On How Panicked Shopping Kinda Worked Out

As I JUST discussed in my post about how appreciative I am of my family, I had SUCH a hard time with Christmas gifts for them this year (and I’m actually not completely done either).  I prefer to do my shopping online, so today was pretty much crunch time (because I’m cheap with shipping and all…not sure if I can totally call it panicked shopping).  I did pick out a few good ideas from my blog crushes, so I figured I would pay it forward and share my picks too in case anyone else is struggling!

For my dad, I wanted these booties from Eddie Bauer, but I saw them on the Today Show and Matt Lauer is just about as awesome as Oprah, so they were all sold out.  I got a  less expensive version from Cabela’s, that he’s probably more likely to wear anyway since under pants, they will look like regular shoes.

For my mom, I was surprised by this necklace while checking out Eddie Bauer, but I think it’s something I’d want to see in person and she might be concerned it was too young for her, but still I like it, so I wanted to share.  I usually get her a big purse, but the last time I was at their house she showed me one she just bought herself (the nerve)!  Kenneth Cole is a friend to all women with his beautiful bags, like this one that is out of my price range, but since she doesn’t need a new purse anyway, let’s just enjoy its beauty.

I’m also giving my parents this sign, which is an Apache blessing. (It reads: May the sun bring you new energy by day. May the moon softly restore you by night. May the rain wash away your worries. May the breeze blow new strength into your being. May you walk through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.) I’m into the history and culture of the Southwest, but not the cheesy design often associated with it and this is a nice way to pay homage to the influence without reverting to turquoise and kokopelli.

I got my sister a pink tank top with a Hindi-inspired design WAY back in September, which gave me the false sense that I might actually do my shopping early this year.  She may also get some fun jewelry.  She’s not afraid of statement pieces, so I accessorize vicariously through her (more so-not-in-my-price-range Kenneth Cole love).

My future brother-in-law is getting this grill toy as I’ve been referring to it because I’m not entirely sure what it is or does, but I know he likes his meat.  (This set was full-priced when I bought it just a few days ago and when I went back for this post, they had knocked $10 off.  I asked for a refund of the difference and they happily obliged…go Sur la Table!)

Beyond liking to grill, my sister and her fiance love to entertain, so I got them this cute serving display, which I am going to fill with chocolate-covered pretzels and cookies to take to their Christmas party.

My grandmother is often the hardest to shop for because she’s not one of those grandmas that loves crap.  But, she does love to read and I heard that this year’s Best American Short Stories is very good, so I hope she’ll enjoy it.  I also would like to find something else for her, maybe a pin, since jewelry seems to be my go-to for my female family members.

This led me down a very dangerous path.  I went to Barnes & Noble and realized I could have completed all my shopping there.  And that I’m a big, book-loving nerd.  I orgasmed in half of the aisles and my “Books” note in my phone grew by at least ten.

I wasn’t really planning on getting anything for Rebel, but I saw a section on Arizona and since he recently moved here and is interested in exploring his new home (love that), I just wanted to get him this book and a subscription to Phoenix Magazine.  They’ll be fun resources for him and perhaps we can get lost exploring together! I’m definitely feeling more affectionate (and still no oxytocin)! 

Other books on my list…
Paddling Arizona for my dad (saving it for his upcoming birthday)
We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier or anything by Celia Rivenbark for my sister (and then me!)
My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space by Lisa Scottoline for my mom (and then me!)
Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things for the perpetual 12-year-old (bro-in-law)

And finally, items I may or may not have bought for myself while attempting to shop for others and/or items on my wishlist:
Cuisinart Grind and Brew Coffee Maker
Cuisinart Food Processor

nightgown (aka dress) from H&M and knee socks from Target
a pretty, little, brand-new Toshiba laptop
running gear, including a Garmin
Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald
girly Steelers gear
a spin bike
a hybrid bike

Okay, I only bought myself the two things in bold and one was with a gift card and the other was to qualify for free shipping!  I’m still doing great with my December budget and will get around to another update on that soon. 

I’m trying to remove myself from all these things that I WANT, WANT, WANT because I don’t WANT to be a materialistic person (and, for the most part, I don’t think I am). 

I decided today that I kind of give up on the holiday season this year, but that next year, I’m totally going to do it right…early shopping and no other obligations around this time of year so I can focus on actually spending time with family and friends, baking, decorating and Christmas movie marathons!  But, then again, isn’t this always the BIG idea that NEVER really seems to happen?

Oh and here’s hoping this blog hasn’t been discovered by any of my loved ones or else there goes the element of surprise!

Advertisements

Tightening the Purse Strings

I’ve been in my new job for two months now.  I can’t believe how time has flown.  Getting this job was such a blessing.  My last job (and a lot of my coworkers) made me miserable, it wasn’t in the field I wanted to be in and it barely covered my monthly expenses, as in, it usually didn’t and I was frequently dipping into savings, working two jobs and/or milking overtime.

In my new job, I like my coworkers and I’m utilizing my degree.  It also came with a nice salary bump that also contributes to my wonderful feelings about it.

However, the salary bump isn’t as big in reality as it is in my head.  Before I got really good at saying no to, well pretty much everything…nights out, grocery shopping for anything but the basics, fun shopping of any kind.  I had to. 

Now, if I want coffee while I’m out, I say, sure, why not?  I suggest going to happy hours.  If I’m feeling lazy, I don’t pack my lunch and go out instead.

And the clothes.  I forgot how oppressive clothes shopping is.  Every occasion is a reason for a new dress, shoes, accessories.  I shop at discount places and usually only buy on sale, so what’s the harm, right?  Once I get it in my head that I need NEW, I waste SO much time trying to find it, when instead, I could spend 15 minutes in my closet and guess what?  The end result would be the same.  I would be clothes when I left the house. 

The saving – or unsaving – grace is that I haven’t activated my new credit card, so all these expenses, particularly the BIG ones (hello, breakup couch) I’d like to pretend I’m not making and would normally buy with my “fake” credit card money, are actually coming out of my bank account, taking my real money instead.

Which is why, when I checked my account this morning, I got a wake up call.  Just because my new employer values me as I should be valued, doesn’t mean I need to spend all of that extra value (and then some).

Practicing self-restraint is good.  Saying no is good.  It felt good to learn it earlier when I had to and I need to remember that.  I also need to remember that sometimes free things rock, actually they ALMOST ALWAYS rock way more.

I have a free gym membership to use.  I have a pile of library books to read.  I have beautiful fall weather (think 70s) to enjoy from my porch.  I don’t want to spend evenings at the mall seeking the right top.  It’s not going to fill any voids (uh oh, we’re straying from finance into mental-health-issues-land again, let’s get back on track). 

I have bigger purchases I want to make (hello, dying computer).  I have people I love who I want to buy Christmas presents for.  I have experiences I want to save for (running tourism, international travel and the joys of pet ownership).  Oh, and I really want the breakup chair-and-a-half to make a matching set.  Healthy, I know.