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Christmas Lights and Frugality

by J. Money on Thursday, February 3, 2011

christmas lights tree
I’m not gonna lie — I still have my Christmas lights up. I know there’s some “rule” out there that you have to take that stuff down at a certain point (after New Years?) but I refuse to do it.  Those sparkling little bulbs make me happy!!  Why should I conform? (They’re inside my house btw, not on the outside)

That’s been the theme of my existence this week.  The phrase “haters are gonna hate” has made an appearance quite a few times over here, and I refuse to be bullied into stopping something that a) makes me happy, and b) isn’t hurting anyone.  No one can take away our joy if we don’t let them!

But I bring this up today not only on behalf of my darling Christmas lights (which are gleaming as I type!), but on behalf of all those who are doing their thing and getting beef because of it.  If you’re happy with the way things are going, keep pushing forward!

It reminds me a lot of frugality. How many times have you been made fun of for saving money instead of going out with your friends?  Or for wearing last year’s clothing instead of the latest & greatest? Or better yet -  for bending over and picking up pennies off the floor?!  Well, guess what?  You are awesome :)  Just because others don’t see the point in it, doesn’t mean you should stop being you.

We are the only ones in control of our money here. No one else is going to care as much as we do cuz it’s OUR skin in the game.  Every time I hear “it’s just $10 bucks!” or “come on man, live a little” I have to stop the urge of vomiting a little in my mouth.  How nice it would be if everyone did what people told them to! (hah!)

I say let the haters hate, and keep doing your thing. There’s something to be said for being confident and standing your ground.  At the very least, it’s sexy as hell.

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(Photo by sashafatcat)


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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Molly On Money February 3, 2011 at 8:48 am

Who wants a house that conforms?! All of my furniture is on wheels (yes, even the couch and the sewing machine!)- Like my spending, or lack there of, its my house!
I’d say it took my friends about a year to get use to me not spending $. Their first reaction was to leave me out of social events where you needed money to participate. They now invite me along and are OK with a no from me if I don’t feel I can afford it. If they go out for dinner and a movie I’ll join up with them for the movie.

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2 Jonathan February 3, 2011 at 9:20 am

I think the only reason I wouldn’t want them up is because having them up all the time would take away the special feeling you get when they are up at Christmas. It’s just like when people complain about winter, I like to think and sometimes say, well without winter, you wouldn’t appreciate spring and summer so much! Everything has it’s time and place, and Christmas lights are for Christmas time. :)

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3 Cathie February 3, 2011 at 9:47 am

Well, who says they have to be Christmas lights, anyway. It’s not Christmas-time anymore, so they’re just lights now. Enjoy, and let the haters be miserable in their dark, regular-light homes.
I pick up pennies off the ground. I AM sexy!

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4 Too Funny February 3, 2011 at 9:56 am

you bring up some good points, but we have friends that are so cheap it’s annoying. they never, ever want to go out… anytime any event involves spending $5 they find a way to be busy. If they bring food over it’s expired and should have been in the trash.

it just got too annoying to even call them up anymore, so I guess I’m a hater, but only in extreme cases.

J: Anybody that is so cheap that it gets annoying to you? Anyone ever bring over an old salad for a friends night just to save 50 cents that you had to eat with old ranch sauce?

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5 Heather @ Work At Home Market February 3, 2011 at 10:00 am

Man, I love this post for two reasons. One, I left my Christmas tree up until January 29th. People thought we were weird, but we didn’t care. It made us feel all warm and cozy through the boring month of January…

And, I pick up pennies, and keep not one but two penny banks! Nice way to save up for date nights, traveling, or savings.

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6 Amanda February 3, 2011 at 11:45 am

My Christmas tree came down last week, but only because it was dropping needles. In true frugal fashion, it’s being repurposed into a bird feeder outside until winter is over (hanging peanut butter-and-birdseed pine cones on it), and then it will be mulched for the garden come spring. Not bad for a $30 tree, eh?

However, my lights are still up. I haven’t been able to access them since the December 26 blizzard on Long Island! Week after week, we just keep getting more snow, so the lights are either frozen to the house or inaccessible to pull down. We’re not the only ones. I was driving through the neighborhood two weeks ago and there were still people lighting up their houses. If they’re still up, why not?

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7 Financial Samurai February 3, 2011 at 12:06 pm

J, I don’t get it. What are people hating about?

I like to leave the lights up til July! haha

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8 Rachel February 3, 2011 at 12:09 pm

You’re just early for 4th of July or Next Christmas.

Truth — Haters are Gonna Hate..
It’s how you react and pass on your legacy that matter.

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9 Leen February 3, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I still have my Christmas tree up! It is artificial so it isn’t dangerous. It is really pretty and my cat loves to chew on it. Plus I’m just lazy! When I look at it I still feel happy so it is still up and I’m not apologizing any more!!!

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10 JennyDee February 3, 2011 at 12:41 pm

At work, I put up my ceramic letters that spell “snow” two weeks before Christmas. We got snow on Christmas and have been dumped on ever since (Missouri). People see it now and roll their eyes because they’re sick of the snow. We got less than 5″, and for me, that’s awesome. I love snow!

Haters being haters: When I got my condo, the first thing I did was paint. My office is darkish blue, the color you see after the sun sets and it becomes too black. The living room has a teal color that changes in the light (either green or blue depending on the time of day). Family hate both colors, but I LOVE THEM. Besides, I’m a scifi geek; what better place for my stuff than a dark blue room? Too bad it’s darker than the TARDIS :D

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11 Brandi February 3, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Damn Straight my man!!

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12 Investing Newbie February 3, 2011 at 2:01 pm

What’s wrong with leaving the Christmas lights up? You can always say: Everyday is Christmas at J.Money’s House.

No one can argue with that. Not even the Haters.

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13 aj February 3, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I say “Shine on, you crazy diamond!”

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14 JT McGee February 3, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Remind them that the amount of time they spent laughing about it/making fun is greater than the amount of time you’ll spend putting your lights up next year. ;)

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15 retirebyforty February 3, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Well said, Maverick!

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16 LB February 3, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Different ideas make the world better!

I just recently lost a friendship because I was unable to spend money for drinks or food and wanted to do something free/cheap, like coffee. I am currently unemployed after spending almost 2 months taking care of my mom after surgery, so most jobs look at my resume and pass. I am looking at taking a minimum wage cleaning job just to make money so I can pay off all my debt by the end of this year. I really don’t care what people think about my saving/spending/personality. My biggest happiness that other people NEVER understand is living in a mobile home. It is cheap, warm, comfortable and I plan on going to school once I pay of my debt. This house is what makes that possible. :) (Plus, it is cheaper than renting!!!!!!!!!!)

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17 Too Funny February 3, 2011 at 4:05 pm

LB:

I hope my earlier post was not construed to imply something about you or even others. I’m only speaking of one specific example where income is not an issue. If someone earns 100k+ per year and refuses to go out, ever, or brings over rotten food all the time to save money… at that point it crosses my tolerance line.

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18 Marc February 3, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I am in the minority here as I don’t leave the Christmas lights up past mid-January. I do this because when I first got into property management, as a manager of a 400+ unit apartment complex, my boss made me go to each tenant that had their lights up and ask them to take them down. If they didn’t comply I would then have to serve them a notice to comply with the community rules as stated in their lease agreement. This was engraved in my head so I can be a scrooge about the lights being left up. Having them inside a window does not bother me as much as if someone left them up on the outside of the house and especially if they still turn them on.

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19 dee dee February 3, 2011 at 5:49 pm

I will be 50 this year. In my professiion I can take early retirement at 55 and I PLAN TO DO IT. I have co-workers roughly the same age that say…”oh, no…there’s no way I can retire then, I haven’t saved enough,” and then they look at me like I can’t possibly have done the math.

These are the same co-workers that turn their nose up at my bag lunch as they buy lunch at the cafeteria. These are the same folks that are driving a BRAND new car, while I drive at 2000 Honda Civic and the same folks that scoff at my cheap, but extremely relaxing and rewarding vacations while they jet set around the world. Priorities, I guess ~ I know that I plan to honk my horn loud and long everytime I drive by my former workplace in 5 years, whileI’m off enjoying myself and the rest of the gang toils away for “the man.”

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20 Jon the Saver February 4, 2011 at 1:11 am

Haha, this post made me laugh out loud! Tomorrow at work I wanna yell out “saving is sexy and I don’t care what you guys think of me!”

I get so much flack for bringing my lunch to work! Hmm let’s see, it saves money, the food is healthier, and I don’t waste money on tips! Maybe I’m just crazy.

Anyhoo, great post, good to see some humor in a financial blog, loving it!

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21 J. Money February 4, 2011 at 1:11 pm

You guys are funny :)

@Molly On Money – hahah, really? is your bed on wheels?? (bow chicka wha wha!)
@Jonathan – Damn you. You make an excellent point, good sir. If I ever take them down you get the award ;)
@Cathie – haha true! they’re now “awesome lights.”
@Too Funny – Ewwwwww expired food? That’s just nasty. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced something like that before. But yeah, I can see how that could get annoying. I guess in those cases you should just ask them to bring over a bottle of wine ;) 3 Buck Chuck tastes okay! haha… or just accept that that’s how they are and know that you’re walking into every time you invite them out or over. Tricky one.
@Heather @ Work At Home Market – Woooo! Rock on, sista! (and my christmas tree is still up…. but mainly because I’m too busy to fool with it. The fake ones never die ;))
@Amanda – Your neighborhood sounds like heaven :) Great job repurposing all the needles! That stuff always impresses me cuz I’d never think of it on my own accord.
@Financial Samurai – They’re hating that my budget is so sexy!! haha… j/k… Cuz christmas stuff is “tacky” after the date of ____. Let ‘em hate!
@Rachel – “It’s how you react and pass on your legacy that matter.” Damn you’re smart.
@Leen – That’s right! No more apologies! You let your cats chew on your tree and you be happy about it ;)
@JennyDee – haha, first off, I have no idea what a TARDIS is but you own that and you do your thing girl! Paint is one of the best ways to express your self and extract emotions. You’re the one living there so as long as you’re happy with it all is good in the world :) Says the guy with bright blue paint across his entire living room…
@Brandi – *head nod*
@Investing Newbie – Haha… well, whether the lights are up or not, it’s def. Xmas at J. Money’s house anyways every day ;) You should stop by some time and say hi.
@aj – thank you much!
@JT McGee – hahaha, good point. that is, of course, if I ever take them down? ;)
@retirebyforty – Thanks Goose! (the Goose that’s alive – I pretend he never died)
@LB – Awwwww that makes me so happy and sad at the same time. Obviously those “friends” aren’t real friends cuz that $hit doesn’t matter. I’m so proud of you for sticking to your guns and knowing what is truly important in your life :) I 100% get why you like mobile homes! I like them too!! Keep being YOU LB, you’re beautiful.
@Marc – Ahh, yeah I’ve heard of community rules like that. If I got a notice to take mine down I totally would. Not trying to cause trouble or get fined in any way, that’s for sure. Thanks for sharing my man.
@dee dee – Good for you!!!!! Now THAT’s what I’m talking about. The haters keep hating cuz that’s all they know how to do. They don’t take a second to learn how things can be different and actually improve their lives – instead, they chalk it up to something being “wrong” with the picture and keep moving on. You’re gonna be so happy in retirement, I’m proud of you!!!
@Jon the Saver – Haha, well, I can’t promise that if you scream that you’re not gonna be labeled the “weird guy” ;) But you better believe saving IS sexy! You go and keep rockin’ those brown bags.

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22 Valencia February 4, 2011 at 4:17 pm

“for bending over and picking up pennies off the floor?! ”

PREACH!

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23 Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer February 4, 2011 at 8:48 pm

If they’re all white lights, you’re just in style. I love those year-round. If they’re multi-colored, that’s okay too. It’s your house; I have enough to worry in my own, haha!

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24 Catherine February 6, 2011 at 2:38 pm

I had mine up for quite a while this year due to laziness… (not saying you’re being lasy here).. but I eventually took them down. Personally I knew that in my case if I left them up any longer they wouldn’t be as special when Christmas rolled round again and they came back out and went back up

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25 Jaime February 8, 2011 at 4:26 am

Yeah most definitely everyone has their own sense of frugality. We don’t have a landline, we use skype and a pay as you go phone. My bf doesn’t even have a cell phone, well he used to it was pay as you go but he shut it off. There have been times where I will loan it to him when he needs it which is rare.

I can definitely afford to pay a monthly bill for a cell phone but its just a phone. Have you ever heard the term conscious spending? I’m sure you have, its Ramit’s version of frugality. Anyway, I don’t really think a phone is that important to me which is why I haven’t upgraded mine, oh and its real thick too. lol.

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26 Ruby February 8, 2011 at 11:47 am

I totally love Christmas lights- My “cool white” LED’s are still up, they totally are fabulous in my window…nothing to be ashamed about, especially in this boring winter!

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27 J. Money February 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Oh yeah, BIG fan of conscious spending. I call it “spending on priorities” which Ramit pretty much taught me too :) it’s OKAY to spend money on things as long as they are important to you and you’re CUTTING BACK in the other areas that aren’t. It works if you’re really good about it :)

And go Xmas lights!!!!

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