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Have a Frugal Merry Christmas!

frugal merry christmas

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! Christmas is a great time of the year. Everyone is in such high spirits, but it can also be a financially stressful time. I hope you went easy on the gifts especially if you have any consumer debt. Currently we don’t have any consumer debt, but we still went relatively cheap on gifts this year.

Baby RB40 is 22 months old now and he isn’t demanding specific toys for Christmas yet. He likes playing with Tupperware containers, acorns from the park, and empty Colgate toothbrush boxes. We went to Toys ‘R Us last Friday so he could look around. He liked playing with all the toys there, especially those with buttons to push, but he wasn’t particularly attached to anything. That was good because I wasn’t planning to buy anything from there anyway. 🙂  He liked one Sesame Street car with Elmo as the driver, but at $7, it was quite expensive for a small toy car.  I’ll keep an eye out on Craigslist for his birthday in a couple of months.

We opened gifts a bit early this year because my dad was heading back to Thailand on the 23rd. Check out what Baby RB40 got for Christmas.

I got him a mix of new and used toys.

$2.50Bubble Popper Push Toy
He actually got this one early because we happened to be at Goodwill.  He found it in the toy pile, pushed it all around the store, and wouldn’t let go.

bilibo christmas

The bilibo is actually pretty neat.

$25Bilibo (an imagination toy).  Kids are supposed to use their imagination and figure out what to do with it. So far, he sat on and in it, rolled balls around in it, and looked through the eye holes. He seems to like it. If it doesn’t work out, we can always use it as a fruit bowl and it will be a conversation starter. I had showed Mrs. RB40 an amusing review of the toy when I was web surfing.  She didn’t think that I was actually going to buy it, so she was surprised when she was greeted by a delivery from Amazon upon returning from work.

Mrs. RB40 made him something and got him some new items.

$5I Spy Little Christmas. He loves the I Spy books and they are great for us parents to interact with him when reading to him. This was actually an impulse buy.  She wanted to get him a book, just not at the time she was shopping for something else.

$1.49 – Crayons. What kid doesn’t need new crayons? His old ones were the ones used to keep kids busy in restaurants.

$Priceless – Alphabet blocks.  Mrs. RB40, who happens to be an origami enthusiast, made him a set of 15 alphabet blocks out of paper and stickers that that she already had on hand.  Baby RB40 can stack them or throw them without causing damage to anything or anyone who happens to be within range.

Of course, his grandparents got him more stuff as well:  A talking book (recorded by his step grandmother), a talking bear (did not work so it is getting returned to the retailer), Holgate Jumbo Lacing Beads, animal DVDs, 2 Christmas-themed pop-up books, and sesame sticks (snacks).

All in all, the kid made out like a bandit this year. I guess we weren’t all that frugal, but at least we kept it under $50. Christmas is a lot more fun with a kid around. He liked unwrapping the presents and hoarding them (he thought the ones for his grandparents were his, too) under the tree. Watching his face light up along with the Christmas tree was the best thing. We all enjoyed the day and I hope you have a great holiday as well.

Merry Christmas!

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Greg December 24, 2012, 1:20 am

    For what it’s worth, I’m giving an ongoing gift this year to family – a monthly treat sent to others for 6 months.
    I don’t know what that monthly treat will be, yet.
    But I looked at doing those online monthly club gift options…
    Those really didn’t make sense.
    Convenient, and I’m probably the king of wanting convenience, but even I’m finding those club of the months charging more than I can bear.


    • retirebyforty December 24, 2012, 11:39 am

      Good luck finding the right gift! Happy Holidays!

  • Felix Lee December 24, 2012, 6:17 am

    I know how ridiculously expensive most toys are these days so it’s great that you spent less than $50. I don’t like spending too much on toys when my little kid will lost interest in them in just a couple of weeks. I really like that origami alphabet blocks idea. I should try that out. Merry Christmas!

  • nicoleandmaggie December 24, 2012, 6:18 am

    We’ll have our list up tomorrow. 🙂 I spent under $30 to stuff DC1’s stocking. DC2 is getting some toys she’s never seen before, two of which used to be DC1’s and one of which is a replacement for one of her favorites that broke in such a way that it is super annoying.

    • retirebyforty December 24, 2012, 11:40 am

      I’m looking forward to seeing your list. I’m sure the kids will have a ton of fun. Happy Holidays!

  • krantcents December 24, 2012, 8:54 am

    I remember how are kids used to surprise us and play with the boxes rather some toy. As they get older it changes though. Enjoy it while you can. Happy Holidays.

    • retirebyforty December 24, 2012, 11:41 am

      I’ll enjoy it while I can. 🙂 Happy Holidays!

  • Rod J. Rogers (@FreeAgentRogers) December 24, 2012, 9:24 am

    One of the best presents I got my (then 3 years old) was an empty clothes dryer box. We cut out windows and a ‘front door’. She decorated it an played house in it for years.

    • retirebyforty December 24, 2012, 11:42 am


  • sin camisa December 24, 2012, 9:46 am

    Way to start the 24th; $3300 Amex bill in the inbox. The tree better be packed tomorrow morning. Oh well. One more week, and the belt tightening starts for 2013.

    Merry Christmas to everyone.

  • Silly Lily December 24, 2012, 9:17 pm

    Merry X’mas, buddy! I’ve been thinking of giving little K something imaginative as well since she’s into pretending these days but have not found the right toys yet. It’s more difficult than I thought it would be to get her some appropriate toys. Take care and say hi to Mrs. RB40 for us.

    • retirebyforty December 25, 2012, 11:05 pm

      Happy Holidays! Yeah, finding the right toys is pretty hard. We don’t want to clutter up the house with a bunch of junks. 🙂

  • My Wealth Desire December 25, 2012, 7:39 am

    I would like to greet you a Merry Christmas. My two kids enjoy opening their gifts from our friends. They love to have a new stuff through presents during Yuletide season.

    I hope everybody celebrates the real spirit of Christmas.

    • sin camisa December 25, 2012, 11:07 am

      Merry Christmas!! Got slippers. Wife got a camera; and the kids got a ton of clothes and accessories to play in the snow.

      • retirebyforty December 25, 2012, 11:07 pm

        Happy Holidays! I got a pepper mill and Mrs. RB40 got a nice bar of soap and a new soap dish… 🙂 Not quite as fun as Baby RB40’s toys. 🙂

  • Financial Samurai December 25, 2012, 9:17 am

    Where is the iPhone 5 on the list? Need to help the stock! 🙂

    Merry Xmas!

    • retirebyforty December 25, 2012, 11:06 pm

      Maybe next year. 🙂
      Happy Holidays!

  • Manette @ Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance December 25, 2012, 6:48 pm

    I am sure RB40 is very happy with all the gifts he received for Christmas. We gave my sons a drum and lyre that they can use when practicing for the school marching band. My daughter got herself a cute purse, a small diary/notebook, and a pair of earrings. We only spent a little less than $100 for all of them!

    • retirebyforty December 25, 2012, 11:09 pm

      Happy Holidays! Sounds great. I’m sure your kids are very happy with their presents. Someday I’d like to give our kid an instrument too. Hopefully he’ll find some other place to practice though.

  • Brick by Brick Investing December 26, 2012, 8:46 am

    I hope you had a Merry Christmas!

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