Friday, December 11, 2009

Call me Scrooge.

I know, two posts in one day.  Crazy, right?!
Truthfully, I'm not sure I can say any of this without coming off as a total good-for-nothin' Scrooge.  But does anyone else feel like people are tugging at your wallet left and right to give to this and give to that this season? - like exponentially more than in seasons past?  Yes, I know about the economy and all.  I know that has a lot to do with it.  Charities and organizations are hurting more than usual.   I get that.  Families are hurting - here and everywhere else.  I get that.  We do what we can - the hub and I are big into giving.  It's seriously our favorite thing to do with money.  But we're just not in a position to do as much as we'd like to this season.


And yeah, I know everyone says that.  But I really know this to be true because I'm a budgeting fool.  I'd like to say we could skip eating out a time or two and instead give that cash to a needy family.  Well, we don't eat out.  I'd like to say I could not go shopping this month and instead put that cash toward gifts for children at a shelter, but um... haven't bought myself a THING in over a year.  OK yes, dear readers... I did partake in the Old Navy $2 tank sale a couple of months ago.  Yes, yes I did.  But $40 over a 15 month period is pretty damn good.  Tank tops are my #1 wardrobe essential next to jeans.  (Do I need to keep justifying this?!)


Our Christmas spending this year was very well thought out and carefully crafted to obtain maximum dollar value for as little cash out of pocket as possible.  And I kicked some major ass this year.  We got over $1,100 worth of gifts (retail value), but only spent $370.  That's a personal record for sure.  And oh, how I laugh thinking of *old* me, who would've probably spent that much on myself while shopping for others!  hahahaha...  wow, have I changed. 


The hub and I do not get gifts for each other.  If you're broke, it's pretty ridiculous to, if you ask me.  A homemade card and making googly eyes at each other across the table have sufficed for all birthdays and holidays over the last year or so.  Last year we did actually adopt a kid at a local shelter and spent what we would've spent on each other, on her.  That was SO fun.  And so much better than any gift we could've gotten each other.  Now don't get me wrong - I love birthdays, I love Christmas, I love Valentine's Day and everything inbetween.  I love any reason to celebrate anything.  And I LOVE giving and getting gifts.  But we're just not in a position to do all that right now - so we're forced to get a little creative for the time being.  That's truly been fun.


And the budget's extra tight right now because the hub is on the job hunt.  We think he's getting really close, but it still makes for an uber tight budget for us till he's got something nailed down.  Which is fine - we're managing what we can and trusting God with the rest.  But it is what it is - which brings me back to my beef on people asking me for money left and right...  I ain't got none.


It's hard for me to say *no* sometimes to these kinds of things, but this year we've just had to.  Though I'd love to say *yes* to  ALL those who ask, we can only say yes to a few.  But for real, it just seems like we've gotten a flood of requests this year...  whether it be from church, small groups, work, friends, neighbors, the Publix check-out lady...  it's everywhere!  I so wish I could do it all.  But I can't. 


Some you can ignore (like the random blurbs in your neighborhood newsletter), but others you can't.  Like this week I got an email where someone actually assigned part of a gift for me to go out and buy for this family.  And they of course said "if you can't do it, no problem, let me know."  But I feel like a total Scrooge for saying "I can't."  And geez, does that mean someone else in the group has to pick up my slack?  Am I "that girl?"  Goodness.   But seriously, I'm all out.  We've given what we can give this month and we're out.  You've got my prayers but the ole wallet is empty.  God tells us to take care of our own household first, so a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.  (I gotta eat.)


But for real, have y'all felt like the amount of "requests" for donations and gifts, etc has like quadrupled since last Christmas?  I don't expect that to change.  But I know our situation will... and I can't WAIT to be able to give like crazy when it does.  Seriously, there's nothing more fun.  It's one of the things I look forward to most about being debt-free!


Happy Dash said...

I couldn't agree more! I love to give as much as possible when it is possible. I try to avoid major chain stores on the weekend because of the folks in front of the store collecting for charity. I wish I had a sticker I could wear that says "I've given my gifts this season, I hope I can give more next" ... I don't think it's scrooge at all, just reality right now! I believe prayers are a great gift as well :)

Anonymous said...

Hey, you have to just politely say no to each and every request. It gets easier but deep inside you might feel a little Scroogy. But it will be worth your effort to keep sticking to Dave's plan. Once you pay off your debts - then you can begin to give as you can.
Since we paid off all our debt - I still am a total tightwad with gift giving. Folks on my list already have enough crap & they won't love me less for not buying them more crap.

Instead I've given money to the Salvation Army folks (& not a paltry buck either), I gave a scarf to a homeless guy standing at the red light last week. I gave $5 bucks to a young 20 -something kid holding a sign saying he was broke & hungry the other day.

I don't care if that kid took the money & bought liquor or drugs - like everyone told me happens if you give a homeless person money - so what if they do? If they find comfort in it - so be it! It's his money now to do with it as he needs.

I gave very little to my friends & family last year & even this year. They will be fine. They have enough stuff as is & we all know it!

Like Dave talks about - there's a time when "more is too much & less is just enough".

Don't let guilt or your own self-imposed expectations that you MUST give a better gift than last year or a more expensive gift or even a gift. Last year we gave out Christmas cards & not much else. It was a tad embarrassing & felt tacky - but everyone understood & loved us more for sticking to our guns & coming out the other side no worse for wear & debt free.

So this year - I kept the gift giving to bare minimum. I'm not getting myself back into financial trouble ever again. never.ever.again. But I felt like a hero for giving a couple bucks to a young homeless kid & giving the scarf off my neck to the guy shivering on the street corner.

Maybe now I truly understand what gift giving really means.

Best of luck to you & yours Amanda. Merry Christmas too!

Hugs, Jane

Gracie Beth said...

I was so stressed in November because I had to take an angel tree child because my sorority took 10 and no one was willing to help, I have never been more disappointed with those ladies in my life.

Gabriella said...

You're not being a scrooge. The times are not good, and it's better to be thrifty for now and the future. You never know what life holds for us.

I too feel guilty when I can't donate to a charity, but if you can't you can't.

I suggest become a part of a community/non profit organization that does fundraisers so that you can still donate your time without having to donate your money.

I'm in a church organization where we hold dances and fundraisers to have money (we have 25k+, WOW)! and we were able to donate to churches in developing countries, food pantries, and college scholarships. It's awesome and not a dime comes out of my pocket.

Marden Family said...

Be proud of yourself, like the girls said above :) You guys have accomplished so much! On another note, will you please share how you got all those gifts for so little?! I'd love some "cheap" gift ideas :)

PammyS said...

Girl, I hear ya. It did seem like a lot of people were asking (like every grocery store, etc)...But, know that we think you guys are among the most generous people that we know!!!