Before I get started, I understand not everyone likes Valentine’s Day. That’s fine by me. So please don’t poo-poo on a post about it if it’s not your thing. Feel free to simply skip this one, it may not be for you.
My husband and I like Valentine’s Day. It’s just one more day to celebrate each other. We frequently surprise each other with small tokens or acts of love and appreciation, but having specific days to aim for is fun too. A random Sonic drink is awesome. Your other taking care of the chore you like the least kicks butt. For us, so does a cliché but yummy or pretty gift around February 14th.
We also frequently suck at patience when it comes to gift giving. This year, I surprised him with his Valentine’s Day treats 2 days early simply because we both had long days and I wanted to see a smile. It works out since I can now share what I got him!
Valentines Day for Less Than $15
- Goofy Card – 50 cents at Dollar Tree
- Pink Zebra-Striped Gift Bag – $1 at Dollar Tree
- Lovey-Dovey Balloon – $1 at Dollar Tree
- Lindor Raspberry and Orange Truffles – 2 Bags for $7 at Walgreens
- Ghirardelli Raspberry Chocolate – $2.69 at Walgreens
- Total with Taxes – about $13.50
And that $13.50 was hokey enough to get a laugh, a huge smile, and a husband eating chocolate slowly like when he hoarded it as a kid after Halloween, LOL.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!
Man, what a holiday season!!! Food, family, friends, and I still have a lingering cough. But I am hitting 2015 hard starting today. Here is a quick update on my life from the last few weeks since I abandoned you and my blog for the holidays:
- Pet sitting, pet sitting, and a little more pet sitting
- Christmas Eve with my family
- Christmas Day with hubby’s family
- Early birthday potluck slumber party for me on December 28
- Birthday dinner on December 30
- New Year’s Eve at my grandparent’s house
- The 10th Annual Lonestar Game Fest board gaming convention from January 1-4, 2015
- Watched the second of my little sister’s 3D sonograms online on January 3 LIVE while it streamed from her new home city. Cool beans!
- Just started tracking what I eat again.
Throughout all of that, I’ve had bad allergies and a weird cough. I’ve also been trying to get the leak in our downstairs ceiling to start again so it can be tracked down and repaired. Our Christmas gifts were all well received and hopefully appreciated. We received quite a few awesome things and some cash and gift cards. Our roommates steam cleaned all of the carpets. I am reorganizing the guest bedrooms and will tackle organizing the whole house again one room at a time in the next month.
I am back and you will start seeing me post every week day again. I did miss all of you – the lack of time just led to a lack of posts. I’m all the way back now.
How did your holidays go?
I hope you all are getting time with your loved ones as this year wraps up. Pet sitting and family and friends are getting the majority of my time right now, so you may not hear from me until 2015. We’ll see. I can say that I’ve learned how to make delicious pinto beans using the leftover ham bone finally. I see a recipe going up as some point.
J Money’s post about his budget from years ago inspired me to look up my past too. My husband and I set a budget of $500 for Christmas for the last 4-5 years, and we generally do pretty well. The main difference has become that we used to hang out with 20 or less people including family…now it’s 35-40. I consider that an amazing life change. But it has changed our shopping habits.
Our Christmas Budget in 2011
We spent $510 on our families and friends in 2011. There were 18 people – 9 family members and 9 friends. If you do the math, those numbers mean that we spent an average of $25-$30 per person. There were some $40-$50’s and some $10-$15’s, but we definitely spent more per person back then than now. It helped that it was a great financial year. That was the year that I went self-employed, still had a classic day job for 6 of those months, and my husband was a public school teacher. I had very little time away from the computer, but I was excited about a new path.
Our Christmas Budget Now in 2014
This year, we have spent $470. There are 35 people on our list – 12 family members and 23 friends. More friends is a “problem” that I am so thankful to have. It just takes a little extra planning and some serious thoughts on people’s inner wants, lol. These numbers mean that we are now spending an average of $13.50 per person. That’s about half of what we used to spend on each person, yet I think our gifts are more thoughtful and will be better-received. I’ll let you know if I’m wrong.
We made some of our gifts, splurged in some places, but also found amazing deals right before Black Friday. Honestly, the 30% off at Think Geek, Groupon Good sales, and good deals on Amazon accounted for the majority of our gift list. I also made beer bread and Mr. BFS mixed up some homemade spice mixes since one of our friends needed stuff to fit in a small living space. About $40 was spent on little extras here and there like stocking stuffers.
How has your Christmas budget changed over the last few years?
I started decorating for Christmas yesterday. My roommate, Mandy, was helping me and we kept talking about things as they came out of the box. That’s when she met my tree topper and skirt…
My Tree Topper and Skirt
Mandy saw me take Santa’s hat and a fitted sheet with a snowflake pattern out of the ornament box and looked a little quizzical.
I replied, “Oh yeah, that’s the Santa hat for the top of the tree and a fitted sheet for the tree skirt. I didn’t have a star or angel or skirt the first time I decorated this in my first apartment in 2004, so I stuck the hat up there and the fitted sheet down there. It’s been a tradition ever since.”
The hat was about $3 and the fitted sheet was part of a hand-me-down set that was too warm to use. They have made a great tree topper and skirt for 10 years now. If you like this idea, you can find $1 Santa’s hats at Dollar Tree and probably other dollar stores.
For the fitted sheet, just take a look at your extra sheet sets. You may also find them at garage sales or resale shops for less than you’d buy them retail. Or if that is a bust, buy some cheap fabric and you can cut out your own tree skirt pretty easily. No reason to spend a ton on something that will be covered in wrapped presents anyway.
Overall, decorating your Christmas tree doesn’t have to cost you a chunk of your holiday budget. It’s about having fun, celebrating the holidays, and finding your own traditions.
What sort of holiday decoration tips do you have for all of us? Please share!
I have a lot to catch you all up on! It’s not extremely finance-related, but it’s a bunch none-the-less.
Board Game Geek Convention 2014
The Board Game Geek Convention is an annual board gaming extravaganza in Dallas, TX. I usually spend the time socializing and playing social games like Reverse Charades. This year, I volunteered to be on Team Geek for the first time. From November 18-23, I was supposed to be volunteering a grand total of around 16-20 hours. I ended up volunteering about 35 hours. Oops. But it was fun and I’d do it again. I got to know some amazing people, was Cat Woman yet again for a day or two, and generally had an amazing time. Since we shared our hotel room, it ended up costing us about $600 total:
- My husband’s ticket – $85
- Hotel – $350
- Gas – $25
- Food – $150
- Total = $610
We got back from BGG Con on November 23, and then got ready to host Friends Thanksgiving November 26. This was my husband’s third year of inviting some friends over the day before Thanksgiving for a feast and general, stress-free hangout time. Mr. BFS cooks absolutely everything except the sweet potatoes (that’s me, lol):
- A 23-Pound Turkey
- Sausage Cornbread Dressing
- 5 Pounds of Mashed Potatoes
- Sweet Potatoes (I’ve cut back the butter and brown sugar about 25-35%)
- Steamed Broccoli
- Butternut Squash
- Green Beans
- Corn Bread
- Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
- 2 Apple Pies
- Total Paid for Groceries = $105
We saw both sides of our family last week too. I made more sweet potatoes for my in-laws’ Thanksgiving for Thursday, and my family stopped by after cutting down their Christmas tree on Black Friday. On Saturday, I watched my little sister’s first 3D sonogram live through a streaming site. How cool is it that she’s in Austin and I got to see everything in Houston at the same time?! Here are some creepy yet super cool pictures of my upcoming nephew…I should be an Aunt in about 3 months…
Pet Sitting (and the Lack of Internet)
I also may have mentioned in passing that I was pet sitting at someone else’s home from November 15 through this morning, December 1. Well, minus the time we were at BGG Con in Dallas. Anyway, it went great, but their internet stopped working for me around Thanksgiving, so I’ve been working mainly from my phone for the last few days. It’s nice to be back online.
Like I said, whew!!! Hope your last two weeks were awesome but maybe less busy!