Re-Gifting & Thrifted Gifts Aren’t the Devil’s Handiwork

Last December, Mrs. Money at Ultimate Money Blog asked, “Are Thrifted Gifts Acceptable?” I think they are, within reason: If they’re in excellent condition, and it’s something the recipient wants, then why not? Perhaps not clothing, but other items may be acceptable, such as dishes, wine glasses and handy kitchen items. (DISCLOSURE: I’ve never actually given someone a gift that was secondhand or thrifted).

As I’m writing this post, my attention was brought to another great post about thrift-store gifts from J.D. over at Get Rich Slowly. As the reader featured in the post mentions, sometimes, you’ll come across fantastic finds such as hardly-used designer handbags at thrift stores. Would you turn down a gently-used Coach bag if you know you would never be able to afford one brand-new (or, in my case, wouldn’t dare spend our hard-earned money on one)?

Now that we’re trying to further cut our expenses in anticipation of our little bundle of joy, this Christmas leads me to another, similar thought. What about RE-GIFTING? When you get a present (that isn’t to your taste or is a duplicate) that doesn’t have a gift receipt and it’s something purchased brand-new, is it so terrible to “pass” that gift on to another person for Christmas or a birthday? It could be a piece of clothing, perfume, gift card for a store you don’t go to.

I don’t think it’s insulting to re-gift these types of items, because the alternative is to let them take up space in your home and let them go to waste. And yes, this also means that I’m open to receiving thrifted or re-gifted items, especially if they’re something I can use or are vintage or antique.

Frugal Admission: Yes, I have re-gifted some presents — but only once in a blue moon. I look at it this way: I’m making sure the item will get proper use AND saving myself some money in the process. No, I’m not talking about re-gifting an ugly sweater to a cousin who will think it’s just as ugly as I do. I wouldn’t pass “junk” over to anyone as a present, either.

We’re now two weeks out from Christmas Day and I’ve about finished our gift shopping. I may have used coupons, but have no fear. I’m not re-gifting or thrifting anything — this year.

Work Hard Now, Relax Later?

I’ve been putting the pedal to the metal thanks to a renewed drive to bankroll as much cash in our savings account as I can before my maternity leave. Often this means taking on freelance writing gigs that require a lot of my time — working nights after getting home from my FT job, and usually the weekends, too. I’ve been fortunate that the freelance work is fairly steady, because I want to do it now while¬† I feel good and have minimal distractions.

I’m a natural-born hustler. I’m not sure where I got it from — all I know is that I’ve always worked more than one job from an early age. After high school, I worked full-time for a group of local weekly newspapers and delivered pizza on the side. When the pizza gig ended, I found a PT job at a Polish-American newspaper working 10 hours a week. Then, I tacked on an occasional gig working as a data entry person at college track meets on the weekends. It was crazy, but I enjoyed myself.

I did things a bit unconventionally. After a few years, I attended college full time, worked full time AND had an occasional PT gig. Had a full scholarship the last two years at college. I was no slouch in high school, either. I surely didn’t reach my full potential, but I didn’t break my back with heavy course loads, either — and I still graduated 18th in a class of 238 with a 4.1 weighted GPA.

Now, I still like to hustle for extra cash, but I go about it differently. I don’t work off-site except for my full-time job; any freelance work is writing or editing from home. While I’m still putting in the extra hours, I don’t have to leave the comfort of my home, and I can get the work done at any time of the day or night, as long as I meet my deadlines.

So it’s no surprise I’m getting as much done as possible to ensure our child will be well taken care of once s/he arrives. Because by then, I’ll finally want to have less on my plate in order to fully focus on the baby.

I’m still trying to determine how we will go about putting money aside for our child — immediately, we’ll have new expenses, such as daycare, which will likely run us $1,000/month or more. Will there be anything left to save? Probably not much at first, which means we’ll be looking for ways to cut our current expenses, although we’re pretty frugal with everything except our cable TVpackage. After daycare is paid, we’ll try to divert extra to padding our savings accounts and starting an account for the baby for college and general expenses.

It’ll be tough, as naturally I’ll be dropping a good portion of my freelance gigs in order to focus on taking care of our baby. Perhaps Mr. NSF can find a way to bring in some extra cash, too.

Another thing I need to do is mock up a budget to estimate what our finances will be like from March onward. I don’t include freelance payments, as they are variable. I pretend that the extra cash flow is “found money” — and it goes straight into our savings account.

Writing this down has made me realize I have a lot of financial planning to do.

Any PF moms out there have tips for how they adjusted their spending/budgets once little ones came into the picture?