I officially kicked off my holiday shopping a few weeks ago. For the sake of keeping the gifts a surprise to those that will receive them, I thought I would just offer up a few tips on how you can save money this holiday season. And would love it if you would offer up some of your ideas on how you save money on gift giving, etc.
#1 Coupons - I use coupons for everything, not just groceries! Go to the websites of the stores you frequent and sign up for their e-mail alerts - they will almost always send you coupons! I always sign up for e-mails at the store when they ask you because the more you shop there, the better the coupons! Today I saved money at both Kohl's and Yankee Candle simply because I signed up for e-mail alerts.
#2 Buy on sale - I know, common sense right? Well, I didn't always buy things on sale and could KICK myself for that! And if you didn't already know this, buying on sale while using coupons - total money saver right there! While at Kohl's I bought my children toys that were on sale and used my coupons....$40 worth of toys for $5!
And speaking of on sale....someone I know wondered if it was bad to give their children stuff they had purchased from a garage sale. Personally I think that is completely fine, children don't know the difference and if they are happy and playing with it, isn't that all that matters? We gave our son a Rescue Heroes ship one Christmas that was given to us and it lasted through both of our children, daycare children, and was sold in a garage sale to MORE children.
#3 Outlets - We live close to an outlet mall and a few weeks ago a friend of mine and I went shopping there and there were deep discounts on so many things. I love Bath & Body products and will only buy those from the outlet, unless they are having a HUGE sale in the regular store. The body scrub that I love is $4.99 in the outlet store and it's normally $20 in the regular store. I go through their 99 cent bins and put things together for a gift basket or stocking stuffers. I think for Christmas I am going to put together little gifts of anti-bacterial items for all of the boys teachers. And while we were shopping, there was an offer to donate $1 to the Susan G. Koman foundation and get 25% off your purchase. So look for those offers that will save you a little bit and benefit a good cause.
#4 Make a list (and check it twice - ha!) - I have been listening to the boys talk about toys they would like lately and jotting them down. Randy and I set a budget for the holidays and we'll go through that list and see just what we can buy for that set amount. And I have a running list of everyone we are going to buy for and definitely make sure I put down on that list when I've purchased something for them! Nothing worse than losing track of your list and overbuying for someone!
We shop on Black Friday and with our list we go through the ads and see where we could get the best deal and we map out a game plan. I'm all about lists, planning, and organizing....you can maximize your budget if you a put a little extra time/effort into it.
#5 Use self-control - Noah has been saying lately that he wants a robe after his shower and while I could just run out and get one for him now, I have to stop myself and remember that it would make a great Christmas gift! We try our best not to spoil our kids with whatever they want, whenever they want......but I'm married to a big kid who can justify buying toys almost as good as I can justify buying shoes! ha! ha! But, we definitely try and buy them things they need throughout the year and then spoil them around the holidays!
#6 Don't forget the reason for the season - I think the best lesson around the holidays is to give more than you get. So volunteering is super important, we have the kids shop for us through a local organization that benefits families in crisis and all the proceeds go towards that, we bake lots and lots of treats to share with others, and we spend a lot of time talking about Jesus and his birthday. Giving your time is free and I think that is certainly the most budget friendly gift ever!
This certainly won't be my last post regarding the holidays.....I'm just gearing up! What are your plans for this season.....gift giving strategies, money saving ideas, recipes.