Sunday, December 27

Post-holiday sales are expensive!

Today has been a flurry of receipts!

At Hallmark, I spent $22 for two ornaments. When we left Seattle, we ditched a good number of my holiday stuff. So I thought we should each have an ornament from the first Christmas spent together in Arizona. I got Wolverine for Tim, and The Swedish Chef for myself. (Hallmark is savvy enough to know what a huge profit comes from catering to our generation's geeky side.) The store also had some okay prices for holiday cards, but nothing truly thrilling.

Michael's didn't have any great ornaments or any good deals on wrapping paper. But it had a lot of good ribbon deals. I got four 3-packs of ribbon for $1.20 each, plus a blue stocking for Tim for just over $1.

Then I had to rush over to Macy's before my coupon expired at 1 p.m. No good ornaments or presents for Tim's mom. But I did find two Ecko shirts with the Star Wars theme. (One was Vader ; the other was Boba Fett.) After the coupon, both shirts were $18.

Unfortunately, just as the marketing teams intended, I was sucked into the sales rack. I managed -- barely -- to pare it down to three items, but that still rung up at $60 after tax.

Later, Tim and I ended up in a Joann Fabrics and found a 7' tree for $24. Tim, who adores all things blue, found some spherical ornaments for next year. (Insert "blue balls" joke here; goodness knows, Tim did... and continues to.) The sleeve of 10 ornaments was discounted to $3, so we got two. Along with some 29-cent curling ribbon, plus the tree, the bill came to about $34.

In other words, I spent almost as much in one day as Tim spent on my presents. On severely discounted items. There's a peculiar logic to this situation, you have to admit.

I could rationalize it, I suppose. We're stocking back up on holiday items: a tree, new ornaments, gift-wrapping supplies. And it's been at least a year (probably almost two) since I bought clothes out of anything other than strict necessity.

Or I can point to the simple fact of savings. The tree retailed for $80; Tim's shirts were $58 originally. And the three I bought had a combined MSRP of $336.

But the fact is that I probably got a little carried away. I spent only $35 on items from Craiglist. The rest of Tim's presents were bought with rewards program points. So most of my last four months focused on finding ways not to spend on the holidays.

Meanwhile, the whole time, I looked forward to the post-Christmas sales to stock back up on ornaments and wrapping supplies. All that anticipation built up into an expectation of spending.

So, okay, I may have spent more than was strictly ideal. But Tim loves his Star Wars shirts, which will see years of use. And I now have three new shirts that are actually fashionable, rather than tops that I wear because they don't actively make me look fat. What's more, next year, we'll have a tree that we picked out together, with ornaments that suit Tim's tastes, as well as mine.

So I have to say: I don't regret it. In fact, the only thing that bothers me? I have yet to find any good deals on wrapping paper. Still, there's always tomorrow!

Did anyone else go on a bit of a post-holiday spree? Find any great deals? Already done next year's Christmas shopping?


Blogger luba17 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

December 27, 2009 at 4:11 AM

Anonymous John DeFlumeri Jr said...

The best deal on wrapping paper is to use the Sunday comics, save them all year, you'll never have to buy paper again.

John DeFlumeri Jr

December 27, 2009 at 6:15 AM

Blogger Abigail said...


You are correct. It is a terrific deal. And I definitely have no problem with receiving comics-wrapped presents. But I like to dress up gifts a little, with ribbon and such. So I am willing to pay a couple of dollars a year in post-holiday sales in order to make the gifts appear a little prettier. It's a total bow to yet more consumer pressure, but it's one I'm okay with.

December 27, 2009 at 11:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sometimes enjoy perusing your blog, as you write well. However, I feel that for a self-proclaimed frugal blogger you spend quite a bit of time justifying not being frugal at all. While I feel that everyone deserves to spend their money how they see fit, I take issue with proclaiming that you are frugal and then explaining how you spent $22 on two ornaments. Should you buy ornaments if you'd like? Sure. Are there better places than the notoriously overpriced Hallmark shop to buy two cute and appealing ones? Definitely.
iPod Touch, junk food, new clothes, Cheesecake Factory... none of these things ring of familiarity to true frugal bloggers, especially those who are collecting unemployment which is soon to run out.
While you are entitled to do with your money as you wish, my opinion is that the frugal community would learn more from stories of job hunting (that your husband is surely doing?), free entertainment rather than video game purchases, and grocery store savings rather than tales of how you weren't frugal yet again because you deserve it and because department stores are just so darn good at forcing your hand.

December 27, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Blogger Abigail said...


I was going to write this long rambling answer, but I think this subject is deserving of a whole post.

But for now, I'll just say: I'm sorry that I was so glib. I was not trying to say that I deserve anything. Simply that, once in awhile, it's not the end of the world if you go off the tracks. Not ideal, but not ruination, either.

However, I do think that I do a pretty good job of being frugal, especially around health problems that make it more difficult. That's not even taking into account a partner with ADD. While Tim's come a long way, there are still times when I have to reel him in.

I hope you will continue to read, especially once I finish with this post that I'm about to go write.

December 27, 2009 at 5:10 PM

Blogger Mrs. Accountability said...

I haven't done any post-Christmas shopping yet. I'm waiting for Target's 90% off sale which is where, I promise, you will find such killer deals that you will look forward to this day for the entire year. You will get some awesome Christmas wrapping paper. I try to get some that doesn't look as Christmas-y and I will even use the wrap inside out so the present is pure white and then dress it up with 90% off bows.

December 28, 2009 at 1:05 PM


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