Guest Blog Post
“All I ever want to do is crochet!”
Today I was looking at my calendar and it dawned on me that Christmas Day is a mere 60 days away. Before we know it the candy corn, costumes, and light-up pumpkins will be pulled from the shelves of our favorite retailers and swiftly replaced with candy canes, Christmas trees, and light-up reindeer. Everything we see will tempt us to buy, and there will be so many “good deals” that many of us will end up dropping $300 on mom because…well, because she’s the best mom in the world, of course!
Not unlike the fate of the actors on AMC’s The Walking Dead, it’s not a matter of if you will turn into a zombie, but when. This December, countless Americans will place their Christmas purchases on consumer credit cards and will rationalize their behavior in a million ways: they’ll pay it off over the winter when there’s nothing going on, or they’ll worry about it in the new year. They’ll pay it off with next year’s income tax return. The problem with this mentality is that, eventually, that credit card statement will show up in the mailbox and so many otherwise-reasonable people will become the victims of needless suffering when it’s time to face the music.
I am a 31-year-old single gal with no kiddos. I bought a house almost two years ago for $165k with $15,000 down and a 30-year bank loan at 4.3% interest. Now that I’ve been in the groove of paying the mortgage and bills and investing 6% of my gross salary into an employer-sponsored 401k and Roth IRA for a while now, I’ve come to a pretty unsettling realization: I can’t afford Christmas. Never have been able to, actually. I am especially awe-struck by this fact when I stack my financial picture against that of my fellow Millennial friends and colleagues. What’s odd about it is that I am comparatively much better off than most of them when it comes to personal debt. I have an MBA and a Master of Arts, and was able to earn both without taking out a single student loan thanks to graduate teaching assistantships and the generous tuition reimbursement program of my employer. My education has landed me a good-paying job that I love at a company I believe in. As if that’s not enough to put me ahead of everyone else from an asset-to-debt perspective, I also drive a paid-off car and have no consumer credit card debt. My only debt is my house!
Did you know that in 2012 Americans were forecast to have spent around $900 on Christmas, on average? A friend of mine was telling me recently that she spends $2,000 on Christmas every year! She and her husband have two small kids; I don’t have kids, but $2k seems like a lot of money to spend on an event that lasts 10 minutes or less! I remember how magical Christmas was when I was young, and I know my parents never spent that kind of money on my sister and me. Kids don’t know or care how much you spent on them; going over the top at the holidays is something adults do to convince themselves they are keeping up with The Jones’. Going overboard is just crazy! You don’t have to go buck wild to give really amazing gifts. The wonderful art of crochet is a very economical and alternative means for gift giving at the holidays. The beauty of crochet is that it doesn’t cost much and the possibilities are endless for creating something unique for the special people in your life. The personalization that comes with handmade gifts simply cannot be bought! I have only been crocheting for about three months now. Brittany, owner of B.Hooked Crochet, taught me everything I know, and I have to say, she is an amazing teacher, designer, and just a wonderful friend! Keeping in mind that I have been crocheting for a very short time, check out these two gifts I whipped up in a matter of no time-and for less than $20 total! I made the crochet rib scarf for my grandmother, who has beautiful gray-white hair that will be set off against its vibrant purple hue. The infinity button scarf is for a girlfriend whose beautiful green eyes will be accentuated by its forest vibe.
To give you an idea of the financial impact of crocheting gifts like these, here is how each scarf breaks down. Patterns included!
Crochet Ribbed Scarf
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick*
Hook Size: 10 mm
Time investment: 4 hours
Total cost: $9.50 plus tax
Free Pattern, Click here
*Loops & Threads Cozy Wool in Clematis depicted
Infinity Button Scarf
Yarn: Loops & Threads Charisma in Forest (1 skein)
Hook Size: 5.0 mm
Button: Small and in whatever style/material floats your boat!
Time investment: 3 hours
Total cost: $3.50 plus tax
Free pattern, click here.
These scarves are examples of gifts you can make for a fraction of what you would spend on something nice at the mall, and I guarantee that your friends will treasure gifts like these more than they ever would a gift card to Forever 21 or the movies! Chances are they’re going to buy clothes and go to the movies anyway; the most treasured and memorable gifts are those someone makes with their hands with your style and personality in mind! So, my friends, be good to yourself this holiday season – make a commitment to rethink your routine when it comes to holiday gift giving. Don’t make yourself a victim by overspending to make the holiday special, and definitely don’t put gifts on the credit card! You can start learning to crochet today! Hopefully these two projects will inspire you to start making some really easy and fun personalized gifts. Happy crocheting, and my hope is that less may truly be more in your life!
Your Friend in Yarn,Amanda