How Many Days ’til Christmas?

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat, however, how many of us have completed our Christmas Financial Carnage (aka Christmas Shopping) and how many of us have an Advent Budget to follow either? My opinion is not that many of us are that well organized to have done either, but I am willing to hear comments to the contrary.

Christmas is only about 1 month and 8 days away, and for some of us it is coming like the Polar Express. This is a normal reaction to the unknown or worse the unplanned, but does tend to detract from the festive feel to this time of year. I do tend to admire (and loath at the same time) those that have their entire holiday planned and have all of their shopping done, because I don’t think I will ever reach that level of Zen, in terms of planning, in my life.

As my wife does point out there are many aspects to planning for the holidays:

  • Deciding on a budget, and then figuring out how much you will end up ignoring it. What is interesting is that no matter how big a slush fund you think you have for over spending, it is never big enough (I think this is actually more of a wedding thing, but it works for Christmas too).
  • Who will you be buying presents for, and what you will do when you find out that they had bought you something? Do you have a few emergency gifts, for just in case issues?
  • For those husbands reading, please don’t fall for the, “… you don’t have to buy me anything this year…” trick by your wife, you will pay for it in so many ways later. Yes, I fell for that.
  • Who will do the shopping? If one spouse does all the shopping, it can create some tension in the family. The spouse who didn’t do any shopping who then asks, “What did we buy <so and so> for Christmas?” is doomed (and I do mean doomed).
  • Are you having a party? Remember to budget for that (unless you make it a BYOB, then invite friends with similar tastes, so at least you have good left overs). Remember the person that brought liverwurst to your party last year, do you want left over liverwurst dip?
  • Are you decorating? That can get expensive, especially if you want an inflatable, lit Santa riding a Helicopter, you may run up a big electric bill as well.
  • Are you travelling? That can cause no end of expenses, and fun. Trust me, doing a triangular journey from one set of Grandparents to the other, to home can take a lot of fun out of the holiday and money out of your wallet.

Any other festive fun that will bleed you financially (and emotionally) dry that I might have missed?

Oh and enjoy your festive merry holiday preparations (ho, ho, ho).

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Random Thoughts: Happy Advent!

Advent is Here!

Yes the season of hoping and waiting is finally here, for all of us to enjoy. Advent is actually the start of the new year, for the Christian Church (at least some of them), so Happy New Year as well! Now you can put up your decorations and such, but don’t overdo it too much, no point in getting a Huge Ontario Hydro bill either (or only turn on your lights off peak between 11:00 PM and 7:00 AM, which may not make you very popular with your neighbours either).

Happy Hanuka to my Jewish readers as well, enjoy 8 days of giving too (but don’t overspend)! Can someone tell me why a Harmonica is a good Hanuka gift? Music? All my Jewish friends in school lamented that they’d get yet another harmonica for Hanuka, I never understood why.

This week the topics I covered included:

Were other financial bloggers full of the Festive Spirit of Advent/Hanuka/Festivus? Well some are, and others are a bit Grinchy, but all in all a good lot.:

Other Bookkeeping

Christmas Tree

My Christmas Tree

Remember that I also micro-blog on Twitter, where you can see a whole plethora of good articles and pithy comments by me as well. Twitter feed where I re-tweet many great articles by some of my featured writers (and make the occasional odd or off colour commentary on life (in 140 characters or less)). I am also on Digg as Big Cajun Man, and Reddit as well.

Also remember my RSS feed is available too, for those who enjoy reading without looking at my archaic page lay out, and I have added an RSS Comment Feed as well.

Remember that this site is iPhone Friendly (and Android & iPod Touch Friendly), enjoy it on the go, in a readable format for the device. If you are reading with an iPhone or Android device, drop me a comment and tell me if this needs any improvements. This site is also in the Kindle US Blog list, if you are interested, not available in Canada yet (because no Blogs are available in Canada on a Kindle?!?).

Remember

“Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home. “

Author: Carol Nelson

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Happy Thanksgiving America!

Pass the TurDuckEn

The biggest holiday in the U.S. is today, and I wish my American Brother and all my friends South of the Border a most festive holiday weekend. Evidently there is more traveling for Thanksgiving than for Christmas, and tomorrow being Black Friday the orgy of spending for Christmas will start in earnest.

Given that many stores are open today in the States, I am confused as to why Black Friday is still so important, but I guess tradition states that it must be the biggest sales day for stores. It is interesting to see that there are on line Black Friday sales (even in Canada), which begs the question,Why? I guess we in Canada feel inferior to our American neighbors and must join in with the spending splurge on Friday as well.

Black Friday NT Times

Where Do They Keep the Cheese Straighteners?

Why Black Friday?

The term Black Friday is open to interpretation, it’s first use was to describe the 1869 Stock Market Crash (yes they had Stock Crashes even in the 19th Century), but in more modern times it is associated with the idea of the day that Retailers Break Even on that day (thanks to the massive sales throughput of that day). I think that is an interesting theory, not sure if it is the truth, but a good legend.

Lots of folks get injured on Black Friday chasing down those elusive great buys, and many stores are opening at 4:00 AM to drive their customers’ delirium even higher. I think it would be interesting to observe this, but those crowds scare me, so I would stay away from them.

Much like Boxing Day here in Canada, Black Friday seems to be an excuse to buy another Deluxe Left-handed Cheese Straightener, because it is on sale! There should be a converse day to Black Friday like Declutter Monday where you must now take your excess Cheese Straightener and give it to the Good Will or Salvation Army (maybe have that day in May to create a feeling of need by November again)? Just an idea.

I guess the day after Black Friday is effectively Red Saturday given the amount of money spent by Consumers, they are the ones that have now gone into the Red putting retailers into the Black? Again, just conjecture on my part.

Enjoy your Football, Parades and then your spending on Friday, but remember, someone has to pay for all of this eventually.

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Random Thoughts: I Dare You!

No this is not a Daniel Cook episode, but another Friday round-up from the world of Financial Blogging. In a week where we saw that Interest Rates did not budge, and some encouraging news about jobs last week, maybe it is time to stop being so pessimistic? Nah, that’s not my style.

Christmas is Coming

The goose is getting fat (but hopefully no one is making Foie Gras, or we’ll all be in trouble). With less than two weeks until that happy day, what have the Financial Bloggers got cooking?

Keep up that Christmas shopping, you are helping stimulate the economy, in your own way. Also remember to keep the receipts too (in case your mother really didn’t want a Deluxe Left-Handed Cheese Straightener or a Wii Fit).

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Random Thoughts: Advent Begins

For those of you saying, “Christmas starts too early every year“, I agree, the real start to the season (if you want to call it Christmas) should be Advent, and this past Sunday was the first Sunday in Advent, so Happy Advent! For those of you who wish to call this “The Holiday Season”, then start whenever you want, since that season seems to start in September.

Random Thoughts: Tiger by the tail

Given Tigers Woods’ dalliances and driving seems to have filled the news this week, I figured that title would work as well for me. Some ask, “How can he do that, he has so much money”, maybe it’s because he has so much money that he thinks he can do that, is the answer. Rich people make just as stupid decisions as we working poor, just they have a lot more money to make those decisions with (thus they can be much more spectacular and interesting to read about).

  • Michael James attempts to tackle the interesting question about Financial Advisor Self-Regulation and whether Fraud is really the problem here.
  • Preet at WhereDoesAllMyMoneyGo gets into the festive Advent mood by offering a Reader Appreciation: iPod Touch Giveaway! go over and leave a comment to register.
  • Canadian Capitalist points out The Institute for Financial Learning Ponzi Scheme which is just a sinister way to steal money from folks.
  • Larry MacDonald points out another thing that happens during Advent, stock sell offs where you might go Bargain Hunting and Tax-loss selling are there other bargains out there?
  • Gail Vaz-Oxlade points out that there is no piety in being House Poor and she gives you some hints on how not to end up that way.
  • The Four Pillars discusses the interesting points of Threats as a Negotiation Strategy , which is a methodology I have used in the past, but you must be willing to follow through with your bluff/threat or you may be very unhappy with the results.
  • Promod at Riscario Insider gives a useful primer on What happens during a paramedical exam for life insurance his best point is act like you are on the witness stand and do NOT yak with the person doing the exam!

Enjoy the Advent season!

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