A Frugal Christmas Guide
It’s Christmastime again! This is the time of year where we shower our loved ones with gifts and hope we have made their Christmas wishes come true! Or, if you’re like most families today, it’s the time of year to spend way more money than you budgeted, and later ask yourself how that happened.
I am telling myself this year will be different. I actually plan on saving money this Christmas!
Every year I ask my 5 kids for a Christmas list. I’m noticing as they get older, their lists become shorter. Most of the time, the one thing they really want costs way more than I want to spend.
I usually find a way to make the big gift happen though, even if that means spending more than my original Christmas budget. Because I’m weak.
Old Habits Are Hard to Break
I have fallen into the unfortunate mindset that quantity is more important than quality. I tend to waste money on random gifts just so the kids will have more to open on Christmas morning.
And as you can imagine, those random gifts end up tucked away in a closet, never to be seen again. My 16-year-old daughter actually has gifts still in the packages from last Christmas!
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I told my husband, Tim, that this year is going to be different.
I refuse to spend money on gifts for the sole purpose of giving them something to open on Christmas morning.
The Magic Of Giving
My kids are getting older, and I really want them to start focusing on the giving aspect of Christmas rather than the getting.
Very rarely have they picked out Christmas gifts for people in their lives. Usually, I will pick up a cute gift for their teachers and best friends, and they get all the credit!
I’m not sure they really grasp the concept of gift-giving. They are always on the receiving end, and I really think this has a huge impact on holidays as they get older.
I want them to realize how much thought should go into those gifts under the tree. I also want them to get an idea of what it means to have a budget to stick to.
So, we’re trying out a new tactic this year.
The Plan: Saving Money This Christmas
My plan for this year is to give each kid money and have them buy gifts for all of their siblings. I know, this sounds like the opposite of saving money, since there are so many of them.
But the trick is that they have a budget of only $5 per person. So each kid will get $20 to buy gifts for their four siblings.
I’m not letting them get away with just giving each other the cash either, which several of them have already tried. (I wish you could see me rolling my eyes.)
By doing Christmas this way, Tim and I can focus on a “big” gift for each of them, and they will still have several gifts to open under the tree Christmas morning.
I’m hoping that the tight budget will help them to put a lot of thought into what their siblings would appreciate that won’t cost a fortune.
How They Will Pull It Off
There are several options the kids will have for picking out the perfect gift for only five dollars. We are lucky enough to have a Five Below in town.
Everything in the store is, you guessed it, $5 or less. I love this store because the products sold there aren’t cheaply made, and they always have a lot of variety!
There is a huge selection to choose from, so they will have to actually take into consideration what gifts their siblings would appreciate the most.
Dollar Tree is another place the kids will be able to find low-cost gifts for each other. With their selection, it’s hard to leave the store without finding at least a few gifts!
The kids know that Tim and I do most of our shopping at thrift stores and antique malls. Buying Secondhand is not off the table for Christmas! There are tons of cute vintage T-Shirts and toys at thrift stores!
I’ve hinted that their gifts don’t necessarily have to be long-lasting, they would all love to receive their favorite snacks as gifts!
My ten year old would be absolutely thrilled to open up a few boxes of Little Debbie snack cakes on Christmas morning.
(That’s one my tricks for keeping birthday costs down also. Shower them with their favorite snacks!)
Other Ways of Saving Money This Christmas
Another way we plan on saving money this Christmas is by combining gifts. Since two of my boys are just a couple of years apart, their interests are pretty much the same.
They will be getting a shared “big” gift again this year.
Last year they received an X Box One to share, and luckily I don’t think that will ever get old for them.
(I got super lucky and Tim used his connections from Izzy’s Comics and Collectibles to work a trade so I didn’t have to spend any money on the X-box! Having a husband who works in the comic book industry definitely has its perks!)
I will also be saving money by not going overboard on stocking stuffers. I’m going to take a page out of my mom’s book and fill their stockings with candy and fruit, no actual gifts.
I am always shocked at how much I end up spending on stocking stuffers! Not this year!
How Are you Saving Money This Christmas?
Now that you know how I plan on saving money this Christmas, I’d love to hear what ideas you have! Leave a comment below to share!
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