February Already?!?

feb.jpgPinch, punch, first of the month!

Wow – where did January go?  Everyone was complaining that there seemed to be thousands of days in January but for me it went so quickly….and as for Christmas and New Year – they passed in such a whirlwind that sometimes I wonder if they really happened already… or are just around the corner?  Oh dear!

Financially I’m proud of the way I handled Christmas this year.  Usually I do a bit of saving but mainly just shove a lot of the cost on an empty credit card or give Mr Fu a bill for what it’s all going to cost – he loves that (!).  This past year though I was very strict with myself and saved £20 a week for the whole year so as to cover it easily.  It was a really great feeling and it meant I could start shopping early.  I’ve already been buying things in the Sales ready for next year and the odd birthday gift as well.

The kids helped out, too, by selling their PlayStation 3 on eBay to cover the extra cost of the new XBox they wanted.   Taking advice from a friend who is THE Queen of eBay, we took the trouble to test all the games first, and list them in several small bundles so as to raise more money…. boy, was she right… We made about double the amount we’d expected!  Next year the rest of their unused toys will be going, too.  I was itching to sell those right away, after Christmas, but the aforementioned Queen of eBay said to wait until next year.  Throughout the year she builds up a laptop folder of items to sell, complete with pictures, descriptions and postage weight, then when Christmas comes she’s ready to list at the optimal time, no matter how busy November/December is for her.  I need to do this.

I also did present amnesties with lots of friends and some family after watching the Martin Lewis video on Twitter about releasing people from the pressure of reciprocal giving for the sake of it.  A couple of years ago I stopped sending Christmas cards and it was just so liberating but a present amnesty is even better.  I love buying (and receiving) presents but it can get out of hand and end up buying things just for the sake of giving something, and apart from the money side of things I find it really stressful getting gifts to people on time.  I’m so last minute.

This part of winter is such an expensive time in our family.  We’ve already had two big family birthdays in January, and February has another big one …along with 11 other family birthdays (don’t forget mine is in there, too, Mr Fu!)    We’ve been doing a kind of dry January where we only drink when we go out (which is going to help as we rarely go out) and we’ve really cut back on the meat we’ve eaten, too…but it’s not going to cover those birthdays…

…Neither will it cover the cost of 5 passport renewals.  We’re off to Spain at Easter for our annual all-inclusive family holiday and Brexit means we can’t risk the fact that the children’s passports will only have four months to run on them.

winnnn.jpgSo I’d better get on with matched betting to give my tutoring income an extra boost.  I’ve got my brother into MB now but he’s the type to completely outdo me on it within weeks of starting… and we can’t have that!   I’m really into the low-risk casino stuff at the moment and had a very profitable few minutes the other day turning some ‘free spins for goals’ into a £90 win.  I did a little Spins Win dance!  Mr Fu and I were aiming to finish all the bookies’ join up offers over Christmas – thinking there’d be endless time for all of that… Well, guess what? There wasn’t endless time, of course.  So it’ll have to be a New Years Resolution now…

I just hope it isn’t Christmas again before we get to achieving it!

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5 Responses to February Already?!?

  1. Ms ZiYou says:

    Indeed – I can’t quite believe it’s February already.

    Present amnesties are the best – I try and do them with as many people as possible.

    • Mrs Fu Mon Chu says:

      They’re such a good idea. People say it’s nice to give a gift, but the flip side that the giver might not realise that the recipient feels they have to reciprocate to a similar value. It might only be £10 but replicate that over 10 friends and it’s a sizeable amount.
      I try to buy gifts from local independent retailers as much as possible, too. One of our local ones gift wraps for free, which is a great bonus – and not just for cost reasons! I have great intentions with wrapping but I’m useless with sticky tape!

  2. Mrs W says:

    I’d never heard of the concept of present amnesties before but it’s a great idea. I just watched the video you linked to and it really hit the nail on the head. This Christmas our kids got a lot of unexpected gifts from people and then we felt bad because it hadn’t even crossed our minds to get their kids anything. The presents we got didn’t create joy for us. instead they created guilt that we didn’t get the other people anything in return, and stress that we had to go through the gifts, sort out what the kids didn’t like or want, and then get rid of that excess stuff. It really wasn’t nice. The problem here is that the tradition and obligation of gift giving is so deeply ingrained that people will do it anyway even if you tell them not to. For our daughter’s birthday party we especially asked the parents not to bring her gifts, but instead to contribute craft materials for the activities and games we were planning. They all told us to our faces that they couldn’t possibly turn up to the party without presents and that they were going to ignore our request. So they brought a bunch of crap for our daughter as well as the craft materials we’d asked for. And after the party we again had to sort through piles of cheap plastic crap and work out where we could donate it. It made me really angry. (Sorry, rant over now). Enjoy your February!

    • Mrs Fu Mon Chu says:

      How frustrating for you! At least someone benefitted though, via wherever you donated it all. It’s in our nature to want to give, I suppose.
      I do think present amnesties will catch on, though. People have definitely taken on the idea of giving to charity in lieu of birthday present and Christmas cards and I’ve seen a lot of movement on social media to the idea that time is a more important commodity than possessions.

      One way I got this present amnesty idea past a few friends who would hate the thought of not buying us anything at all was that I said that it was so logistically difficult to get presents to each other when we are all so busy, and it would be easier to just buy ourselves something nice in lieu of exchanging gifts. With other friends we arranged a night together with their kids so that we spent time together rather than buying presents.

  3. weenie says:

    In terms of payday coming round again, January dragged a little! Now, we just seem to be flying through February!

    I’m still not at the present amenesty thing with my friends, but I think it’s at a level I can cope with. I try to buy gifts which will get used (eg toiletries) or eaten/drunk (chocs/alcohol), so I’m not buying tatt for people. Although I do sometimes buy books for friends who enjoy reading.

    I still sent a few Christmas cards but the list is getting smaller every year.

    Haha, nowt like a bit of sibling rivalry to get the MB going! I think I might mention it to my sister when she’s over, to see if she’s interested in giving it a go!

    Congrats on that spins win – I’m still not tempted to do the casino offers, just sticking to football and horses.

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