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The “what holidays are in january” is a question that many people have been asking. The cost of the holidays has gone up, and so has the amount of time spent on them. Families are now looking at how they can spend less money during the holiday season.
The Wall Street Journal published an article in December detailing four families’ Christmas planning and expenditures. Each household was dealing with growing costs as well as the effects of the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak. We just checked in with them to see how things were going and to hear about their budgets and goals for the next year.
Ashley Rose Paredes set a $500 budget for Christmas, and the Orange, New Jersey, mother came close, spending $460 on presents for her family. She purchased using a credit card with no other charges on it, which made it easier for her to keep track of her expenditures. She has already paid off the remainder of the debt.
Ms. Paredes, 31, said, “I didn’t want to start the year with credit-card debt.”
When a close cousin caught Covid-19, as was the case in many families, the Omicron variety threw Christmas preparations into disarray. Ms. Paredes prepared a meal, but it was more of a hurried food delivery and camouflaged present exchange.
“It was a little sad,” she said, “but we made it work.”
This year, Ms. Paredes and her partner want to purchase a new vehicle. They will be able to continue saving thanks to the extension of federal student loan payment deferrals.
A strategy for expansion
‘It’s critical for us to be loyal to our ideals,’ said Sarita Parikh, a company owner, standing. ‘That will help us develop.’
Photo courtesy of The Wall Street Journal’s Theo Stroomer
Sarita Parikh, a Colorado company owner who sold moisturizers, spice blends, tub teas, and candles at holiday markets, worked nonstop in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Ms. Parikh, 46, says some friends are receiving late presents since she spent Christmas Eve delivering orders to local clients.
In comparison to 2020, sales for her company, Glow + Gather, increased by roughly 30% in 2021. However, jar shortages and soaring shipping and ingredient prices slashed profitability, a scenario Ms. Parikh does not anticipate to improve anytime soon.
She stayed under her $300 gift budget and only purchased from sellers she knew.
In 2022, Ms. Parikh has big plans for Glow + Gather. Rebranding with a new logo and labeling, as well as enhancing Glow + Gather’s community participation, are two of her top goals. The firm intends to donate a portion of the proceeds from a product to a Denver shelter for domestic abuse victims. It is assisting individuals affected by the fire that destroyed hundreds of houses in Boulder County, Colorado, in late December, in collaboration with local NGOs and businesses.
“It’s critical that we remain loyal to our principles,” she remarked. “That’ll help us progress.”
Putting money into your family
Three of the four Federici children live away from home, so the family takes advantage of the holidays to reunite.
Photo courtesy of The Wall Street Journal’s Kevin Serna.
Despite Omicron and holiday airline disruptions, the Federicis’ vacation to Playa del Carmen, a Mexican beach resort village, went off without a hitch.
“We were anxious, but it all worked out,” said Barry Federici, a 55-year-old attorney and financial planner who served in the Marine Corps. Mr. Federici, of DeKalb, Ill., had a booster dose of Covid-19 two weeks before the trip.
The Federicis stayed at a beachside hotel in two suites. Mr. Federici said the total cost, including travel, was somewhat more than the $9,000 he had planned since he had purchased a pearl ring for his wife, Karen Federici, 54, for Christmas. On the beach, the couple’s four children recorded him handing her the present.
With three of the four Federici children now living away from home for the most of the year, the family takes advantage of the holidays to reconnect away from the stresses of daily life.
A ski vacation to the East Coast is being considered for next year. Mr. Federici plans to run his last marathon with his family in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., in 2023. He has done seven so far.
“Investing in your family is the most essential thing you can do,” he stated.
Keeping the farm in the family
Lara Richardson, with her hand on her daughter and staring down at her newborn boy, just learned she needed a hip replacement.
The Wall Street Journal’s Alisha Jucevic took this photo.
Lara Richardson’s final Christmas with her younger brother Daniel Richardson was this year. He died abruptly on January 4th, at the age of 39, from an undisclosed cardiac problem. His death has left the family in a state of shock and has pushed them further into financial difficulty.
Ms. Richardson’s brother was a partner at Lane Creek Reserve, the family’s organic farm near Central Point, Oregon. Mr. Richardson’s effort, combined with the revenue from his $40,000-a-year off-farm employment, allowed the family to keep the farm functioning.
The family is now in a financial bind. They’ve opted to sell 12 to 14 of their cattle, hoping to make about $20,000 in the process. They also want to dump an old tractor in the hopes of netting another $15,000 in the process.
She said, “We’re trying to satisfy our short-term cash-flow demands.”
Ms. Richardson, 41, just learned that she need hip replacement surgery. She considers herself lucky that the expenditures will be covered by public insurance. Her recuperation period will need her boyfriend to labor more on the property. The pair is seeking to recruit the support of volunteers who want to learn about sustainable farming to help them maintain and administer the land.
She said, “The farm is Daniel’s legacy.” “We don’t have an option but to make it work now.”
Anne Tergesen and Veronica Dagher can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected], respectively.
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