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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? 

Side Hustle Money


My side hustle has begun to pick up again. I guess the first of the school year honeymoon period is over and teachers are ready for occasional breaks, have sick kids or have conferences to attend. This year I limited myself to just subbing for the high school. I did this for two reasons:

  1. I much prefer this age group. The middle school is okay, but I know I don’t have the temperament for elementary school.
  2. The block schedule (longer classes) is much more conducive to me being able to get some of my own work done versus changing classes every 45 minutes to an hour.

I’m continuing with the same plan for this money as I did last spring…just letting it build up in a savings account. I am paid once a month and have it direct deposited into its own account. So I truly never see it unless I go looking for it.

In fact, when I was paid this past week, I was surprised. (My first paycheck from teaching since last May.) It’s not a lot, well, depending on how often I get called. But an extra $69 a day is a decent wage for just sitting and monitoring kids doing work. It really is a great side gig. And I enjoy “teaching” the kids. I miss that aspect of homeschooling and the classes I taught at our co op.

At this point, I do not and have no plans to include this income in my budget. First it is too variable. And second, I have no plans to use it for the time being, just letting it grow.

I also set up a account on Rover.com to pet site or walk dogs a few weeks ago, but no hits on that. I’m not surprised seeing as we live in a tiny little town. But I will keep it active just in case. Do you have a seasonal side gig that you enjoy?