Tag Archives: Christmas

No-Spend Month: Day 22

No-Spend Month: Day 22

We are more than two-thirds of the way through the month, and we still have over $100.  That doesn’t sound like much, but it should be plenty.  My son told us a couple days ago that it didn’t feel like we had been doing this no-spend month for twenty days.  I agreed and reminded him that we are still eating like kings.  He said that we would have a cook and a baker if we were kings.  Oh, my literal kid, you are correct, but you missed my point. 

  • The kids and I stayed home all day, so we ate all of our meals at home.  This is not only saving us money but calories as well!  You’d think I would have lost more than one pound by now, but I wasn’t really eating out much more before.  I would give in and take the kids to Sonic once a week, but I don’t drink carbonated or caffeinated beverages, so I rarely order anything other than meals.
  • My husband had a meeting out of town today, and he brought us some treats from our favorite bakery over an hour away.  I’m not sure he understands that we are still in our no-spend month.  Lol.  We have decided not to take the kids to the event we had planned to attend tomorrow night, so that will save us $20, which is just about what he spent today. 
  • I made baked ravioli, broccoli, and garlic knots for dinner.  (See?  Eating like kings!)  
  • I almost forgot to mention that we decided this morning to save my three pay checks to use for Christmas gifts.  I’m so excited to have a plan for that money and to know that we won’t accumulate any debt or dip into our savings this year to pay for Christmas.  

No-Spend Month: Day 16


Well, we have made it over halfway through the month.  Woohoo!  We still have over $200, but we are running out of things.  I’ll have to buy dishwasher detergent soon because I can hardly keep up with the dishes with the help of the dishwasher.  There is no way I’m going to try hand-washing all of our dishes for the rest of the month.  We have sold $163 worth of items and spent a total of $226, so we are only down $63 for the month.  Oh, I forgot about the doctor’s fees.  I forgot to take cash to our appointments, so I used our debit card, but we did have my little paycheck from last month in there to cover gas, and I’ve only filled up once so far, so we still haven’t dipped into my husband’s paycheck. 

  • Breakfast was leftover bacon and waffles from last night. 
  • The kids and I packed lunches for school, but my husband ate out to celebrate Boss’s Day.
  • I took money from our Christmas fund and bought books from our book fair for Christmas presents for the kids.  It was fun to do some shopping today, especially knowing that this money had already been set aside for this purpose and wasn’t coming out of our monthly budget. 
  • Our kids had a fall carnival at school this afternoon.  We were able to prepay for tickets last month and pick them up today.  The kids had a lot of fun and won candy and prizes by playing games.  

    The little girls had a blast in the bounce house and got to stay in a long time because no one was waiting to jump.

  • I put a pork tenderloin in the crockpot when we came home around 1:00 pm.  After the carnival, I cooked some pasta and green beans and sliced some tomatoes that my little ones picked this afternoon.  They went out by themselves and came back in with a bowl full of tomatoes, a cucumber, and a red bell pepper, and they were carrying a ripe cantaloupe!  I was too busy making last minute preparations for a carnival game to think about taking their picture with their harvest.  They were so proud of themselves.
  • I sold a few more things on our online garage sale for a total of $15.  I almost feel bad charging people for helping me clean out stuff that has been taking up space in my house.  I love all the free space I have now, and I don’t miss anything that I’ve sold.

No-Spend Month: Day 14


Well, I survived my first day of teaching in almost 10 years. I had trouble going to sleep last night.  I was trying to finish reading a book when Big Sister got up (sleepwalking) at 10:20 pm.  I finished the book shortly after putting her back to bed, but my mind wouldn’t settle.  I tried praying for peace and ended up dozing off but only for a few moments because Sissy woke up at 11:20 pm.  I think I managed to sleep for just over five hours.  Despite my lack of sleep, I was able to learn all 34 students’ names quickly enough to impress them and myself!  My students were great, and I love teaching math again.  I’m looking forward to getting to know the kids and their parents better.

  • I got up at 5:00 am and started a pot of water for oatmeal before the kids woke up.  Big Brother thought he would have to eat cold cereal on school mornings from now on, so I tried preparing a hot breakfast to show him I could do it.  He was the only one who did not eat oatmeal this morning. 
  • The kids and I all packed lunches to eat at school.  Hubby took money for lunch again.  He only spent $7.50 today.  I passed some lunch tables at school that had Chick-fil-a bags waiting for students, and I felt deprived for a moment, especially with my husband eating out a few times this week, but that just reminded me what I have to look forward to in November.
  • The little girls needed fresh fruit, yogurt, and cereal, so we went to the store this afternoon. We spent $18.08 on groceries. 
  • They are having a book fair at our school this week, so I took the kids after I picked them up and let them “shop” for books. I took photos of the kids holding up books they want for Christmas.


 For a few years now, we have limited the kids’ Christmas gifts to four categories:

  1. Something to wear
  2. Something to read
  3. Something they want
  4. Something they need

All of our children love books and new clothes, so they end up getting several things they want.  I like buying books from the book fair because it helps our school, and I don’t have to go to a store.  Plus, the older kids fill out wish lists when they preview the book fair with their classes, so I know exactly what they want.  

Now, I know this is a no-spend month, but we already have this expense covered.  My husband sets aside money each quarter for Christmas, so I can take money from our Christmas fund for these books and not spend any money from our monthly income.  I will hide these gifts for two months and then wrap them up for Christmas.  I love getting some shopping done ahead of time. 

To believe or not to believe


Two years ago, Big Brother told us there was no Santa because reindeer can’t fly. Interesting five-year-old logic. We hadn’t made a big deal about Santa. Each year, we placed one unwrapped gift for each child near the tree on Christmas morning, and we let the kids believe that those gifts were from Santa. We never left cookies and milk for Santa or food for his reindeer. We have never had an elf in our home. We have never told the kids to be good or Santa wouldn’t bring them anything.

A wise friend told me several years ago that they had told their son the truth about Santa when he asked at five years of age because kids believe in Santa in much the same way they believe in God. With Santa, we convince them to believe in an invisible being because he will bring them toys, and this can be fun for us and magical for them, but then they find out the magic was make-believe. With God, we teach them to have faith in an invisible being because he loves them and wants to bless them, and this can be amazing and life-changing for all of us, but if something happens to challenge their belief in God, will they also think He is make-believe? In other words, will they think we are lying to them about God if we have lied to them about Santa? My parents gave us Santa gifts and also taught us about Jesus, and I never doubted the existence of God, but I have learned in the last few years that faith is one of my spiritual gifts. I think it would depend on the child, the way Santa was presented in the home, and how the parents answered the child’s questions about Santa.

Santa wasn’t the focus of Christmas at our house, and we didn’t want to lie to our children, so we told them the truth when Big Brother asked if he was right about Santa. He was disappointed, but he was fine once we reassured him that he would still have presents under the tree every year. He now enjoys learning about different Santa-figures and how different cultures celebrate Christmas, and he loves picking out gifts to give others. Big Sister was only three when we stopped “doing Santa”, so she didn’t care and nothing really changed for her.

However, we had started an annual tradition of visiting the most wonderful Santa at a large shopping center about 30 miles away. We have gone and waited in line every year since Big Brother’s first Christmas. I didn’t think the kids would still want to go since they knew he wasn’t really Santa Claus, but they asked to go last year and this week. The kids have fun shopping and eating while we wait for our turn. Big Sister talked to Santa this year, but she still wouldn’t get close to him. Both babies cried, but Sissy stopped quickly. After a few pictures, Grandmother and I grabbed the babies, and Big Brother sat on Santa’s lap and talked to him for a few minutes.

20131220-151803.jpgSo we choose not to believe in Santa, but we haven’t removed him completely from our Christmases. I like to think we have just put him in his proper place along with Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, the Grinch, and Scrooge. These are all a fond part of my childhood Christmas memories, and I won’t deny my children this fun. They know these people and things aren’t real, but it’s still fun to watch the movies and visit Santa each year.

We teach our children the true meaning of Christmas–that God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). They enjoy reading Jotham’s Journey during the weeks of advent. They look forward to Christmas Eve candlelight services at church. They love giving gifts to others in response to having received the most wonderful gift of all–Jesus our Savior. I love this quote by Stuart Chase: “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.” I pray that you also will believe in the God who sent his Son to save us from our sins. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).

Merry Christmas!