Chronicles Of A Father With Cents

Simple Life. Personal Finance. Family

How Do We Spend (or Not Spend) on Our Holiday Shopping


Happy Holidays!! It’s that time of year where many people around the world are gettingready for the holiday season by crowding the shopping malls and taking advantage of sales with.  It can be fun and stressful at the same time since consumers are in need to take advantage of the sales in order get gifts for their family, friends and/or even themselves.  From the various blogs I read, these sales especially on Black Friday are not a ‘deep discount’ since the value on most of them have gone down before the holiday season but stores want to term it as ‘60% or 70% off’ to get customers to their store.  But in our household we try to ignore all that noise by going a different route.  Yes we sometimes fall into the trap of these sales too but if we really want a particular item, we will buy it.  So here are some of the ways we go about our spending or not spending during this joyous part of the year.

Not Buying Gifts for Each Other

It has been going on for a while now, even before we got married where we agree that it’s not necessary to buy any gifts for each other not only during Christmas but also for Valentine’s Day and each other’s birthdays.  We only take advantage of the free food some restaurants offer when it’s your birthday, like Red Robin where you get a free burger during your birthday month.  We both feel that the marketing aspect of hyping up these holidays has made a lot of people feel obligated to go out and buy gifts for your loved one or take them out to an expensive restaurant so they will feel satisfied that they met the requirements of the special day and get them a nice gift or dinner.  But everyone’s different and we do not caught up in this consumerism.  We think that our Christmas/Valentine’s/Birthday is every day for us and so we don’t have to feel the need to do something special on those actual days because we feel special that we have each other along with Baby with Cents every single day.

Getting Holiday Cards for Friends and Family

This is probably the most stressful gift we try to come up for our friends and family.  With so many pictures we take together during the year, coming up with only 3 or 4 pictures to put on the holiday card is a tough task.  Other factors are the type of holiday card we want to use and what do we want to say on the card.  We always get our holiday cards from Costco since you can get 50 cards for $15, which is a good deal.  But with so much many cards to select from it’s really tough to choose which one is best for us to give out.  Mother with Cents is really particular in choosing the best one because she wants to have an area in the card where she can summarize what we did during the past year.  With Baby with Cents on board, we want to write the progress he has made during the year so others that receive it will know how much we value his progression.  This year is particular tough because the template we wanted is not available on Costco’s site anymore so we are currently scrambling for the best one.  Hopefully we can a good one.

Taking Advantage of Gifts We Receive at Work Holiday Parties

Hopefully no one from our jobs are not reading this(haha) but both Mother with Cents and I have holiday parties where our companies shower us with nice gifts to show their appreciation for the hard work we provide during the year.  We like the gesture but we don’t keep the gift for too long.  After receiving the gifts, we discuss who we can give these gifts to for Christmas.  That way we don’t have to worry buying our loved ones a gift.  Like earlier this month, my work does a raffle where they put the item to everyone and call out the number.  Everyone has a raffle number so we all get a gift and I got a Gucci cologne set that was valued at around $85.  Fortunately enough there was a return label on it from Macy’s and we immediately return it.  We used this credit get a $50 gift card that we are giving to one of our family members and the remaining $35 we will keep to buy something from the department store in the future.

Buying Box Snacks for Family

Since we both have huge families on both sides, we don’t stress on buying everyone a gift but rather buy one item for each family.  For example, we buy one gift for my first cousin and his immediate family or one gift to Mother with Cents’ first cousin and her husband.  It’s usually items like gourmet candy or cookies from Costco so everyone can eat and enjoy the gift.  An exception was one year when Mother with Cents’ decided to make knit hats and scarves for her side of the family.  It was a cool thing to do but for her it was a six month project where she had to make close to twenty of them.

How to you spend on your holiday shopping? Please feel free to comment below





  1. Great ideas! Taking advantage of holiday gifts is a great one. Generally I can get some money on an amazon visa from work and use that for some spending.

    I also use reward points to get money back which makes a big difference.

    • I do the same thing with my credit cards. I have a citi costco and an amex and they both give me cash back. With my citi costco card I usually spend it at costco while with my amex, I get a visa gift card.

  2. Hey Kris!

    The knit hats are cool. I’m a big fan of handmade stuff because it adds character to the item.

    I also like to make Christmas cards sometimes, but it becomes time-consuming when you’re making a stack for everyone. When it’s less than 15, it’s a fun project to work on. Otherwise, it gets really tiring! So, yes, buying the bulk from Costco is a lot easier haha!

    • Those knit hats/scarves took Mother with Cents a while to make since we have a huge family. It was a one time thing but we got a great picture out of it with everyone wearing the knit hats/scarves she made for them.
      Costco is the way to go for holiday cards!!

  3. We made our first holiday cards with Shutterfly. We only got 25 though so it was hard to see who we could cull off the list. We got it for free because of Pampers coupon codes/points for Shutterfly.

    That’s a nice idea to summarize what happened in the year. We have a friend who does that and I really enjoy reading it- so much better than the generic “Happy Holidays!”

    This is our first Christmas with baby and it’s been a bit overwhelming- everyone is trying to drop off gifts for him! And it makes us feel guilty because we didn’t get anything for their kids.

    Your Christmas sounds really low-key and very nice! My husband and I decided this year that we will not get gifts for each other either. I think we get each other gifts for birthday but max it at $100. It was after a discussion when my husband didn’t anything for my birthday even though we didn’t talk about it yet. HAHAH. It’s nice to not have to stress about that and we don’t value the materialistic tendency that Christmas can become.

    • We like summarizing what happened the past year especially with Baby with Cents’ progress because we don’t see a lot of friends and some family members throughout the year and to give them an update about us gives them something to read about and catch up on.
      We’re not materialistic either and yeah your right, it takes away the stress to trying to find a gift for each other. We both know that materialistic items are not as valuable as the gift of being together.

  4. I second not buying gifts. If I was to buy a gift, I would do it randomly as a “saw this, thought of you” thing. That makes so much more sense to me. This year we purchased bath bombs because Jared’s entire family needs a bath.

    P. U.!!! JK 🙂

  5. I mainly just give my family members some sweet treats from Trader Joe’s now. Pretty inexpensive and who doesn’t like some cookies! We look forward to spending time with each other much more now, this year we are going to have an all-night Scrabble fest. My mom is awesome in Scrabble, I fully anticipate getting my butt kicked!

    • Oh sounds fun, game night with family is a great occasion and you can do it anytime of the year especially during Christmas.
      I just get my brother and sister snacks too from Trader Joe’s. They are fine with it since they like the snacks from there. It beats trying to find a gift for them that they may not like.

  6. Great post! My family and I have stopped giving each other gifts too! My brother and I will still buy a small gift for each other and for our Mom if we see something we think that person will like. That’s awesome your companies give out nice gifts at the holiday parties! I would totally re-gift or return them too! Happy holidays to you and your family! 😀

    • Same to you and your family Cyn!!
      We would have re-gifted or return most of the gifts my company was giving away except for the top prize, an iPad. That would have been the only one we would have kept.

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