The Holiday season is stressful and expensive. I have learned over the years that if you plan accordingly it can be less stressful and less expensive. I want to share with you my tips and tricks on how we manage our time and money Christmas shopping.
Our biggest saver, my husband and I do not exchange gifts! Shocker right? Christmas is for our kids and family. We like to celebrate our “Christmas” on Valentines Day. We get to splurge on each other and are usually caught up from our holiday spending. If you ever watched Parks and Rec it’s like our “Treat Yo Self” Day. Yes we miss out on all the great sales but we have a day we exchange gifts and line up a babysitter so we can spend some quality time together.
The kids are the ones that burn a hole in our bank account BUT we have a money saving way of dealing with it. All my kids get 1 big gift and depending on the gift I add additional gifts up to 5 so it evens out . My middle son has a birthday in October and after his birthday I plan Christmas. This year we scrolled the Amazon and I made a list for each of my littles. I ask them what is the 1 thing they want from Santa. Adan wanted a $60 lego set and Alix wanted a $35 Power Rangers Sabertooth Tiger (she has been asking for months) From there I had them scroll with me through Amazon on items I knew they would like and were budget friendly. On the list they each have about 6 items that add up too about $100 each kid. So to make it easy, every week I order 2 items from their list and watch for the price drop as an added saver and bonus. I also look for deals on freestufffinder.com to see if the items they chose or something comparable and order away. Now my teenager is expensive and he knows it. So typically he will ask us for 1 gift ranging from $200-$300 . I add additional small gifts but only necessities that I find deals on freestufffinder.com examples are underwear, socks, new sheets and he is always grateful because he always needs them.
Anthony’s family hosts a Christmas Eve party. We are required to do a homemade family gift exchange per household and each child under 18 gets a gift. You can craft or you can bake something to participate, there are 13 families total. It is time consuming but saves so much money. If you plan right you can plan a year ahead and do a craft per month but this is where I lack in planning. I usually plan the month of hahaha BUT I do get amazing deals on craft supplies and it really helps when you have a cricut machine hehehe.
For the 18u kids on my list again I usefreestufffinder.com to score great deals or go to my local Marshalls or Ross. I try to aim for a $10 sale price item that is regularly $30 (trick to making it seem like I’m doing a little splurging) When shopping I really think about what is practical and what would be appreciated. I have this mentality that anything I buy is an investment. If I settle for cheap it will end up in the trash and I wasted money so I strive to look for practical with a great deal. Some questions I ask myself when purchasing for others is “Will they use this?” “Will they enjoy this? “Can they learn from it?” Books and educational toys are my jam. The teenagers are a bit tricky I spend a little more but gift cards are always practical. If I am providing a free meal, knocking some dollars off those shoes, or creating a memory, that is a great investment to me.
The inlaws I typically like to get the siblings together to go in on 1 big gift OR I get them something practical that I know they buy all year long so that I save them an expense. They are a little hard to shop for because they have everything they want hahaha. Last year we did Omaha Steaks, another year we got them a gift card to their favorite Brazilian Steakhouse, for practical gift ideas I will buy my mother in law candles and my father in law sport team shirts or if his favorite team is coming to town some tickets to the game. If I get the siblings for 1 big gift we spend about $50 total or if we do individual gifts its about $50 per person.
On average we spend about $900 during the holidays for gifts and stocking stuffers. If you break it down we buy for 23 people and that is an average of $39 a person which is not at all a bad. Everyone is happy and grateful and that is all we aim for.