Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Spend Reports #14 and #15: Christmas blackout

With the Christmas crazy season, I have fallen behind in both writing for and thinking about my blog. Predictably, with Christmas approaching, my spending is up. I'm not expecting the January credit card hangover to be too bad since I have been using debit a lot.

I've been dreading writing about what I'm buying for Christmas and how much I'm spending. Itemizing every single present I've bought and posting about it doesn't seem very Christmas-y. Saying how much I'm spending on presents doesn't seem very Christmas-y either.

Theoretically, someone could do the math and figure out roughly how much I'm spending per person. Theoretically, you might say, but who on earth would actually do such a thing? Bear in mind the kind of family I'm from. My dad once counted every single carrot, pea, green bean and piece of corn in a bag of frozen mixed vegetables because he felt the photo showed more carrots than were actually in the bag. He then wrote a letter to the vegetable company complaining that the photo was false advertising since there were far more carrots on the bag than in the bag.

So, for the month of December, I've decided to do a truncated version of my usual spend report. I've named all the locations where I shopped, but I haven't named any presents and the amount doesn't include the price of any Christmas presents.

Overall, shopping only in New West for Christmas has been a relief. One night early in December an Old Navy commercial came on blasting away about some great deal on jeans or sweaters and I was glad when I realized I didn't have to pay one moment of attention to it. I didn't have to go to the Old Navy Website to figure out if the deal was being offered in Canada. I didn't have to drive to Metrotown to fight my way through crowds to see if I could get a stripey sweater or whatever the heck they're selling this season for $10. I haven't had to pay attention to the stacks and stacks of Christmas flyers in the paper either.

I do feel though my Christmas shopping in New West has been somewhat of a failure. I had every intention of checking out every cute-sy store in New Westminster and I did check out some (as I wrote in this post for 10th to the Fraser). I found lots of things I liked for myself and I bought stuff for myself. But in terms of finding stuff that fit the people on my Christmas list, I did not do so well and ended up sticking mainly to chain stores, including Wal-mart, for many of my gifts.

Still, I did buy Christmas presents at places I have never considered before, like the Van Dop Gallery and the Fraser River Discovery Centre's gift shop. And I haven't been tempted to go shopping outside of New West. (We did buy our Christmas tree in Richmond as that's a family tradition to go to the same place every year. We also went to a Vancouver Giants game as we got discounted tickets through a reading program at my son's school.)

From Dec. 3 to 9, I spent about $550 in New Westminster (excluding Christmas presents) on/at: 

From Dec. 10 to Dec. 16, I spent about $370 in New Westminster (excluding Christmas presents) on:

  • Groceries at Safeway and Kin's
  • Christmas cards at London Drugs
  • Baking supplies at Galloway's
  • Lunch at Graze
  • Stamps at Queensborough postal outlet

 Also bought items at:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Spend Report #13: I can resist the mall, I can't resist a party

Christmas ornaments from Lofty Living, Cadeaux and Van Dop Gallery
I had another busy shopping week (mostly) in New West. I thought I would be all prepared and early with everything for Christmas this year (I think this every year), but whoops, all of a sudden, it's December and I'm suddenly feeling very far behind (this happens every year too).

I did a post for Tenth to the Fraser about some of the places I will be shopping in New West this Christmas. I like giving and receiving Christmas presents that get used up or used often. I make an exception for Christmas ornaments, which don't get used every day, but they do get used regularly every year. I found lots of shiny, pretty ornaments at Lofty Living, Cadeaux and the Van Dop Gallery.

Now, it's true confession time: I left New Westminster and bought stuff in not one, but TWO other cities. I also broke my pledge to avoid Wal-mart for the entire month of November by buying some craft supplies for Beavers there on Nov. 29. (I know, I was so close!)

As for my other shopping sins: I went with some friends to a wreath making workshop at Garden Works in Burnaby and out for dinner after. Our financial planner does a movie day every year at Silver City Coquitlam. The movies are free, but the snacks aren't and even at 10 a.m., the popcorn was impossible to resist.

It was funny going to Garden Works because in addition to shopping only in New West, I've pretty much been staying only in New West for the past two months. Driving along Lougheed Highway seemed to take so long and the Garden Works seemed incredibly far away. I ended up driving past the entrance and had to circle around to get in. I felt like a tourist.

I felt quite guilty during the wreath making. I bought the bare minimum to do my wreath and shielded my eyes from all the (I'll admit) tempting merchandise. I felt less guilty about the dinner because after two hours of sticking tree branches into peat moss I was cold and hungry.

I knew it would be tough for me to stick to my New West only rule at this time of year. I can resist the mall, but I can't resist a party and these were more social occasions than shopping expeditions. Other than that, I have nothing to say in my defence. Go ahead and pillory me. (But bear in mind it's Christmas, when we should all be keeping the words of that delightful old carol in mind, the one that says, "Jingle bells, jingle bells, be kind to wayward bloggers." It goes something like that. I can't recall the exact words.)

From Nov. 26 to Dec. 2, I spent about $735 in New Westminster:

  • Coffee and food at Starbucks
  • Ornaments at Cadeaux
  • Groceries at IGA and Donald's
  • Ornaments and soap at the Van Dop Gallery
  • Christmas present for my son and ornaments at London Drugs
  • Pulled pork sandwich at Graze
  • Food at McDonald's
  • Craft supplies at Wal-Mart
  • Kitchen faucet at The Ensuite (on Braid Street)
  • Dinner at Boston Pizza

I spent about $40 in Burnaby:

  • Wreath making at Garden Works
  • Dinner at Soho Bar and Grill

I spent about $25 in Coquitlam:

  • Popcorn and pop at Silvercity Coquitlam