mean its great when you can but makes it harder and harder to live up to ya know).......... we dont do a huge x-mas but if I were you I would see if you can bargain shop (even if you cut your total to $700/child you would save some money) and try and get a small loan.....but I wouldnt keep up with previous years. Honestly I dont think its a good example to set for children that even when times are tough we still get just as much (this is why much of the country is in debt up to their eyeballs and some are even losing their homes)!. Its not very real world ya know??? And since the 5 yr old is your only believer, I highly doubt she/he will be adding up the gifts with a calculator......

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Kiddiekakes Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 10:27pm
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I agree with mkerton.....It isn't the amount of money you spend on each child...It the time spent with Family and giving is just a part of that.Maybe start a new semi-tradition that you might spend less and maybe do something together like crafts,reading games etc...and maybe make each a gift no matter how cheesy or inexpensive!!Just a thought!!

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leily Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 10:32pm
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Growing up I always had good christmas's from my parents until one year (somewhere around 8 or 9) the finances were VERY VERY tight. I remember in november that my parents brought up at dinner that christmas this year was not going to be like the rest, but we were still going to have a great year! They were honest with me and told me that next year they hope to be doing better.

Well guess what, that was one of the best christmas's I can remember! My parents were pretty resourceful with things we already had, or silly little things but we got to spend a lot of time together deciding what to get for someone else in the family, and that is what I remember the most, spending that extra time with my parents.

Actually that year what I got my mom was coloring books and crayons (she had been sick off and on for about 3-4 months with different things and was stuck at home) It is still one of the christmas presents she talks about the most (oh yeah, we put it in the bottom of a box full of pillows, but acted like it was full of bricks when we brought it in (my two uncles had to help move it!)

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JoAnnB Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 10:37pm
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going into debt for Christmas is usually a mistake. You counted on the bonus and it didn't happen. If you count on a tax refund or some windfall to pay off a loan, the same thing could happen.

People all over the country are losing their houses because of debt.

Your children will be happier with less, because YOU will be happier without a huge burden.

Just my opinion. Happy Holidays.

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wgoat5 Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 12:37am
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You all are right. We will explain to the older children that things will be tight this year. We will get REALLY involved with Church this year and just be VERY happy that we have each other and God!!!! So many people have soooo much less then the kids have!!! We will give BACK this year. A gift that they want and then clothes that they need...the rest will be given to charity...whatever we can spare. I TRULY appreciate you all bringing the light to my eyes. I mean I always KNEW what it meant (Christmas) I just have been very bad at stressing it!! icon_sad.gif I feel ashamed...but it will change

Thank you !!!!!!!!!!

Christi icon_biggrin.gif

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jules06 Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 12:59am
post #10 of 32

Christi, I for one would love to be able to buy my kids everything they want at christmas but as a single mum of 5, it's impossible !! As long as they get 1 thing they truly want,they're happy, I'm happy - In my wildest dreams I would spend $1000 per child !!! My kids would love you icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif
But like everybody else has said, christmas is more than the monetary value of their presents ; you have each other, your health, a roof over your heads,

and love !!!

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wgoat5 Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 1:09am
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Jules you are exactly right. What is more important is just having each other and the love we share with each other!!! icon_smile.gif

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indydebi Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 1:18am
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children are not as materialistic as you think they are unless you teach them to be. I'm sure they are not going to be running the calculator, as was mentioned above.

We absolutely do not believe into going into debt for Christmas. We use NO credit cards, no loans .... cash only. And we don't have a Christmas club. You'd be amazed what you DON'T need when you have to actually pay cash for it.

We buy for our 3 kids, 2 kids-spouses, 2 grandkids, and hubby's parents and we dont' spend $1000 for the whole shebang. For our entire lives, our kids got one big thing and then a few little things.

Saying "we know the true meaning of Christmas" and lamenting over not being able to spend $1000 per child seems like conflicting statements to me.

This sounds like a wonderful opportunity to explore your creativity gift-wise, and a great time to teach children that life comes with ups and downs. Sometimes the best gifts of our lives are the ones that had the lowest price tag .... something we got because we really really liked it, instead of something we got because it was the neatest, coolest, most "in" thing this year.

My hubby has bought me diamonds and fur coats for Christmas's past, but the best gift I can remember was a movie video of my favorite Christmas movie, "Scrooge" (the Albert Finney musical version of The Christmas Carol). It was on a $4 clearance table and I treasure it more than anything ..... because it MEANS something to me .... because my daughter KNEW how much I luv'd that movie and KNEW I would just love it. Four bucks. The best gift.

A friend of mine got me a cup and saucer marked "Occupied Japan" because she knew I collected antique asian china. It cost her nothing because it was a leftover from a friend's garage sale and her friend just gave it to her. It cost nothing. But when I opened it, I jumped up and gave her a big kiss on the cheek, right there in the office! Zero cost. The best gift.

I offer these examples to show that I'm not just saying the typical stuff you hear without being able to back it up. Many times the simple gifts are the best. Heck, my 30 year old daughter still gets a new coloring book and crayons every year because she still loves to color! icon_lol.gif

(And a pretty vase for gramma bought at the dollar store is just as pretty as a similar vase at Macy's that costs 20 times as much.)

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wgoat5 Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 1:26am
post #13 of 32

OH I can understand Debbie how it sounded conflicting...But it was going FROM spending that much to getting NO bonus. The kids will be fine. I know this and they know this. The one time of year that we do spend on the kids kinda got disrupted but it's all ok now. We will be FINE I know...was just a blow. His company keeps taking things away from them (and us).

Just a blow


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indydebi Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 1:33am
post #14 of 32

wgoat5, between hubby and me, we've been thru 4 corporate downsizings, so trust me, I DO understand the shock of the situation.

I'm betting that in the years to come, this will be talked about in your family as the best Christmas you ever had! thumbs_up.gif

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wgoat5 Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 1:40am
post #15 of 32

I am going to completely shock everybody this year with how I go about Christmas (people who know me anyways LOL)

Thank you ALL for the great advice!!! icon_smile.gif

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allycook Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 3:13am
post #16 of 32

Oh I know how you feel. We too have always relied upon a bonus at Christmas and doubt if it will be coming this year. I am planning on telling the family that this year we won't be exchanging gifts. I don't see stretching ourselves financially to get someone a gift they don't really need, especially those who already have everything they want. It seems rather foolish to put oneself in that position to maintian an image. So we are focusing on our 4 children. It won't be much but I am trying to think creatively. For example, for our 25th aniversary we couldn't exchange gifts but my husband wrote and bound our entire dating and marriage days. That far outweighs any bought gift, and I will treasure it. It's all about relationships anyway.

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Ohara Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 10:12am
post #17 of 32

Christi....I know it must have been a shock, no bonus. As indydebi stated that they have been through several down sizings, so have we. The first year of no bonus, when I was complaining about it, DH pointed out that at least we had a job and income. He was correct. The days of big company holiday parties and bonuses are basically over.
I could have written indydebi's post. We don't go in debt for Christmas. We get the kids one big gift and then a few small gifts. I am a thrifty shopper. I love a great buy. It's like a drug of choice, the rush I get from a great buy!
You will do great being creative. Could be a good thread...ideas for Christmas gifts, good sales or clearance items. Makes more eyes looking for a great deal, also would let others in on a sale they might not have heard about.
Does your little one like to play dress up? One year when mine was around 5, I found a plastic storage container that looked like a treasure chest. I went to the thrift store (Salvation Army) and bought "fancy" dresses, gloves, scarves, high heels....and filled the treasure chest. She loved it and all her little friends thought it was great. Last year my niece was into dress up, so after halloween I bought princess and fairy costumes on clearance from Target when they were 75% off. I got her 4 costumes for around $22. That was a great gift for her.
Just a few ideas.

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wgoat5 Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 11:09am
post #18 of 32

Ohara she DOES love to play dress up!!! I am sooo glad you said that. That is what we will do for her. Consignment stores is where we were gonna go look for her dress up gear!!


I guess the thing to remember (and my Dad always told me this but of course I didn't listen) is NEVER to rely on anything other then strick overtime, bonuses OR tax refunds....really if you think about it, job security is so up in the air right now you just gotta be careful.
My DH also reminded me that at least he has a job, AND that they didn't have to give him a penny, all those years of bonus' were just a gift from them. (hitting self on head) Shouldve had a V 8 LOL


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erinalicia Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 1:15pm
post #19 of 32

wgoat5- Sorry that your DH's company did that to everyone! A few years ago before my DH left a company they were taking benefits/bonuses away right and left. The company was eventually sold. I'm not saying that will happen to your DH.

I totally understand relying on a bonus. We all know we shouldn't do it, but when it comes uninterrupted for so long, you just start to count on it. My DH used to get quarterly bonuses at his last company. They were a lifesaver at times, but I knew exactly when he'd get one. If for some reason they had totally done away with them, we would have been in a real bind.

As for Christmas, I guess I'm lucky that my kids are under 2 years old. They don't understand all of it. Last year was my oldest's first Christmas and I don't think I even spent $100. I'm not very big on gifts anyway.

You're kids will understand. They'll probably appreciate it much more too.

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indydebi Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 2:21pm
post #20 of 32

I'm going to slightly hi-jack this thread, but it does pertain to Christmas and how we view it, and how the way we look at Christmas now was forever changed ..... so my apologies in advance for the hi-jack.

My sister, Vicky, died last March. She not only had the rarest form of blood cancer that exists, but also had double kidney failure. She was also mentally handicapped. She died at 43, but was mentally 10-14 (so if you can imagine your 10 year old child going thru all of this......)

In the beginning of her cancer, my husband made the comment once about "Poor Vicky ... she's had a hard life." And I got to thinking about it (and this story always makes me cry!).

All of us as parents know the phrase "To see Christmas thru the eyes of a child." Well, Vicky was forever 10 years old. Vicky got to see Christmas thru the eyes of a child her entire life. And shouldn't we all be blessed like that?

I shared this story with a church congregation during a memorial service for Vicky. I was telling the "eyes of a child" story and continued with how one year my eldest daughter and I were complaining about Christmas .... about the shopping and the traffic and the money to spend and the lack of time and everything that goes with the stress of the holiday.

Then I got a message from home that Vicky wanted to know when we were coming to town because she had gifts for all of us.

And my daughter and I were instantly ashamed. Because in the midst of her chemo treatments .... in between hospital stays, and outpatient surgeries and everything she was going thru ... Vicky remembered what Christmas was about. She remembered that it was about sharing and being with family. She wasn't whining about the traffic and the shopping and the money and the lack of time...she wasn't whining at all. And God knows she had more to whine about than all of us! And somehow she still found time to do what was important to her .... shopping for Christmas gifts for her family. none of them were expensive or extravegant ... but they are precious because they were from Vicky.

So now we look at Christmas a little different....all because of Vicky.

We see Christmas .... forever .... thru the eyes of child.

Vicky was the, let's just say "not smart" one in our family. I was the one who got straight A's without even trying. But I learned more from Vicky than she or anyone else can ever imagine. She is my hero, who I will always admire and look up to.

(Ok...I have to go blow my nose now.)

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krazykat_14 Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 3:06pm
post #21 of 32

I am also looking at a tight Christmas, so I'm trying to screw up the courage to look for a part-time job at a bakery to supplement my income over the next month or two. I work full-time now, but that little extra from evenings and weekends might be enough.

Also, consider telling extended family (in-laws, cousins) that instead of gifts, you'll make donations to a charity in their name? I'd like to do that, but I worry that they'll think I'm just cheap and not broke! Or, instead of buying gifts for people at work or whatever, make something-my co-workers are getting sugar ornaments-they aren't expensive for me to make, but they love the detail and "talent" that goes into them.

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indydebi Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 3:14pm
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Originally Posted by krazykat_14

Also, consider telling extended family (in-laws, cousins) that instead of gifts, you'll make donations to a charity in their name?

You buy for cousins????? I don't even buy for my sisters! (Except the last Christmas with Vicky and we bought for her.)

I come from a family of six kids ... hubby comes from a family of four .... and we all decided YEARS ago that our money would be spent on our kids, not on each other. We dont' buy for our brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. That can get too crazy!! We buy for each other (sometimes!), our kids and their spouses, our grandkids and hubby's parent.

Seriously, though, how is giving money to a charity in their name any cheaper than giving money to walmart for a gift of the same value?

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allycook Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 3:35pm
post #23 of 32

In the past we have given to all family members (24) which really is a stretch. Not this year though. One thing I did one year was give coupons for a different dessert for each month. It turned out to be something they received and enjoyed all year and it didn't break us all at one time. Also just giving a family gift as the kids get older has been another option for us.

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bec_elias Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 5:44pm
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Since my extended family has gotten bigger (spouses, kids), we had to stop giving to each other, because it got too expensive, so we have a Christmas eve dinner that we all bring a dish too and then do a white elephant Christmas for the adults and and we still buy small things for the kids. Usually I let my kids loose in a dollar store with 7 dollars to buy for their cousins. Then the kids are busy opening their stuff while the adults play the game. There is alway a price cap on the gift, such as $15 for the white elephant gift. This has honestly turned out to be so much fun, it's something we talk about all year. At least one inside joke always comes from it.

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krazykat_14 Posted 28 Oct 2007 , 4:11am
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Originally Posted by indydebi

You buy for cousins????? I don't even buy for my sisters! (Except the last Christmas with Vicky and we bought for her.)...

...Seriously, though, how is giving money to a charity in their name any cheaper than giving money to walmart for a gift of the same value?

Well, I have no hubby, so hubby's family, in-laws etc or hubby's income... I have a brother, but he lives in Nova Scotia-he gets nothing, and when my sister lived in Germany and Russia, she didn't get anything either... we (my mother, son and I) do spend Christmas with my Aunt, Uncle and their two daughters, so we try to buy a little something for them. Unfortunately, the time and energy trying to find gifts for people who already have everything they want and need is a bit overwhelming for me-they all make WAY more money than I do, so a $20 gift card is a pretty tight stretch-but a $10 donation would be easier for me-as long as the card from the charity doesn't say how much the donation is... just "a donation has been made in your name..."

Also, bec_elias, what is a white elephant?

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wgoat5 Posted 28 Oct 2007 , 4:19am
post #26 of 32

Well we decided......Son is getting a new ipod.. and a new church outfit...DD's are getting new church outfits, oldest dd is getting a ipod and youngest is getting a leap pad icon_smile.gif So all is well...They will be happy and we wont be broke!! icon_biggrin.gif

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TheCakerator Posted 28 Oct 2007 , 12:44pm
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Christi, I don't know if this will help you or not, but for my nephews Christmas gift we thought of getting him an IPOD .. then was saw the cost and nearly croaked! Since he's only 11 we decided he did not neeeeeeeeed the IPOD brand, so we went onto e bay and found a brand new in the box 1GB RCA flash mp3 player with a screen and earplugs and can hold up to 340 songs, waaaaay more then he will ever need, bought and shipped to our house for only $27.00 .... later that day while at Wal Mart we realized they had the same exact thing for $70.00 .. we felt really good about what we got him!

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Memie Posted 28 Oct 2007 , 4:14pm
post #28 of 32

We stopped buying for the adults in our family when it became nothing more that a gift certificate exchange. I like the way they exchange gifts on the TV show '7th Heaven' - it either has to be homemade or something the person already has - they aren't allowed to go out and buy anything.

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mezzaluna Posted 28 Oct 2007 , 5:48pm
post #29 of 32

Sheesh.... 1000 USD per kidlet is ALOT. Do you really think you are doing kids a favor by spending this much on them at one sitting? Getting them *everything they want*?

If there is no Xmas bonus this year, well, maybe it is time to finally downsize your Xmas spending. I'm sure it won't have any long-term negative effects on the kids.

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dydemus Posted 28 Oct 2007 , 11:57pm
post #30 of 32

Wow. I think you already are heading in the right direction Christi.

Too bad so many people focus on dollar amounts and how much of this and that. I think people who grow up with very little are blessed with the gift of what is really important and how to make the most of the very least. We had very little growing up with a one income pastor father - but Christmas was always awesome. We did a lot of projects together - crafts, baking, etc.... and being involved in church helps keep us close to the real meaning of the season.
So does giving to others (who truly need). I wish we had more opportunities to give and do for others so that we could show our kids what Christmas is about! Even a small thing like a giving tree where you buy a gift for a needy child. I bet most people's most treasured memory is a handmade ornament, or a gingerbread house done with a grandparent, or a meal they served at a shelter.

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