PF Weekly Grab a Brew

PF Weekly Grab a Brew #46: Gift Exchange Wish List and Holiday Contests Win $1000+ cash

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Ah, the good old saying that you can’t win if you don’t play reminds me of budgeting.

You can’t get ahead financially if you don’t play the budget game and know exactly where your money is going.

The budget is a game because you play to beat yourself at spending less than you earn.

Sure you can be one of those people who can figure it all out in their heads but I personally am a fan of seeing the numbers on paper and knowing where my cash is going at all times.

I’m not one to judge but we all manage our finances the way we want and if you are getting ahead and meeting your goals, more power to you.

It was early this morning the Christmas gift giving text came in as we had to draw names again due to a glitch in the system… OK I confess we forgot to draw names in January like we traditionally do so it had to get done as soon as possible.

This year we are now spending up to $150 per person that we have to buy a gift for in our family gift exchange. That’s not too bad although I believe that we budgeted for $100 per person same as last year but clearly that has changed.

I’m sure price inflation has something to do with that jump in cost although I don’t think $150 in unreasonable given the costs of most gifts that people circle off on their holiday Christmas gift wish list.

I’m confident that we will be much more diligent in 2014 with picking the names on New Years like we always do and not let the bubbly get in the way of our tradition for a second year in a row.

I really did like how my mate and his family have the celebrate like Scrooge gift exchange as I think it’s a great way to have a laugh and remind ourselves that spending tonnes of money on Christmas gifts is not always what we should be focusing on rather spending time with loved ones.

The great thing about the wish lists are that we can typically look all year-long for gifts online or in-store and we save up our Shoppers Optimum Points so we can redeem them around Christmas time to buy gifts and stocking stuffers that way rather than spending money in our Christmas budget.

Essentially redeeming our Shoppers Optimum points is like free money and we are free to do what we please with it and it makes saving the points all year worth the extra effort that we put towards earning them.

Even so extra cash for the holiday season is a bonus no matter if you earn it through plastic points or if you win it in a holiday contest.

When my mate Stephen who blogs over at emailed me to tell me about this amazing Christmas contest he was holding I was more than happy to help him out by spreading the word.

He’s giving away one of the biggest cash prizes for the Christmas holidays.

Enter today and you might win some extra cash to put towards your Christmas budget.

The holidays can be a huge cost to the family budget and if Christmas is not a projected expense and saved every month up until December you will need to have alternate means to pay for any gifts, food, clothing or travel expenses that you need to fork out for the big day not to mention  boxing day and New Years Eve parties.

The money that gets splashed around this time of year is huge and for many they spare no expenses when it comes to having the best of the best in their homes for guests who come around.

Although we go to the relatives for the holidays we do tend to pick up specials or deals we find throughout the year to make quick Christmas gift bags or baskets for when we are in a pinch for a quickie because someone drops by with a bottle of wine and a gift of their own.

We are always prepared for these drop-ins’ and sometimes we include our homemade crab apple spice jam for the homemade touch. Keeping gift giving simple and frugal is not hard to do at all. Not everyone wants to give either and that’s perfectly fine as it’s all about what you want to do not what others do.

Last year for the Thanksgiving holidays my wife entered an online contest after sending in 100 words about what Thanksgiving meant to her and even though she is a contest skeptic she won the $200 in PC gift cards and now enters contests more often than she ever thought. You can’t win if you don’t play or enter, that is correct.

So, head over to Stephens blog and Enter to win his Christmas Contest and you might be a lucky winner of one of his prizes totalling over $1000.

Do you enter contests more around the holidays and have you ever won a contest?


Top recipe

caramel pecan pie

Every day Food Bloggers from around the world pass by my other love the Free Recipe Depot Facebook page to share a daily recipe which I share with my fans.

This weeks Top Recipe comes from a blog called Bunny’s Warm Oven and she is no stranger to CBB as I just adore her recipes. When I saw her photo and recipe for Luscious Caramel Pecan Pie I melted it looked so good.

You have to check this recipe out and be sure to review it after you make it because I sure know that I’m going to be making it. Thanks Bunny for posting your recipes at The Free Recipe Depot you are my Top Recipe pick of the week. 


Weekly reads


Every week I share a few of the best personal finance blog posts that I read over the past week with all of you.

Well, that’s a wrap for this Friday’s grab a brew #46 so happy saving and I’ll see you here again next week when I do it all over again.





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  1. A $150 gift exchange is pretty pricey, and you can get some fairly large gifts for that amount. I prefer to keep my gift exchanges small.. Like $20ish 🙂

    1. It’s not so bad as we only have 1 person to buy for as opposed to many. If it were for a few people then I think it would be less. I don’t complain I just go with the flow lol.. anything is better than shopping for 12 people or more like we used to.

  2. Thanks for sharing the news about my $1000 giveaway with your readers, it is very much appreciated! There are lots of other prizes available to be won as well that are being donated by other Canadian bloggers. The contest is starting to pick up steam and the prize list keeps growing!

    You’re just like me with the Optimum points. I earn a lot of them anyway because I have Type I diabetes which allows me to earn a lot of points on my diabetes supplies. I use them all year long but I especially like to use them around Christmas time for gift giving. It’s great to be able to buy someone a really nice gift and only pay the tax!

  3. I’ll be cashing what points and such I can this year as well as making a few things, mostly for the grandson. I do enter contests if the prize looks like something I could use. Last year our daughter got a necklace I won from SBLB. In the past I won a gift card from Chapters… Almost fell over with that one!!!! $1000.00!!!!! Care to guess what everyone got that year for Christmas and birthdays? Recently I entered a contest with the local weekly paper, a find the words thing and got an email from them the other day, I won a $100.00 gift card for a merchant in town. I went with Canadian Tire. I was at the local drugstore’s Ladies Night and won a pair of earrings that will be for our daughter. Some of the goodies they were handing out will find their way into stockings this year. I have a points card at that store, I am just shy of $35.00 on that ($34.954). I have an Optimum card but not much on it, and a Sobey’s card, not sure what’s there as I haven’t been in there in a while, thirty dollars maybe. Still be handy to use. Airmiles has let me down, I used to get gift cards with my points as we don’t travel to speak of. They have cut down a lot on the selection of cards still available. Boooooo!!!!!!!!!
    As for other things I’m working on some mittens for our little man. So far I have a pair done in Thomas the Tank Engine blue and am working not the second mitten of a pair of Lightening McQueen red. I need to look for a hat pattern to use more of the leftover yarn for him. I have a Dino print that will be made into a pair of sleep pants for him too and a couple of other ideas to use up fabric and such I have here. I’ve done a little sewing for other people and have a little cash stashed from that too.
    It might be a lean Christmas but I’m looking into a lot of alternatives for coming up with the gifts, already checked out the library book sale and the Thrift store……

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