The Saturday Weekly Review

When are you too old for Christmas gifts? : The Saturday Weekend Review #95

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I know it’s only one day after Halloween and I’m already talking about Christmas gifts and the upcoming holiday season but it’s for good reason.

I was sitting at my computer the other day when my wife said that her sister emailed her to say she was putting together the annual Christmas exchange for the family.

Now we budget our Christmas expenses each month as a projected expense so when it comes time to go out and buy Christmas gifts we have the money saved. Brilliant, I know but not everyone can do this. Christmas is one of the most expensive holidays of the year for most families especially those with children.

What happens though when grandchildren come along? Should you really be buying gifts and having a gift exchange to the tune of $100-$150 per person when you are an adult?

So many questions but something my wife and I talked about the other day. Now, don’t get me wrong we are not by any means saying we don’t want to participate in buying Christmas gifts but we question whether it’s worth the high price tag.


Christmas gifts with meaning


Here’s my rationale…

Christmas is a time for spending time with your family and those you love and although Christmas gifts might seem to be the star of the show it really does wear off over the years. I think if you want to give Christmas gifts you could still hold a Christmas gift exchange but keep the figures realistic.

For example: If you need to buy a large ticket item like a GPS with a price tag of $150 and you put that on your Christmas wish list you might as well just buy it yourself since you are spending $150 on someone else in the gift exchange.

Maybe I am a Scrooge.

I think it’s great that adults get involved with exchanging Christmas gifts as much as buying for the kids but should there be a reasonable amount for gift exchanges? I guess that depends on the family but there is always someone who feels that it’s important to continue tradition.

I would rather have homemade Christmas gifts over something I can go out and buy myself. It becomes even less thrilling if I am already expecting that gift.

I just don’t find it as “exciting” as it once was when I was a child. Sure I made a Christmas gift list when I was a child but I didn’t know any better in terms of what I might get as I would never have been able to go out and buy it on my own. I still believed there was a Santa up until….. well we won’t go there.

Now that we have a son I would like to focus Christmas more on him than ourselves. We never did exchange Christmas gifts as a couple rather we’d buy something we needed for the house like our flat screen TV back a couple of years ago.

All the cool Christmas gifts normally cost a good amount of money and what I mean by cool is those big ticket items that most people wouldn’t normally buy themselves unless they saved up for it.

Besides teaching our son the true meaning of Christmas we want to watch his little face light up when he opens gifts that he would have never expected or dreamed of getting. It’s those magical moments that you cherish forever.

You won’t catch me ripping open gifts and screaming with joy these days. It’s more like oh how thoughtful you bought me what I asked you to get or I appreciate the gesture of someone thinking of us.

We enjoy  baking and giving away homemade food gifts to our friends. We’ve already been told to stop being a Scrooge but we are just trying to understand the adult gift exchange with the high price tag.


Christmas gifts at work


I know some of you might hold a Christmas gift exchange at work where you pick names from a hat but not everyone gets involved in it, I don’t but it’s not a bad thing.

I think that it builds relationships at work between employees and fosters a happy work environment based around teamwork. Normally these Christmas gift exchanges come with a price tag of about $20-$30 a gift. That seems reasonable to me and you get to choose whether you want to be involved or not.


Christmas Tradition


We were told it’s all about keeping the Christmas tradition alive and to be part of opening Christmas gifts on Christmas morning. I don’t disagree that we can’t still do that but I just don’t think we should have to spend such a large amount of money on a gift for adults.

Maybe $150 isn’t a large amount these days but for some people that could be their grocery budget or car payment. It’s important to think that maybe just maybe someone might not be able to afford a Christmas gift exchange with a high dollar amount maximum. Not everyone will come forward and say, “I can’t afford it” so they will go into debt just to please others.

What do you think? Is there an age where you should just stop buying Christmas gifts for each other or keep a reasonable price to spend?


Canadian Budget Binder News


It’s been a busy week in the CBB house as usual and I’m happy to say that I even managed to make it outside to mow the lawn. (good thing since it’s snowing today) I’ve tried to for about two weeks now but it just wasn’t happening for me.

Halloween went over pretty good as we had more kids than we expected, somewhere around the 40 mark. Even though it was a rainy day we did manage to dress our son up in a cute onsie for the kiddos and parents to see. He’s too young to go out for Halloween this year but next year I can’t wait to celebrate his first Halloween. (Translates to: I can’t wait to celebrate getting candy)

I don’t think we will ever have those “lazy” days again for a long time as our son is keeping us more than occupied day and night. I was hoping in this update that I would be able to say that he is sleeping through the night but that’s not the case. We did find out that my wife is having an allergic reaction to Blessed Thistle and the Fenugreek is causing our son to have green watery poo so she’s stopped taking that.

On the food home-front our grocery budget was shot for the month and I’m hoping that we can stick to our budget moving forward as we only have a $100 a month to spend for the rest of this year. Watch our grocery game posts to see if we can pull this off. I know my CBB grocery game team is cheering us on.

We did manage to make it to the bank and set up his bank account to deposit his Child Tax Credit and any other money he is given. It was a bit of a hassle but it’s done now. I’m not sure if we will keep it open though as we might open a trust fund for him instead. More to come on that as it unfolds but we need to save at least $1000 in the bank account first before we move forward.

On that note we also sorted out his RESP with our financial advisor and I finally sorted out my RRSP investments. I’m working towards maxing out for the year now that our mortgage is paid off although that number is quite high even for our budget. I will likely chat more about this in the upcoming Net Worth update for October post in a couple of weeks.

Next we’d like to set our son up with his Canadian passport and possible EU passport so we can travel to the UK and hopefully Paris, Italy and Spain in the upcoming year or so. (Hey a guy can dream can’t he? I sure do miss travelling)

I didn’t manage to get into the bathroom to continue working on my renovation project which has been on hold since our son was born. I’m hoping to get in there in the next couple of weeks. I had some training to do for work which took another week out of my plans at home but when career calls the renovations stop.

Other than that life is good. Have a great week everyone!



CBB blog posts this week


Just in case you’ve missed any of my blog posts this week I will link to them all below. If you have a question that you would like to ask Mr.CBB fill out the contact Mr.CBB form on the Home Page and send in your questions. Mr.CBB will look in his mailbag weekly and pick a question to answer on the blog.


Fan deals and inspirations


End of season garage sale deals

Submit your Brag or Inspiration If you have a brag that you want me to share email me at canadianbudgetbinder (@) [yahoo] [.ca] or fill out my contact form by Friday each week to have your brag considered for the Saturday post.

This week Jen shares some of her final garage sale deals for the 2014 season! Thanks Jen for coming back week after week all summer to share how easy it is to save money on items you need while garage sailing. 🙂


Hi Mr.CBB and Fans,

Even though the season is winding down and it was chilly there were still a few garage sales in my local area that I managed to visit. Below are some of the great deals I found which saved me from paying full-price.

  • Today’s deals:
  • Thermos $.50 (they were asking $1.00)
  • Reitmans shirt $1.00 (they were asking $2.00)
  • Mop and broom closet hooks $2.00
  • Pull bows (25 count) $.25
    Total $3.75


Making A Difference


If you know a personal finance blogger that is making a difference and want to nominate them please send me an email canadianbudgetbinder (@) so I can reach out to them for a feature story.


debt camel

Hi Mr CBB readers!

I’m Sara and I’ve been blogging at Debt Camel for just over a year. I’m a debt advisor in my day job and I wanted a personal web-site which would give common-sense debt advice, with as little jargon as possible. But less ‘corporate’ and boring than some…  hence the slightly wacky name!

Originally the site was aimed at people who have decided to tackle their debts and want to know what their options are. I also wanted to explore how to choose between two different debt options, debt management or bankruptcy say. Too many sites make this seem easy, but in real-life it can feel very hard.

Many of my audience now are people who have a very specific question such as “where can I get help with bankruptcy fees “or” how does debt management affect my credit rating”. The other group of readers are debt world professionals in Britain, who are interested in news, regulatory changes and statistics.

I didn’t realize how much fun it would be to rant about payday loans or write about what is wrong with the personal insolvency framework in Britain. And I knew nothing about blogging, wordpress or SEO when I started; the whole journey has been much more fascinating than I expected!


Top recipe


cherry bakewell tarts

If you don’t already know I have a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot where I share recipes from other Food Bloggers from around the world.

I found this amazing recipe from my friends at Ginger Lemon and Spice called Cherry Bakewells! I used to eat these back home in the UK but I have never made them before.


Editor’s Pick


Every week I will pick a blog post of the week from around the web that I found interesting and want to share with you and an Editor’s top blog post pick.

Editor’s blog post pick of the week

This week I read a great post by the Pops over at Planting Our Pennies. I always enjoy reading their posts because they are personal in nature like I try to keep mine. This week they talk about asking people “How much money do you make?”.

I don’t know about you but it’s not often someone comes right out and asks you your yearly income. It seems to be a taboo in society because most people like to feel accomplished or show everyone that they “made it” like the Pops discuss.

Like us the Pops share their financial details and are anonymous for the same reasons we are, to protect our privacy. They don’t hold back anything and believe it’s important to financially overshare information.

We do it because it’s good for us. Because it keeps us on track with some pretty lofty financial goals. Because we believe that it doesn’t take a HUGE amount of spending to live a really happy and fulfilling life and we like being examples of that to others trying to live happy and fulfilling lives with a fair number of luxuries without spending a small fortune.

A great read indeed. Head on over and check it out.


Google search terms


Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. Keep in mind any spelling errors below are because I share with you the exact way they typed their search engine query to land on my blog.

  • My husband spends too much money– Hmm, I think I might have to write about this. Normally it’s the men complaining about the women but it goes both ways.
  • Mr.Crockpot– Hey.. I like it but sadly that’s not me.
  • What can $20,000 renovate in your house? – Well that all depends on what quality of materials you want to buy, the space you want to renovate. If you want to renovate your entire house (depending on size) you can but it will be done cheap as nails and likely not all the best of quality materials.
  • Are consumers bothered by expiry dates?– It depends the product. If it were condoms you bet I’d be worried but  dairy products not so much.
  • How to purchase bar codes in Canada? – I have no idea why you’d want bar codes and it sounds fishy to me.
  • How much does it cost to get your dog “Youthanized”. I think they meant euthanized. – That made me laugh haha!! Close but no cigar! Depends really on the vet. We paid $100 plus fees to have him cremated on his own and put in an urn. So around $300 total including a foot impression.

Thanks for joining me for this edition of The Saturday Weekend Review #95. Join me here again for more crazy stories from around the web and at home.



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  1. I’ve already started the Christmas crafting this year. I’ve always made gifts. When our kids were much younger they get sleepwear and clothes I made, doll clothes, stuffed animals and such. After bed, naps and school hours were well used starting in Sept. for the most part. Besides that gifts have tended to be practical here. Calenders are given and I try to reflect that persons interests and needs. I bought 4 so far at Michael’s Crafts, got two free from the Canadian Wildlife Fund and one incoming from Telus.
    Hubby is the worst for saying Christmas is cancelled this year then buying himself things. He then hands them to me to wrap up for his birthday or Christmas. I have a tote upstairs for all those items. He has done this so often he has forgotten 95% of the stuff in there.
    The last few years money has been very tight and I’ve been getting very creative in funding gifts and making them. The grocery rebate programs are part of my funding, doing surveys and collecting points from various stores to cash in for things. The local library is starting the twice a year book sale Thursday and I will be there looking the books over to use as gifts, especially now that we have a 5yr old grandson. He’s in french immersion so if I can find him some age appropriate french books I’ll be grabbing those!! Wed. is also the local drug stores Ladies Night Out. I went last year and they give out goody bags I split up and used for stocking stuffers and there are door prizes too…last year I won a pair of earrings that I gave my daughter for Christmas!! We’ve shopped at the Salvation Army Thrift store too.
    Jen has found some great deals over the garage sale season this year!!!!! My late MIL would have been very proud of her!!!! Mom loved garage sales and flea markets!!!! That recipe look so good!!!!!! I’ve read a few things from the POP’s before, might do so again!! Have a great weekend!!!

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