Disorganised Christmas

Posted November 15th, 2007 by Penny Wise

I've decided to become a hermit. An obvious benefit of this is that I won't be able to spend any money, but I will also no longer have to worry about getting recognised by complete strangers whenever I'm about to part with any. Take the other day at the supermarket. I had been out all day and by 2pm I was starving. With McDonalds right next door I was sorely tempted but instead I picked up a bag of cheese scones on special, with a view to eating one or two myself and taking the rest home for Noel. A much more frugal option and I was feeling quite pleased with myself as I went through the checkout - until I was suddenly swooped upon by a store supervisor. 'Are these yours?' she barked at me accusingly. I nodded, a little bewildered. 'What are you doing buying cheese scones? Why aren't you making them?' she went on. It took me a while to realise what she was getting at but I eventually clicked - she knew who I was! Somewhat flustered I explained my reasons for buying them, upon which she broke into a huge smile and patted me on the arm. 'Oh well, that's alright then! Lovely to see you!' and off she went! I was still feeling rather self-conscious when I walked out to the car but that was nothing compared to how I felt when a sweet looking lady and her husband approached me and asked if I would sign their copy of That's Life as I was piling in my groceries!

Unfortunately though, it looks as though I will not achieve my hermit status until after Christmas. My well-organised plans for Christmas shopping have pretty much turned to custard. I was feeling so smug, thinking I had it all under control with only immediate family left to buy for. Yeah, well the best laid plans and all that. First I had a gleeful online spending spree during the Identity Direct sale. I thought that had taken care of a heap of presents but when they eventually arrived I saw this wasn't really the case. The $1 xylophone I had bought for my 18 month old niece, thinking it was such a bargain turned out to be the size of the palm of my hand. At the other end of the scale, the things I had bought thinking they would be relatively small and light to post were enormous - even the two packs of fingernail tattoos I had bought for a friend's young daughters were so huge they dwarfed my own fingernails, so I could hardly give them to an eight year old. The two 'paint your own dog bowls' I had bought for the boys Christmas stockings showed up as cat bowls and were so small Minnie would be lucky to even fit her nose in. I'm sure they would think Santa had gone mad if I put those in their stockings! It's not even as if I could really send them back as they all came from Australia, not NZ, which also peeved me off a bit. I hadn't realised there wasn't a local branch and half the things I had bought were for people in Australia anyway, so I was going to have to post them all back! My supposed bargains are now going to end up covering a lot of air miles to get to their recipients, which grates on my environmental conscience a fair bit. Still, not much I could do about it and at least I had all the great presents still to come from the Avon sale. Or so I thought but this turned out not to be either. Out of the 14 things I ordered, seven of them had sold out and three more weren't going to be available until November 30th, meaning I had missed the economy post date for both Australia and England where they were supposed to go. Aghhhhh! This all puts me pretty much back to square one. I'm even going to have to buy something else to go with the flipping xylophone as it's so miniscule!

So with - how many - FIVE?!! - weeks to go until Christmas I am determined to get organised in time. I have managed to squirrel away almost $700 in my Christmas account by putting a little bit away all year but I can't touch it until December 1st. Still, at least I can take care of some of the preparation. With Christmas Day at our place this year, I am going to take a leaf out of other members' books and plan my Christmas menu. I can't believe how organised some of them are! They sound absolutely delicious too. I keep meaning to grab a few non-perishable items with my regular shopping and put them away for Christmas but it's a little hard to do that when I set foot in a supermarket so rarely - even less now I have an eagle-eyed supervisor watching my every move! One thing I am definitely going to make sure there are plenty of are handmade chocolates, not that they will last long as they are SO yummy. The recipe for my favourite truffles is in this week's That's Life magazine, you have to try them! I'm also on a pre-Christmas decluttering mission. The boys are at the age where they really don't play with toys any more; their lives revolve around sports and outdoor pursuits and heinous electronic games. I told Ali I could literally get rid of entire toy boxes full of stuff and he wouldn't even notice and he agreed! Sounds dreadful I know but it's all stuff left over from my Sad Sally days. So I've decided all our Sad Sally clutter is going to benefit someone else this Christmas and it's all going to charity. I was going to put it all in the 'We Don't Need It' room for a month but I already know darn well we don't need it as most of it hasn't been touched for months. I'm looking forward to claming some much needed space back!

In between organising and decluttering I want to try out heaps of new hints. There are some great ones recently added to the Vault! Too many to mention here in detail but some which caught my eye and I'm definitely going to try are:

Sunlight soap best for carpet stains

Turn toast and Marmite into a meal (yum, I could exist solely on Marmite!)

Work out 'pay per use' on clothing purchases (very smart!)

Start a non-perishable 'Emergency Pantry'

Hide the leftovers from the family (we eat WAYYY too big portions!)

Give a bookmark instead of a card

Mashed potato trees and of course...

Give a Simple Savings gift pack!

Before I go, I must say a big THANK YOU to my friend and fellow SS member Tara. A city dweller herself, she saved me at least $50 the other day during a trip up to Sky City. She saved me $40 on a taxi fare to my meeting in the 'big smoke' and absolutely refused to let me spend money on lunch on my trip home, sending me off with a home made banana choc-chip muffin and the best peanut butter sandwich I have ever tasted instead! What a mate!

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