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Big Christmas Purchases

October 2nd, 2012 at 09:00 am

One of the things I love about having a separate Christmas fund is that when I see a good price on something on our kid's list, I can just snatch it up with our Christmas cash!

Yesterday I did just that. We live near a Lego store. It's a wonderful thing if you have kids that love Legos. I've done a lot of price comparisons on Legos, and have found that Legos are usually the cheapest at the Lego store. Toys R Us has Legos on sale all the time, but they start out at a higher price so getting them on sale is usually just like getting them at regular price at Target or the Lego Store.

Anyway, my oldest son really wants this Lego Ninjago dragon set. It's $119. Yes, expensive! But this is his #1 wish and it will be his main present. During the month of October, the Lego store is offering double VIP points. So instead of getting $5 off for every $100 spent, it's now $10 off. I already had some points in our account, and I bought my other kids a small set each, then got $5 off plus I earned another $10 off through buying the big dragon set. So essentially $15 off. Woohoo!

I love Christmas shopping!

September mturk earnings

September 30th, 2012 at 07:15 am

I earned $50.17 this month doing surveys on mturk.com.

In August I started doing some survey work on mturk.com after about an 8 month hiatus. I discovered this site last year and in the months leading up to Christmas 2011 I earned about $150 that I used on Amazon.com to order Christmas presents.

I really hadn't been on the site all year until August. I found that without a goal to shoot for, without a prize pictured in my head, it was very hard for me to stay motivated to log in to the site and find work. The survey work is really quite easy, it's just the hourly wage I earn on there is anywhere from $3-$8 and I can only work about an hour at a time before running out of work. So then I have to come back the next day or in a few days and repeat.

But in August I decided to pick it back up again. Actually I started at the end of July, and by the end of August I had earned over $100! Going in to that month I decided to earmark all of my August earning to buy my daughter a birthday present. I had my eye on this pink Radio Flyer tricycle on Amazon that was around $65 with tax. So originally $65 was my goal. With my total mturk earnings of over $100 (plus $5 from Swagbucks) I was able to get her the tricycle and a helmet, a purse, a Lego set and a DVD. I was ecstatic!

I decided to keep going with mturk and dedicate the entire month of September to earning money for my son's birthday. I was hoping to earn close to the same as August, but it just didn't happen. My husband was traveling for 2 weeks in the month and during those weeks I was not able to get on the site nearly as much. In fact, I went almost a full week without logging on at all. But, still, $50 aint bad. I just ordered him a Dream Lites Pillow Pet and a Wii game for his birthday. I'll pick him up a few more things out of our normal paycheck budget before his big day.

I like mturk because, unlike other survey sites, you know upfront if you will qualify for the survey or not. I've tried other sites but found I spent so much time on the pre-survey part seeing if I qualify and having most of them end up not panning out. There are a lot of surveys from graduate students at universities on here, as well as political surveys. I sort my search results to get things that pay at least 35 cents or more. And I only do surveys on there--not some of the other stuff like writing articles or setting up a dating profile for a new site.

I also like working on the site because it's totally flexible--you can work on there any time of day or night for as long as you want. I only work on the site at night after my kids have gone to bed, or occasionally during the day when 2 of my kids are at school and my 3rd one is napping.

Of course the downside is the hourly wage ends up being very small...so for me I have to pick a dollar goal and a spending purpose for that goal in order to stay motivated to keep up with it.

I have new goal for October...I guess I'll save that for tomorrow's blog post!

Added $225 to our Christmas Fund

September 23rd, 2012 at 12:07 pm

DH just got reimbursed for some mileage from a work trip, so we were able to add $225 more to our Christmas fund. So now we've got $700 in there, our goal is $1000. Yippee!

I'm so glad I won't be stressing in January when we see our credit card bills from November/December, like we've done for so many years in the past.

Another deposit into the Christmas Fund

September 6th, 2012 at 07:25 pm

We have a budget of $1000 to spend on Christmas gifts. We have 3 kids (we spend about $150 on each child) and 4 nieces/nephews, plus parents/siblings, etc. And we have 5 kid birthdays around the holidays which we loop into the same fund. Until I sat down with pencil and paper last year and detailed all the people we bought gifts for, I never knew we spent so much around the holidays!

So now we plan way ahead for it. We can no longer afford to charge $1000 of gifts in one month and expect to be able to pay off our credit card in full in January.

Last year was the first year we saved up our Christmas money before Christmas. I started in July and by the end of November we had squirreled away all $1000. We had a garage sale, sold some stuff on Craigs List, put aside health care reimbursement money, and I did some survey work on mturk.com.

This year we've done some of the same. Minus the garage sale (not so many things to sell this year). I just deposited some of hubby's work travel reimbursement money into our Christmas fund. We now have saved $475.25. And I've spent some of it already. Got a great deal on some Little People toys at Toys R Us last month.

And I took $200 of the fund and bought Amazon.com gift cards, since our grocery store is offering 4X fuel rewards for gift cards. We usually order quite a bit of our Christmas presents form Amazon, so this way we also get a discount on gas.

I actually LOVE saving for Christmas and trying to find the best prices on the things I'm looking for. I comparison shop for toys every week through the ads. Many people think I'm nuts for shopping this early, but I really enjoy it.

Have you started thinking about Christmas?


So proud of my hubby!

September 5th, 2012 at 06:55 pm

My husband is a cyclist. It's a rather expensive hobby--who knew that bike stuff could cost so much?

Anyway....he needs something new for his bike because it's not working up to snuff. Don't ask me what it's called...I don't speak the cycling language. It costs $70.

In our old lifestyle, hubby would have just gone to the bike shop immediately and purchased the part.

In the past year, he probably would have mentioned he needs it and asked if we could squeeze it into this month's budget instead of just immediately buying it.

But yesterday, wow, did he ever surprise me. He told me that he decided to sell some stuff on Ebay in order to come up with the money.

Wow, really???

Yes, he already sold 3 things and made about $38. He's looking for more stuff to sell. And this was totally his idea.

Now that's progress!