I've finished...buying my Christmas presents that is.
I bought the final one this morning, vouchers from the tattooist round the corner for DD3's boyfriend. I ended up paying out more than intended because they only did them in £20 values, but I shall make this a dual pressie for Xmas and his birthday on 24th January.
I still have a few items that have been ordered but not arrived yet, so if they get here by next week I will have a grand card-writing and pressie-wrapping session. I've cheated and bought most of my cards this year, but only one packet at 99p as I had a pack I didn't use from last year. All my wrapping paper is from 2 years ago when a shop in town was selling rolls at 5 for £1 and I stocked up. As we now buy less pressies than we used to it's lasting a long time.
Monday is DH's birthday and his pressie has also been bought and wrapped; I just have to make him a card. He will have a special birthday dinner on the day with a cake and raspberry trifle (his favourite) and then next weekend we'll have a meal out before he goes off to Wales for a few days before Xmas to stay with his cousin and visit his mum who's in a nursing home in Bridgend. He's going by train as, being English Heritage members, we got an extra discount on an already discounted fare with a special code and so its only costing £45 return, which is less than it would cost from Dover to Bridgend return by car. He wouldn't want to drive there and back alone, anyway, and as he's only going for three nights I don't fancy going all that way with him.
MIL's 93rd birthday is on Xmas Eve so while he's down there DH will arrange for flowers to be delivered to her on the day. The daughter-in-law of another cousin owns a florists so he's hoping to buy her something special and maybe even get a small discount.
I have a very few food odds and ends still to buy; chipolatas, cream, fresh veg etc. But they won't cost much. I have put some items on the credit card because they were cheaper to purchase online, but I've already paid this month's balance in full (which I do every month) and the last things will be on next month's bill and that will also be paid in full.
Our car road tax is due at the end of December and our central heating boiler will have its annual service at the beginning of January, but I have money saved for both of those. So, even though this year has been tough, and because of circumstances I hadn't prepared as well as usual for Xmas, my general, everyday frugal habits means everything will be paid for and we will start the New Year without any debt except our mortgage (and next year we're hoping to overpay by loads more than this year), with our main savings account pretty much untouched, and with the £272 from our sealed pot savings available for us to have at least one outing or lunch treat a month throughout 2014.
I hope everyone else is getting there with their Christmas preparations and managing to avoid the temptation to overspend. In fact, I feel I started this year's preparations really late so I'm sure most of you are doing even better at this than I am. I'm hoping to improve next year and make more items well in advance. So, how's everyone else doing? Did you plan in advance and is all going well? Or is your Xmas this year as haphazard as mine?