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Prepping for Christmas on a Budget

IMG_0864Christmas?! Yeah, I know. You just barely sent your kids back to school and it is no time to be thinking about Christmas, right? Wrong! If you want to spend a small fortune on gift giving for this mega-bucks holiday, do it during December. If you want to do it without breaking the bank, start early.

In my normal world, where I know I am not leaving the country before Christmas, I would be about done right now. We thought we might be leaving in the fall and planned to send gifts from our new home. Now we are leaving after Christmas and I am grasping at straws a bit. I can swing it though and if you haven't started your list yet, you can swing it with me.

IMG_0857One thing to take into consideration right off the bat is why we are giving. If you celebrate the commercial Christmas where Santa brings toys to all the children and we buy each other expensive stuff because it is good for the economy, go ahead and keep it up. If you are celebrating Christmas because of Christ this particular paragraph is for you. God gave us the gifts of love, grace, and eternal life through Jesus. We share gifts with each other to remind us of the gifts that God gave us. Keep that in mind as you go forward with your list. Your gifts should be thoughtful and meaningful to the one you are giving it to.

Now that you have taken a moment to sort out your gift giving mentality, lets hop into the frugal giving tips.
1. Nix the Budget!

What?! I know you are thinking I am going to go hog wild, but that is not what I mean. I receive gifts from people who spend a particular amount of money on me. I tend to get one or two thoughtful gifts from them and then a pile of stuff that was purchased to fulfill the budget. When we went through three years of purging our stuff, those things were the bulk of what we were getting rid of. It adds up over the years. It doesn't make that person feel special, just curious as to where they will put the new doodad.

 

2. What Price do You Count?

So you really want to spend a minimum amount? I know some of you feel obligated, I do too with some people. Stop looking at the price you paid for a gift and start looking at the value of it. We often find awesome sale/clearance prices or maybe even something for free. Instead of looking at what we actually paid we look at what the gift is actually worth. If I got a book for free but it normally costs $14.99, look at the $14.99 and give the gift that price mark.

 

3. Consumables Make Great Gifts!

Food, soaps, candles, they get used and then they are gone! The recipient enjoys your gift and it doesn't take up extra space in their home. Win, win!

 

4. Shopping for the Hardest Person.

Do not wait on this one! Always keep this person in the back of your mind. You might still get them a gift at the last minute, but at least you will not have missed an opportunity to get them something that shows you care.

 

5. Someone Wants Something Specific.

It never fails that someone has a gift request. If you want to give them the one thing they want begin looking for it on sale. Our son wanted a specific Lego set for Christmas this year. We found it on clearance at Shopko. Shopko, at least in our area, tends to have crazy stuff on clearance. You just never know what you will find there.

You have my best tips for getting your mentality in the right place. Now it is time to obtain some gifts. Here are some of the ways that I get gifts to give.
1. After Christmas Clearance

It is the best clearance of the entire year! Just remember not to buy things because they cost so little but because they would be perfect for the person you plan on giving it to. A couple extra things for impromptu gifts are ok, but let's not go crazy here.

 

2. Trading

In the past I have done many trades with fellow Etsy shop owners. You never know who will be up for a trade though. If you have a toy, movie, or whatever that you no longer need, there may be someone who is in the same situation and would like to make a trade with you.

 

3. Handmade

Cook, sew, or whittle your way to your next gift. The options for handmade gift giving are pretty much endless. Not only do you make something for less cost, you make something that is one of a kind and may become a beloved family heirloom, or get eaten and that's good too! Just make sure you give yourself enough time to get your projects done. Check out Pinterest for a plethora of DIY ideas.

 

4. Freebies

Yesterday I raved about Money Saving Mom. Last year I signed up for every freebie I could. I got k-cups, tea samples, makeup and more. These I was able to add to small gifts to basically make a little gift basket for people. This year I am doing book reviews for Blogging for Books and Tyndale Blogging Network. I receive a free book in exchange for doing an honest blog review. Some of those books are being gifted forward this Christmas. I share how much I like a book and now someone else will spread the word about it as well.

Do you have some great tips of your own for doing Christmas on a budget? I would love to hear them!

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