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Hi from T-Town!


Hi all! We made it back to Tucson (whew!!)

Sorry for the unexpected break in blogging! I hadn’t anticipated taking any “time off” but when we were in Austin things were so crazy between family visits and holiday goodness that blogging just ended up taking a back seat. Just like last time we went on a long road trip (over the summer), I’ll have a full numbers post soon but (also like last time), I paid for gas on my debit card and many of the transactions still say $1.00-pending, so I won’t know all the full numbers for probably another day or two. But overall we ended up spending less than I’d anticipated! We didn’t spend any money eating out while in Austin and kept our gift-giving really reasonable. I’m hopeful to have a good report to give you with not too much (holiday/travel-related) money spent in the month of December.

That aside, I had a quick question I wanted to ask you guys about:  what do you do with birthday money!??

My “golden” birthday is coming up in a couple days. I’ll be 31 on the 31st of December (yes, Hope’s a Christmas baby and I’m a New Year’s baby! Aren’t we special!?) ; )

Anyway, while we were in Austin I was generously gifted with birthday money from various family members and I don’t know what to do with it! In the past I’ve always used any/all birthday money on miscellaneous fun things. I might get my hair done, buy some new clothes, spring for date night, etc. This is my first birthday during which I’ve really been working hard on debt reduction and I don’t know what to do! I feel like some of the money should be put toward existing debt, but I also want to spend at least some of it on something I wouldn’t normally buy myself. In short, I’m totally torn.

I feel weird disclosing the exact amount of money that has been gifted, but we’ll say its more than $100, less than $500. Soooo, it’s not like I’ve got a grande I’m going to go out and blow on “fun stuff”, but it’s certainly enough that I could put some toward fun spending and some toward savings and/or debt reduction.

What would you do if you were gifted birthday money? Do you think 100% should go toward debt? Would that be dishonoring the gift-givers in some way, to use their money on existing debt rather than putting it toward something fun? Would it be betraying my debt-reduction mission to not put it all toward debt? Would you split it up somehow and do a little toward both (debt and fun), or maybe split it 3 ways (debt, fun, and savings)??? What would you do??


  • Reply JD |

    I also received birthday money and yes, we are special! 😀 I have mine put up and I am weighing options also. In the past I purchased items for myself but this time I am not so convinced. There really isn’t a hurry to spend it or is there?

    We did pretty good on our goals but there is still room for improvement and I think that is why I am hesitant to spend it.

    • Reply Ashley |

      That’s a good point – there’s no rush to spend it, so no need to have some immediate decision. It can sit in my account for awhile.

  • Reply Walnut |

    I think haircut+date night sounds perfect. Have you found interview clothes yet? If not, check out the end of year sales and funnel some cash over to clothes that will help you feel confident and knock your interview out of the park.

    • Reply Ashley |

      Good point about interview clothes (and, no, I haven’t bought any yet). Then its something for me, but still something practical too.

  • Reply Tammy |

    I would also do something fun with it. If you are feeling guilty about that, use half for fun and half for something practical.

    BTW, my daughter’s birthday is also December 31st! Such a fun birthday!

    • Reply Ashley |

      It’s definitely fun! I’ve always bragged that the whole world celebrates my birthday! Plus, I love fireworks so even better! 🙂

  • Reply Christa |

    I would use it for something fun, or something for you. I use to put all gift money we got in the checking account to pay a bill, now I keep it out and use it for something we want.

  • Reply Jackie |

    I would use it for something you’ve been wanting The interview clothes would be a great thing to buy with it.

  • Reply Brenda |

    My opinion is they gifted it to you to use how you want. It’s clear that your journey to get out of debt is an important factor in WHO you are right now and WHAT you want at this point in your life. However, it’s always good to reward yourself a bit as well – to remind you that life is about having fun and experiencing the moment in which you are in. So split it 🙂 Put half towards your debt and the other half towards something that will make you feel fun! Weather it be a nice dinner out or a nice set of clothes – whatever will make you smile!

  • Reply Juhli |

    I’d use at least part of it for something I need for myself – interview clothes, haircut, replacing clothing that is wearing out, etc. The rest I would use to pay for dental work or debt. You have a lot of needs backed up IMO and date nights can be free if you watch a movie at home after the twins are asleep, etc. You just had a family visit so hopefully you feel like you had some special time then.

  • Reply Jessica |

    What if you saved it to use toward your next trip back to see your family? I bet they would feel pretty special to know you used their gift to spend time with them again 🙂

  • Reply Caryanna |

    Interview clothes! That is perfect. That way you don’t have to feel guilty about buying something nice for the interviews. You can invest in a pricey(ish) suit and a couple of shirts that you really like. I think it is important to have clothes that you feel confident in for interviews. My mother in law bought me the suit I wore to my interview (for my current job). I still think of it as my lucky suit and I wore it for years.

  • Reply Jenny |

    What if you used the money to buy a pricier version of something you would need to buy anyways, then use the money you would have spent on that, to put towards debt. For example, buy the makings for a few nice meals, steaks or whatever you like, then put 1/3 of your weeks grocery budget to debt. Or if you need a new small appliance or household item, buy a nicer one than you might normally, and put the cost of the cheap one you would have bought anyway to debt.

    This way you still get something nice for your gift, and something tangible you can tell the gift giver about, but also put a little extra towards debt. The same could apply to interview clothes. Buy something nice, but then take some from your regular clothing budget and put towards debt, although for something you only plan to wear a few times, I think I’d recommend buying thrift store or cheaply as it doesn’t need to hold up for a long time.

  • Reply sheila |

    My thought is use the entire amount for something you want/enjoy! This way you feel like you have a huge splurge but in reality did not use any of the money that is going to debt. Or simply put back the money for a day when you really really want something but don’t want to use any of your budget for it!

  • Reply TENN |

    I use money I receive on that on something that I might need or something that straddles the line. Interview clothes sound like good idea. If you still needed a kitchen table, I would say use it for that.

  • Reply Theresa |

    My first thought when I read this yesterday was interview clothes. I would also time a hair cut and maybe color right before your interview. I am glad that you had a nice trip.

  • Reply Teri |

    I think the money given to you as a gift is intended for you to use on yourself–for something you want or need. Think of it this way–if you use this gift to purchase interview clothes, new cosmetics, a haircut, etc. that is additional money you don’t have to budget for and because of this the money you would have had to use can now go towards debt.

  • Reply Den |

    I would take the birthday money and divide it by 12…..then each month you have a set amount of fun money/date night money/pizza money to spend…..enjoy the gift all year long PLUS it will help you stay motivated when finances get tight.

    • Reply Jessica |

      Love this idea! Plus you did say you wanted to plan more date nights with your hubby. <3

So, what do you think ?