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The Challenge of Finding Last Minute Money for the Holidays


Unlike Hope, I haven’t been planning for the holidays since summer. I think I’ve been actively avoiding the entire idea. My mum and grandparents are moving to Nova Scotia to be closer to my sisters, who are each going through Big Life Events. One of my sisters has a baby and is experiencing huge problems outside of her control. I’m so grateful my mum is able to retire early and go be there for her. At the same time, I’m absolutely devastated. It’s an 18 hour drive or a flight to see most of my family now. I was doing dishes the other night and had that punched-in-the-gut realization that my mum won’t be an hour away any longer. What will I do if I need her? What if she needs me?

A really strange Thanksgiving

Canadian Thanksgiving was last weekend. Because my mum is moving, Thanksgiving was a bit of a bust. Mum’s house is for sale and she had showings over Thanksgiving weekend. For the first time in my life, we ate Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant. It was so strange. While we don’t have the football games or the parade, Thanksgiving has always been a big holiday for everyone I know. People travel far and wide to be with their families for this holiday, and we do the huge meal with all the fixin’s. This is the beginning of my favorite time of year.

My mum is so cute!

Finding Last Minute Money for the Holidays

First, let’s chat about Halloween. Halloween is so much fun! I’m going to dress up as a goth, I think. I won’t need to buy a costume for that. I am spending $38 on a ticket to a Halloween music event for next weekend, but I won’t be spending much more than that (maybe $40 for an Uber and a couple drinks – I’ll budget for it). On Halloween night, I’ll hand out candy. I love to see the kids dressed up and my neighborhood has more and more kids moving in! I needn’t worry about finding last minute money for Halloween, thank goodness.

But what to do about Christmas?

With the move in mind, I still don’t know what my Christmas will look like. That’s my absolute favorite time of year, especially here in Canada. I love the serene, perfectly silent blanket of snow, and all of the winter traditions. My family gets together to ski, snowshoe, ice fish, hike. Gosh, I’m teary thinking of this without my half of my family.

With my pets in the picture, I would have to drive out to Nova Scotia, and I just don’t want to do that alone in the winter. So it looks like I’m going to be here, with my dad and brother and his family. That will make it a much cheaper holiday, because my dad and brother are low-key and outdoorsy. I will get to do the fun outside stuff without the expensive inside stuff. My mum’s side is the one that does lavish gifts and over-the-top expensive wines and meats. I still want to find a few Rover gigs before Christmas to cover seeing my dad, bottles of wine or little mementos for friends, and for small gifts for my direct reports at work (like a coffee gift card).

Thinking it over now, I will still send a box of gifts out east. I’m thinking of a handful of homemade gifts, such as pictures and some treats I’ve baked. And I need to get my mother something half decent, but that’s where I’m hoping to use my credit card rewards.

Does anyone have tips for spending the holidays away from family? How about gifts that travel well? 

Plan of Action – EF, Debt and Retirement


As any one who has been reading me long knows, I keep myself motivated during this debt payoff journey with small baby step plans. It’s been a while since I had one since my two remaining debts are quite large…

And as previously mentioned, I do think I need to start putting something toward retirement

So here’s my short term (baby step) plan…

For the remainder of October through December, I will continue with my current budget. Paying the minimums as listed toward my two debts. But putting all additional income toward my EF. If I continue making the same amount I have the last few months, I will reach a solid 4 month strong EF by the end of the year.

Then I will diversify a bit and split my additional income between a Retirement plan, not sure which one yet, and putting extra money toward debt payments. I have decided to prioritize the car debt over the student loans at that time.

Raspberry tea to close out a long day of walking around colleges

Raspberry tea to close out a long day of walking around colleges

I will redo my budget in December to take into account these plans AND adding a line item to save towards Princess’ last year of high school. More to come on that in then…

Life has been very good to us this year. Steady and quiet. A change from our last few years. I am so grateful for the respite after jumping from emergency to emergency.  I am now working on business plans for next year along with putting some personal goals down on paper.