The Christmas Gifts I’m Getting for Myself
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Let’s be real, gifts on holidays and birthdays can be a let down. I get that it’s the thought that counts, and fortunately my family stopped exchanging gifts, but the in laws and some other people still insist on annual gift giving. I always try to have a few items on my wish list around this time of year, but inevitably I end up with something similar (but not equal). (Check out my gift guide, if you are looking for ideas.)
So, like most people I started just buying “gifts” for myself. Yes, yes, it’s really just a trick to fool my frugal self into enjoying the splurge a bit more! Plus, I end up with the gift I’ve always wanted!
“Gifts” don’t always cost money, and I also use the holidays to check in on my health, relationships, and giving.
I love to read, and typically hunt my local libraries (yes, plural) for the books I want to read. But I still occasionally buy a book, with the intent to re-read or pass it on to a friend. This year, I’ve pre-ordered two books, that I’m particularly excited to read!
Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence through Simple Living by Elizabeth Thames
I’m incredibly excited Liz AKA Mrs. Frugalwoods wrote a book! Their blog helped make the achieving financial independence feel worthwhile and achievable. While our goal is not to retire to a homestead in Vermont, our family shares many similarities, and her writing has helped me on my journey to spend less money while living the good life.
Cait is another awesome personal finance blogger, who is an incredible writer. She is honest and open about her story and has helped guide my path towards consuming less.
Also, Amazon has an awesome pre-order price guarantee, where after you order you will pay the lowest price!
One of our big drivers for consuming less is to reduce our impact on the environment. We do this day to day by paying attention to the groceries we buy and not wasting food.
We also strive to drive less, and hope to become a one car household next year! To reach that goal, we need to bike more, and the best way to encourage that (at least for us) is to buy an ebike. So, in November we bought a mid-drive conversion kit from Luna Cycle for one of our bikes.
In our challenge to grow more of our own food, we are already planning ahead for next year’s garden, and we’ve decided to upgrade our seed starting set up. Instead of buying plant starts from the local nursery we grow most of our plants from seed starting in February. Last year we used fluorescent lights we had lying around the house, this year we are buying LEDs to consume less energy and hopefully have better results.
Building and nurturing relationships enables our family to live the frugal life. Spending time with people doesn’t require spending extravagant amounts of money and is a favorite way to spend my time.
I’ve learned so many frugal practices from my observing others and lending a hand. For example, growing up I’ve never had a garden, but two of my friends are working towards growing an income from their organic vegetable plot. We’ve offered to help plant, weed, and harvest their land to learn alongside them. Now, we have a large garden that grows most of our summer produce.
This holiday season we are focusing on strengthening our relationships:
- Took a road trip and visited friends along the way
- Spent time with our close friends instead of exchanging gifts
- Focused on our marriage by taking a vacation (mostly) just the two of us
- Gathered with family for a baking day
- Spent time with my mom and cousin’s children to allow the parents to get a weekend to themselves in December
Donations and Giving Back
I don’t share the details of our giving in our spending reports, but we do give our money away towards causes we support. We donate both time and money regularly, and participating in the Act of Kindness group has helped focus our giving in December.
While on vacation we picked up all the non cigarette butt garbage we found on our walks/hikes. (Um, who is drinking all the boxed wine and ditching it in parking lots?)
We upped our typical giving when we decided to slash our income next year. We probably won’t have as much money to give when Mr. Kiwi starts school again in January, we realized that our emergency fund is fully funded, and we should take this opportunity to give a little more.
Finding time to be alone and in stillness is rare during the holiday season, but I crave that time. Through participating in the Adventure Rich #ARStreak, I’ve found time to practice yoga *most* days (I’m not perfect!), which helps me be a better spouse and person.
I totally struggle with always planning the next activity or step, and building downtime into my calendar helps me to care for my health.
What are you getting yourself this year?