Wide Open Wallet

An honest look at family finances

Archive for the ‘giving’ Category


Have you ever re-gifted anything?  Have you ever received something you knew was a re-gift?

I have re-gifted, but I don’t think I’ve ever given it as a present for an event, like birthday or Christmas.  More like, “hey, my mom gave me this wallet and I don’t think I’m going to use it, do you want it?”  I know I’ve received re-gifts but I can’t remember anything specifc now.  I do know that it really cheapens the gift.  It makes you feel like the person doesn’t really care.  It’s the thought that counts, and a re-gift is the smallest amount of thought possible.

So here is my current re-gift dilemma.  My sister in law has a couple of books on her Christmas wish list.  We have already spent our budgeted amount on her and I happen to own one of the books on her list.  It’s hard cover and in perfect condition.  I’m very gentle on books.  I hate when books get damaged in anyway.

Now I have no problem giving her this book.  We have already bought her what we were going to buy her, so this book would be extra, not in lieu of a purchased present.  It would allow other members of the family to spend their money on other stuff.  It would only be a bonus.

Should we just give it to her now, rather than at Christmas? Either let her borrow it, or let her keep it, I don’t care which.  Or give it to her for Christmas, thinking it’s more fun to get lots of presents at Christmas time.

What would you do?

Pic by: Kevin Dooley

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  • I don’t usually post about sales because I don’t want to encourage you to spend money.  And I don’t want to feel like I have to look for good deals because then I am encouraged to spend money.  I feel like the best way to save money is to just not shop.

    That said… I saw something cool today.   Monopoly has a new version that uses a debit card and a “digital banking device” instead of cash.  Have you seen this?  It looks really neat.   I’ve noticed a trend that people who are into personal finance usually like Monopoly.  We have several versions in the closet.

    Anyways, Amazon’s deal of the day is this new Monopoly game for $15.  This is a great deal as it’s usually $40.

    It’s only today though!

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  • Put stocks in their stocking

    Here is a unique gift idea and it’s related to personal finance.  Stocks.  Ok, so that sounds boring.  But it’s not.  I promise.  There is a place called Give A Share that sends out the actual stock certificate, framed with a plaque for engraving and everything.  I’m not going to claim it’s the most frugal of gifts, cause you have to buy a share of stock, and the frame, and have it shipped, you know… but it will certainly be unexpected.  And you are buying something of value, no chance this present will get thrown away in six months.

    My brother in law and his wife are in love with Disney.  They own everything Disney.  So for their wedding I got them a share of Disney stock.  I had the plaque engraved with their names, wedding date, and it says “and they lived happily ever after”.  It’s really cool.

    So if that hard to buy for person on your list has a penchant for a particular company you might want to take a gander at Give A Share.  Know someone who is in love with Coke? Ford? Starbucks? Coach?  They say you can get any stock listed on the NYSE/NASDAQ.  Pretty neat.

    You will need to have the recipient’s name and address so they can register the stock to the rightful owner, but you can have the actual stock mailed to your house to give as a gift later.

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  • Filed under: giving
  • Christmas Shopping

    I’m almost done Christmas shopping!  I really got into this weekend.  I was online most of Sunday comparison shopping.  I’m trying hard to go for quality and not quantity.  I’ve budgeted $200 per kid and really, if you are getting nice expensive gifts $200 doesn’t go very far.

    I’m usually worried about how many gifts are going to be under the tree for each kid, how many gifts are they going to get to open.  But honestly, it’s not something I should worry about.  Every year it’s something I’m concerned about, and every year I’m shocked at how many presents they have by the time Santa comes and everything.  It’s embarrassing really.

    My daughter especially.  She gets a full blown Christmas here, complete with Grandmas, Aunts, Uncles, and cousins.  Then her dad picks her up and she goes and has another full Christmas, with a whole other set of Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and cousins.  It’s insane.  The money that is spent on that girl.  Ug.  It’s sick.

    So, therefore I am not worrying about the number of gifts this year.  I’m trying to pick out things I think she will like and that are a good value.  Her big present this year is going to be this digital camera.  I’ve tried several of the digital cameras geared towards kids and we’ve returned every single one.  Not worth the money at all.  So now that she is 7 and I can trust her not to throw it down the stairs or run it through the dishwasher I went and laid down some cash for a real camera.

    My son, since he is only two, there really isn’t anything huge that I’m getting him.  It’s hard to find something worth spending $50 to $100 on when he is going to outgrow it in a year or two.  So for him, it is mostly smaller stuff.  He will have more gifts than my daughter… but I’m not going to worry about that!  This is what causes me to go over budget.

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  • Random Act of Kindness

    A perfect stranger gave me $100 yesterday. It’s true. I was totally blown away and I am very motivated to pay it forward. What’s hard is coming up with $100 to literally give away.

    If you have been the recipient or giver of a random act of kindness I would love to hear about it.

    Here’s what happened to me….
    I attempted to take my kids to the zoo but life got in the way.
    It was just a bad mommy day. My friend offered to take us and use her season pass. Between the two of us we have five kids, ages 6,4,2,2, and 9 months. Even just getting them into the car is a feat. By the time we got to the zoo my friend was on the verge of tears from frustration. Then we waited in line for about 30 minutes and when we get to the front my friend can’t find her wallet. So we move the caravan over to the side and I stay with the kids while she runs back to the car to see if she can find it. She can’t. So she is panicking and holding back tears while she digs though all her stuff. It’s not there. We had stopped for gas on the way to the zoo so she had definitely had it when she left the house. We obviously can’t go inside the zoo while her wallet is lost. Not only do we not have the tickets but she needs to get home and cancel all her cards.

    We tell the kids we can’t go inside and my daughter starts bawling. One thing you have to know about my daughter is that she loves drama. She has perfected the pathetic cry and was using it to it’s fullest. But seeing my daughter cry made my friend cry, which in turn made me cry. The whole thing was almost funny really. It was so ridiculous that the only thing you could do was laugh. But then a lady comes up from behind me and takes my hand. She says “here, take your kids to the zoo.” I look down and she had given me a $100 bill. I tried to give it back but she wouldn’t take it. I tried twice actually. Once I got my head around what had just happened and realized that we weren’t going to the zoo either way at this point I went back to her. I explained, with tears in my eyes, how we wouldn’t be going to the zoo and that we really are fine. Sob. Sob. We were just having a bad morning. But she refused to take the money.

    We have the money set aside and plan to use it to take the all the kids someplace fun to make up for the disappointment.

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