Monday, December 30, 2013

11 Smart Ways to Spend Your Christmas Money

Well the holidays have come and gone and more than a few of you probably got cash or gift cards.  At this time when I feel grateful for what I have received, and all the other blessings of the season, I hold off a bit on spending. I like to take stock of what I spent on last year and what I bought that I didn't really need. Frankly, I like to start a new year making good investments and use my little stockpile wisely, you know?

One of my resolutions in 2014, is to buy just what I need and less. That said, it's a good time to purchase as stores have things at their lowest prices, so after some reflection, you may want to spend your dollars now.

So what's worth your money? A few thoughts...

Pottery Barn Architectural Salvage Square Urn Lamp

1. Something for the home.  How often do we spend our money on clothing that gets ignored a month later, but hesitate on home purchases that last for years and longer? Two things that I spent money I stashed away on this year, were a lovely area rug and lamps from Pottery Barn. They made a huge difference in how my home felt and looked. They seriously upgraded everything. For the price of a coat, you can have a well-made lamp or rug. Think about how long you enjoy things you've bought for your home. Decades sometimes right?

2. On the subject of coats, a coat! This is the time to buy a quality coat that will last. I'm speaking of wool, and well-made. One of my Christmas gifts was this year was a J Crew classic coat that I had my eye on. I hadn't bought a wool coat in about 5 years and there is no mistaking what a good coat can do for your wardrobe. So worth it. I suggest a classic color like navy, camel, or grey. Sounds boring, but honestly you'll use it and love it a lot more. Neons seem fun now, but maybe not in 3 years, and a well made coat lasts at least that long.

I got this in navy and am so liking the simplicity of this coat and the zipper.  It goes with everything.

3. Talking of clothes, a quality sweater is a wonderful thing to get now. Have you noticed the quality of sweaters has gone down, even from some of the nicer stores? I have. So many are wool or cashmere blends with synthetics. You can't see the weave on these garments and they feel very soft when they are bought. Well, give them a few weeks and they look awful. I've been nostalgic for the sweaters of the past with quality weaves and durability. Some of these old sweaters are still stalwarts of my closet.

I've been shopping around and one of the companies that is still making some quality sweaters is Ralph Lauren of course. Yes, they are hovering around the $100+ mark, but right now, many are also on sale.. At Bloomingdales I found this one above. I'm loving the quality. Yes, it's part wool. Look for sweaters with the smallest amount of synthetics and a quality weave.

4. Something to upgrade your everyday living. Use your money on something you use daily. For me that was a new glass teapot. I'm loving it and for $21 and I wish I had bought one earlier. I used a chipped and cracked pot for 2 years now. Why? Don't know.  I love seeing when my tea is steeped, it does a better job, looks so much prettier and that makes me happy too. Other items that improve your everyday life could be a better coffee maker, a new travel coffee cup, a good toaster or even new sheets or cashmere socks. Anything you use each day is worth the pennies spent and raises your quality of life!

5. A handbag is another thing you use daily and also worth spending more on. I'm thinking a few hundred if you can. I honestly don't believe in $1,000 handbags. The quality of them is not 5xs worth another good bag. What are you paying for is status and label. Some people do care about that. I just don't. I want a pretty bag that is functional and lasts. A quality handbag and shoes will make a good outfit look great. Look for good seaming, fine interior and weight. Find something that is functional and that you can carry daily without pain. I personally love a bag with an outer pocket for keys and phone.

Two well designed bags I want right now are the zip-around Furla (top) and this Coach (on sale now and also in other colors), with the large exterior front pocket.

Kinfolk Table available at Amazon

6. A great cookbook. Now is the time to rethink your meal rotation. I know I'm dead bored of comfort food by this time and ready to eat lighter and healthier.  I recommend and am inspired by The Kinfolk Table which has simple recipes for gatherings. I love the photos and ideas for getting together.

Homemade with Love

 Another I have gotten so many ideas from is Homemade with Love. It is all about cooking from scratch. I like her writing and it's an enjoyable read. It's also now it's on sale.  It would be a beautiful addition to your cookbook library.

J Crew Liberty rash guard

7. Something fabulous for summer and spring that may stop you from finishing off the holiday chocolates.  I saw this as soon as I opened the J Crew catalog. Having such a gorgeous bathing suit and matching rash guard, which I would normally never splurge for as well, would be divine to own. And yes, it may, possibly could prevent me from consuming the rest of the marzipan pigs sitting in the frig right now with my name on them!

J Crew Moonglow silk tee
If you can't even think swimsuit yet, how about an adorable top? This silk T makes me excited for warm weather and vacations and all that comes with that...Silk always is worth the splurge and this isn't too pricey.

8. Something from an antique, furniture consignment, flea market or auction house. My goal this year is to seek out more eclectic and unique items for my home. As much as I love Pottery Barn and the like, I know my home's unique character is from the found and handed-down items that make it my own. It takes more time to get to these places, as well as time and patience to find pieces that speak to you. It's so worth the hunt though and can be fun finding cool stuff. Chances are the things you find will be items you love for a lifetime. It's much better use of your money than more clothes  in your closet, not to mention greener!

Nike Flyknits

9. Shoes. Go for something that you can use throughout the year. My better shoes have lasted years. With warmer weather coming a good pair of loafers may be a shoe you can wear the longest part of the year.  I also always love a cute pair Converse or sneakers and they will make everything look fresh if you don't already own a pair. How cute are these dotted Chucks from Nordys? Then there are so many new pretty Nike's out too now. I wouldn't mind wearing these pink knit ones all day.

Pear from A Perfect Color Etsy Shop

10. A piece of original art. Check out Etsy for one of a kind pieces like this pear I love from the  APerfect Color Shop. Wouldn't this be a great focus piece for a kitchen gallery wall? Art is fun to collect and becomes a family heirloom over time as well as an investment. This is also a good time to get that print from your travels framed or have a favorite vacation photograph enlarged. It's the uniquely yours items that are worth spending the time and money to get preserved and displayed. Don't let them languish in a closet!

11. Your favorite charity. We all have our personal causes and concerns, but how often do we send some of our own cash to a favorite cause? Personally, two of my favorites are the Natural Resources Defense Council, which works to protect wildlife and the environment and Oxfam, which works all over the world the prevent poverty and injustice. If we all gave just a portion of our spending money, say just $25 or $50, to a charity or foundation we believe in, we could all make a difference

I hope this gives you a few out of the box ideas for your holiday cash wisely. I'd love to hear your thoughts on what you consider a worth spending on. Do you plan to save or spend this year? I think a lot of us are saving and being more wise with our dollars.

Wishing you all a fun and safe New Year!

You've filled my year with your wonderful notes and visits and I am most grateful and appreciative!

See you in 2014 friends!



  1. Kim dear-this is such an excellent post on how to spend those resources. I agree with your sentiments exactly and have been trying to purchase more of what I need than just feel like at the moment. You are so right-spending on silk, cashmere, a great coffeemaker, a silky robe, a comfy throw-all things that make the creature comforts better. I love it! As you know we are still in SoCal. Yes, you would definitely enjoy the interiors at the Viceroy by Kelly Wearstler. I'm sure it's on your list. ;) It's been so much fun getting to know you through the blog and on our little city getaway this year Kim-you are a doll. Wishing you and yours a fab new year.
    xx, Heath

    1. Thanks Heather! I'd love to get to the Viceroy one day! Can't wait to read all about it!
      Happy New Year !! xx

  2. A lovely and thoughtful list! And I love your ideas Kim.

    1. Thanks dear Annie! Wishing you and your crew much happiness in 2014! xo

  3. Gee, I didn't get any cash! But I am definitely looking for a good wool coat to splurge on! Great ideas, as always, Kimi!

  4. Happy new year Kim!

    Really like this post as you have really thought it out and I do agree.
    I tend to regret clothes purchases but for some reason never regret a purchase for the home. It's weird because I think some prefer adornment on one self and I prefer adornment in the home because part of it is because I don't think people can wear the same things over and over again. But I also have a few charities I try and stick with and have researched they don't waste so much money or admin etc But one thing I find is that a lot of women don't seem to spend much money on art but think nothing of spending a few hundred on boots etc...

    Great post Kim xx

  5. Fantastic ideas Kim - I bought a Fleurette Loro Piana navy cashmere coat from Ebay from some of my Christmas bonus (the coat was in my watch list and one day it popped up as 60% off!) so I snapped it up and I am waiting for it to arrive. I agree about house decor and furniture elevating rooms - we have bought a few new cool things. Hubs and I finished decorating our guest bedroom as we are hosting guests over New Years, we used one of our Joshua Tree trip photos enlarged on canvas to put on the wall, it looks great. (I'll do a post on that soon). It wasn't expensive to have it done at Walmart.

    Hope you had a lovely Christmas (thank you so much for your Christmas wishes) and all the best for 2014 - looking forward to seeing what adventures lie ahead!

  6. Kim such a good list from such a young thing...I only wish I were as wise as you at that age...ahhhh the mistakes I made...

  7. This is a great post, Kim. Really good. I have met and interviewed Jennifer, the author of the Cookbook. She's good friends with someone I know here. She made us lunch.

  8. I just loved this post! While I did not receive any gift cards whatsoever, I always take this time to clean house, and rethink my needs, finances, and priorities. Wishing you and yours a wonderful 2014!

  9. These are such great ideas and I love the idea of buying something for the home because you're so right about getting sick of clothes after just a month. Also, I love the idea about the coat too - plus they're all on sale now that spring is rolling into stores. Hope you had a great xmas!


  10. This is a great list! I always donate to charity this time of year. There are so many worthwhile ones that need our support. I love that Furla bag! So funny, you must have seen my teapot. I just upgraded it this December. Yes it had chips on it and I have no idea what took me so long:-). Wishing you a fabulous New Year and hoping we can get together. xoJennifer

  11. You had me at donuts my friend! They are my absolute fave sweet treat. Yes isn't it amaazing we are actually getting some use out of a coat this year? Happy New year's to you!

  12. Such a good idea for a post, Kim. I was delighted to receive some gorgeous gifts and Christmas money too this year. It's always fun to spend someone else's money! Your suggestions are all great and I'm on the look-out for a camel coat. I've just bought new trainers and fitness wear which as you say will be used throughout the year and will encourage me to keep going to my classes!