Thursday, November 10, 2005

When is the time to be frugal?

This reminds me of that scene in SATC where Miranda and Carrie go shopping for pregnancy tests and Miranda grabs one and says, “Here, get this one. This is half off.” As Carrie puts it back on the shelf she says, “Sweetie, I just spent $365 on a new pair of shoes last week. This is not the time to be frugal.”

When is the time to be frugal? I know some people’s answer to that is never just as some others’ is always. For me, this is not the time to be frugal. Prepared maybe, organized yes, savvy – that too. But not frugal. Since July I have spent $456 shopping on myself and donated $850 to charity in addition to the food and clothes drives. I don’t want to start being frugal just when it’s time to get gifts for friends and family. Unfortunately, this creates a bit of a dilemma. As it stands now I have $800 in my holiday shopping budget and $2200 in estimated gifts which puts me $1400 over budget.

So here’s my dilemma – the easiest way to absorb that would be by going over budget but if I did that I may not be able to meet my net worth goal. Maybe I could sell the condo but that could turn into an O Henry’s Gift of the Magi type situation. The other option is to reduce the cost of gifts by aggressively seeking out the best deals and making up the rest through monthly cost cutting. If I can shave around $600 from the cost of gifts that would leave me with a $800 deficit or a $100/month extra savings goal from regular expenses from Nov through June. Alternately, I have to seek out opportunities for generating an extra $100/month in income. How hard can that be? I guess I will find out.

7 Comments:

At 11/11/2005 4:05 AM, Blogger Wenchypoo said...

To avoid dilemmas like this one, the time to be frugal is ALWAYS!

If you have trouble affording holiday gifts NOW, imagine what your retirement life is going to be like--if you even get one.

Ben Stein just reported yesterday that Boomers on average have only $25k saved for their reitrement, and they expect to live the same expensive lifestyle in retirement that they do now. They aren't going to do it on $25k, I assure you.

So to sum it all up--the time to be frugal is ALWAYS.

 
At 11/15/2005 7:16 AM, Anonymous 2million said...

Hey mmb,

What was this post last night about selling or not selling - was it about your condo?

If i didn't misread it sounds like you might be like me - I am torn over settling down or keeping freedom. Getting older sucks :-)

 
At 11/15/2005 8:52 AM, Blogger mmb said...

Hey 2mill,

Yes. It was about selling my condo. My reasons came down to freedom vs love for Seattle. Ha!

 
At 11/15/2005 11:12 AM, Blogger ncnblog said...

2200 dollars for Christmas presents...please, please tell me this is a joke...
2200 dollars!!!!!!!!!
We have 2 kids, 4 parents, and several other relatives and friends, and if I were to spend 2200 dollars on christmas presents, i would have to kill myself december 26th.
2200 dollars...come ON..It's one day..write the people you love and care for a nice note, give them a 5 dollar gift, and tell them how much you love them, and how important they are to you...
seriously, 2200 dollars is insane...
ncnblog.com

 
At 11/15/2005 12:52 PM, Blogger mmb said...

ncn, I wish it was a joke but I have 49 people to shop for and it adds up. I know I could probably get away with giving them smaller gifts but I like giving them things I know they will like but probably won't buy for themselves because of cost.

 
At 11/16/2005 8:02 PM, Anonymous NYC Money said...

Wow, when did giving get so expensive. Maybe you should start the tradition of no more xmas presents. I'm a grinch.

 
At 12/17/2005 6:22 AM, Anonymous sixpack said...

I used to buy a lot of gifts for my family. But at one point, it got too crazy. So we decided to do a grab bag for all the people 18+. Then just buy presents for all the kids. It worked out easier that way.

 

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