By: Revanche

Holiday gifts in 2017 and wish list

December 6, 2017

While we stopped buying Christmas presents in our little family, preferring to spend money on stocks to build our Someday Retirement portfolio and enjoying our fake Christmas tree, this year was an exception.

We hit Black Friday sales pretty hard. Online only, but it still counts.

We won’t cover the obligatory family gifts ($250) because they’re obligatory and we shop from wish lists anyway so little thought is required, except for a quick note to say that I’m apparently mellowing on this front. I don’t LIKE it and still think it should be eliminated because we’re also required to spend money on travel every Christmas due to where we live, but my heart is less crabby about it these days.

This must mean that my 2015 wish list has a check mark by Wish #3 – to be a Better Me. There are long held ill feelings that are finally starting to affect me less, and not being grouchy about the Christmas gifting tradition even though I strongly oppose it is a good sign. Oh AND I started liking guacamole! I’m allowed to stay a Californian! I do still want to be doing something more personally meaningful and btw lucrative, but that’s a longer term project. There’s still room for improvement, and that’s ok.

I gave us the (physical) gifts of …

Cast iron! Our last two nonstick fry pans have been A-W-F-U-L and I refused to replace that last one for a few months because dammit, they should last longer than a couple of years! In a nod to Katy at The Non Consumer Advocate who extolled the virtues of cast iron, we located a 12-inch Lodge cast iron pan (with scrub brush and grippy handle thing because we are both idiots who WILL grab hot cast iron with bare hands). This should, once we read up on how to properly take care of it, last us decades!
Total: $30, and we stop ruining the environment with crappy nonstick pans

Power on the go! My 3.5 year old charging pack is on its last legs, barely taking a charge, so loathe though I am to replace it already, replace it we did. I resisted the urge to go for the super-powered 26900 mAh pack at twice the price, and picked up the more economical and compact 10000 mAh pack which is still more than I was getting before.
Total: $26

Data storage! This is where we splurged – I went for the 8 TB drive for long term digital storage. I’ll keep our 120 GB hard drives as backups to the backup for critical information in case this drive ever fails. It would be heartbreaking if we lost all our financial and photographic files.
Total: $164

Nice holiday photo cards. I almost got away with cheap Walgreens photo cards, using a T-Mobile affiliated code for 75% off, but unlike their photo prints, their standard photo card prints are unbelievably bad. I briefly debated taking them because I loved the simple design and $15 for 40 cards was under budget but they looked awful and even I hesitated to send them out. These may be PiC’s passion, I didn’t think I cared about their quality, but $15 on crappy product is a waste of $15. Instead I combined sales and promos at Shutterfly to get nice cards that neither of us will be embarrassed to sign.
Total, $50

and the financial gifts of …

Points! Chase thought they could dangle a 100,000 Ultimate Rewards point promo for closing a mortgage with them, and then fail to credit us? Oh no no no, you do not know who you’re dealing with, foolish bankers.

It took 4 emails, 7 phone calls, 3 inquiries, and 6 months to run them to ground, but those delicious points are in my account for future travel.  We’re going to be traveling with points and miles most for a few years while we recover from the mortgage.

Savings! The very second those points arrived in our account, having been held hostage for an additional two months, I laid out our ten step plan to liberate our cash from Chase. The cash was wired (free courtesy of our temporary status as Chase Private Clients) to our savings account, there to earn 1.25% APY until our next stock purchases are selected.

Investing (but on hold)! The market being what it is, I’m hesitant to commit to any particular stock right now but we’ll pick something in the next several weeks.

More savings (a second recast)! I speculated that our money would be tied up through December or January but the second those UR points landed, an email was launched to Chase to start the next recast approval process. I’m crossing my fingers that it’s approved Very Quickly.

Last, a little wish list

There’s still a handful of things I want but can or must wait for: a working Kindle, a trip to Japan, another trip to Australia, yet another trip to Italy, also to Hawaii and New Zealand… a second dog. Fleece and flannel pajamas (one of each and with pockets, dangit!). But none of these make it onto the Christmas list for this year.

My focus is putting together an office that isn’t a children’s sized maze of boxes and puzzle pieces, so more organizational pieces like shelving and some good baskets or containers are needed. Room enough for an actual library or a piano remains a far fetched desire. 🙂

I’d still love to get Seamus that Costco bear, or something that size. It would blow his mind!

PiC is a simple man. He likes basic clothes like shirts without JB-torn holes in them, and tools I usually find with deals and coupons, so he’s set.

JuggerBaby has so much already, there’s nothing ze needs other than our love and attention. Lots and lots and lots of attention. It almost makes me wish we could have had a second child after zir 2nd birthday to play zir Boon Companion. The age difference would have been perfect, zir favorite cousin is around that age. It’s close enough to adore and engage with and ze adores small children. But now it feels like even if we could manage another pregnancy (physically, or the very real monetary costs for help), the age gap would be too big. Ze wants a companion to actively play with now, not a baby to care for like ze enjoyed earlier. This is all speculation, anyway. Our plates are full right now.

:: Is there anything on your wish list? Did you find or get any spectacular gifts yet?

11 Responses to “Holiday gifts in 2017 and wish list”

  1. I pretty much got everything on my own wish list for my birthday last week, thanks to the Cyber Monday/Black Friday sales. A new fitbit and a kindle that doesn’t have a cracked screen. Those were the replacements for unusable stuff.

    Anything now for me is basically upgrading the usable but ugly…some new plates (all my old ones are chipped) or new (white, sigh) towels (we have tons, but most of them are bleached because Jon loves to use bleach and I CAN’T GET HIM TO STOP.)

    Little Bit had a huge list that I’m not buying her (she is getting a new scooter, though, and nice headphones.) Jon finally told me this morning that he could use a new pair of sneakers but I’ve already bought him 2 pretty major presents…an instant pot and a video camera. He probably does need the sneakers, though.

    • Revanche says:

      We don’t actually use bleach anymore but that’s exactly why I chose white towels for our everyday clean up towels – if I needed to bleach, then I could without worrying about screwing up the colors!

      I don’t know about everyone else but I do kind of enjoy having a list. It reminds me to have fun instead of just working and saving. Maybe save the instant pot for a birthday present, and give him the sneakers for Christmas?

      • LOL. His birthday is December 27. He was probably going to get the GoPro then.

        I will probably take him to buy his sneakers…he really wants them. It just means he’ll get a bit more than I’d planned this year.

  2. SP says:

    Are recasts free for you guys?

    My wish list includes a new chef’s knife. We’ve had a 8″ or 10″ cast iron forever, but I still favor non stick for select items (eggs for one). I mostly use stainless steel for the remaining cooking because it is bigger and I can throw it in the dishwasher if I want. Cast iron is only used for specific things, but I do like it. Also on my wishlist is a Roomba, but I couldn’t pull the trigger on even the black friday prices.
    SP recently posted…Privilege, Inequality, Charity, Activism – How Do We Save Our Country?My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Yes! I can’t recall if you said that you use Chase but they’re free with Chase. I made sure of that before we decided to take our loan with them. Planning ahead!

      I hear you on the Roomba prices. On Black Friday, they were anywhere from $700-900! Why on earth are they so expensive?

      Nonstick works so much better for eggs but those pans were getting ruined so fast I’ve given up.

  3. “Oh no no no, you do not know who you’re dealing with, foolish bankers.” Haha, I love how you ran them down to the ground. No, mofos, don’t you think I’ll be forgetting about the points! Hopefully, you can hoard them to make some of those dream destinations a reality!

    We don’t do Christmas in our house, so I’m happy about one less stressful to deal with. For BF, we just bought sheets from Macy’s (because why are sheets so expensive?) and I picked up a couple nice fluffy washcloths for myself. For the most part, my wishlist is largely the same kind of stuff–just staples I think we missing from my closet (simple black belt, etc.)

    • Revanche says:

      I’m TOTALLY hoarding them!! I’m determined not to let them dribble away.

      I love doing Christmas-lite – just whatever seems fun from the traditional stuff and skipping the rest.

  4. Our gifts post is next Monday!
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted…Books… in… spaaaaace!My Profile

  5. Kris says:

    I also splurged on an external drive as well, not as big as yours but got a 2 TB one for $90 last year so we can keep all of your pictures and important documents on there. We also have a 60 GB backup as well in case something happens to our 2 TB. We have our documents and more selective pictures that are more important to us on there.
    I like how you hounded Chase about your Reward points. Why would they not credit you in the first place? Its like the switch and bait method!! It just sucks that you had to endure those phone calls and emails for six months to get those points. They could have simply gave you the points outright without the hassle.

    • Revanche says:

      I get the feeling that I might have gone overboard with our external drive but I keep filling up our smaller drives so fast.

      Chase isn’t a great bank, there’s a reason they have to run as many promotions as they do to attract customers. Their service isn’t good enough to KEEP them!

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