Posts Tagged ‘frugal’

Christmas: Andy Parks DOES Keep It All The Year!

Andy Parks, from the UK, was bored to death when in the summer of 1994 he found that hanging up Christmas decorations stopped him from feeling bored.

Since then he’s been celebrating Christmas every single day for the last 40 years.

That includes enjoying a full festive dinner, all trimmings included, and watching the Queen’s speech — everyday.

In that time he has eaten 117,600 sprouts and 94,080 mince pies.

“I’ve opened 204,400 crackers.

I’ve been through 37 electric ovens and worn out 23 video recorders by watching the Queen’s Speech every day.

I’ve also sent myself 235,206 Christmas cards. But these days the postage is so dear I’m having to deliver them myself.

The credit crunch is getting to me big time and I may have to cut out the champagne and start singing for my Christmas dinner.

The lunch with all the trimmings and alcohol is costing in excess of £150 ($230) a week, but I’m fighting hard not to let the financial crisis ruin the celebrations.

People do think I’m crackers, but I enjoy treating myself and I’m the only one in the world who does it.

Others have tried to copy me, but they can’t last.

When people come to my house it turns a sad face into a smiling one, and the happiness stays with them.”
— Andy Parks aka Mr. Christms

Other ways in which Andy tries to maintain his Christmas routine during this recession is by cutting the 14 pound turkey down to a 9 pound turkey, and by going from two trees to just one.

At the same time he’s trying to save the money needed to pay for a Christmas themed funeral. As part of that ritual he would be buried in a coffin filled with brussels sprouts…

U.S. Consumers Expect to Spend 11% Less on Christmas Gifts

Households across the U.S. plan to fork out about $418, on average, for gifts during Christmas season 2008; this figure, according to The Conference Board, is 11.3 percent lower than in 2007.

The Conference Board’s survey of Christmas gift spending found that consumers are in a cost-conscious mood. Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board’s consumer research center, said, “This is shaping up to be one of the most challenging holiday seasons in years, and it’s going to take more than the usual discounts and incentives from retailers to get consumers to spend more freely.”

By region, the survey found that those in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin intend to spend the most, with an average of $550. The lowest range, with a household average of $330, came from the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

Twenty-seven percent of all households plan to spend $500 or more on Christmas gifts, down from 33 percent in this category during 2007. Thirty-seven percent plan to spend between $200 and $500, and 35 percent are planning to spend less than $200.

The Conference Board found that 39 percent of all consumers plan to buy Christmas gifts online. Jewelry as a gift category was named by 10.1 percent of consumers who intend to purchase online. The most popular gifts, cited by 37.9 percent of survey respondents, were books, followed by toys/games, apparel, movies/DVDs and music.

4 Christmas Shopping Saving Tips from the Consumer Expert

No need to explain that this Christmas season a shopping environment is different from ever before. The economy is down and so is yours.

Some Christmas buying shopping rules that use to apply don’t this year.

We ask consumer expert Clark Howard to share some of his insight.

“The black Friday deals are extraordinary, they are probably better than January clearance sales, retailers are doing the black Friday sales just to get you in the stores and they actually lose money on those sales.

Lay away is so good at helping people number one -control expense, number two – not pay interest, number three, being able to buy something while it’s on sale – but not pay for it until you have the money.

Gift cards are very dangerous. I’ve never liked gift cards, but this year they will tear your wallet apart. So many restaurants and retailers are going to close and a gift card is only as good as that retailer is.
— Clark Howard, consumer expert

He does warn against the sales just off the Christmas; according to Clark prices won’t go down until mid-January. That is because retailers will try to get the full price for as long as possible. Only when the influx of buyers stops ,which is usually around mid-January, will they start to drop prices.

Novelty Christmas Gifts on the Cheap

A “serious problem” with Christmas gifts is that even we have it all or we’ve seen it all.

Did really nice unique gift that you both for uncle Harry? Forget it, he saw it at Wal-Mart. He knows the full price and he knows when it came on discount…

The problem is even worse in small or smaller towns: everybody knows every store. In such a place even the specialty items are common goods.

Of course there is always making your own gifts. And yes, I recognize that there too a certain level of cliché arises. But there might be a twist, that might be different angle on this. The combination of novelty Christmas gift and do it yourself.

The idea is to go to thrift stores, Goodwill centers, secondhand stores. Look around for genuine articles. You want to go for that think it’s look and feel. With a little bit of luck they’ll even have Christmas items! But if not, no problem either. A wonderful, aged frame, for example, is just as good. Again, it’s that authentic look that you want to go for.

Now when you come home with it here is where you add your own personal touch. Load up that digital photo of uncle Harry, age it, of course using free tools such as Picasa (available as a free download in Google’s pack), insert it in the frame and add a handwritten message.

Now this novelty Christmas gift focuses on a frame. That so many think this items can be repurposed as novelty Christmas gifts. Christmas time is the perfect time to give those Dickian feeling vintage items.

Come on, try it! Get into one of those stores and look around with different eyes.