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How do you do Christmas, without breaking the bank?

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How do you do Christmas, without breaking the bank?

Postby Jordan's Mommy on Thu Nov 24, 2011 3:20 pm

How do you "do" Christmas?
Do you shop all year? Grab things when you see a good deal?
Do you save all year and have an actual budget at Christmas time?
Do you scramble last minute and do all your shopping a week before?
Do you spend way more than you should?
Do you hand make every last thing?

We are a family of 6 this Christmas with another on the way.
I'm looking for tips on how to keep Christmas affordable. I "think" I've got it under control...but there's got to be some awesome "thing" that I'm not doing. A sweet "trick" I haven't thought of.

I find my gifts:
-on sale (I rarely pay full price for anything)
-on usedvic (I have no problem gifting used items)
-at the pearks kid's sale
-some home made (although along with money, time is tight)

What do you do?

I'm finding stockings particularly annoying this year. I have 4 boy's stockings to fill. 2, 5, 7 and 14 years. I have lots of great ideas of what to put in them...but all I see is dollar signs!! I hate spending money on plastic crap toys that are going to end up in the giveaway pile in a month.
I've heard the idea of getting large stuffers to take up lots of room, but I also want to make stockings last a little while. Christmas is only one day a year, there aren't a ton of gifts under the tree...I don't want gift opening to be over in an hour...
Maybe I should just use a whole lot of tape. Lol

Looking forward to your tips!!
Merry Christmas!
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Re: How do you do Christmas, without breaking the bank?

Postby ashmel on Thu Nov 24, 2011 3:38 pm

In the past I've planned on hand made gifts, run out of time, last minute shopped, then put it on credit. It hasn't worked that well for me.

This year we have been VERY fortunate that my husband has been getting overtime so we've been working on paying down credit, and I also started Christmas shopping in September. Shopping earlier allows me time in December to do whatever baking/ handmade gifts I'd like. It's like giving a gift to myself! I still plan on going to the malls in December because I love the atmosphere, but I won't have to worry about being rushed, I can just enjoy myself. :)

Next year (starting in January), I will be putting aside some money (what I think we'll need, plus a bit extra, including gifts and food) from each paycheck. This way, when Christmas comes we'll have enough put aside, and also, if we see something earlier in the year we think would be good we can get it without worrying about the rest of the budget that month. I'm excited!
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Re: How do you do Christmas, without breaking the bank?

Postby rosamond on Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:42 pm

In my family adults don't exchange gifts or fill stockings (instead we spend time together, go to a movie, etc). It has been like that for years and it saves A LOT of money. For the kids in the family I shop sales starting in September.

I also do a lot of baking as gifts for daycare providers, landlord, etc.
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Re: How do you do Christmas, without breaking the bank?

Postby midnightly on Thu Nov 24, 2011 6:36 pm

i start in the summer and i give myself deadlines for example.. my inlaws were in town last month and instead of paying $$ to ship items i had christmas shopped and wrapped and sent with them (i wrap it all up and put it into a reusable bag) my mom was in town this past week so that was my deadline for their stuff, it also helps prevent over-shop :lol: usually around the september time i start really thinking since it's also birthday season.. (hubby sept, toodles november, me december) so gifts are somewhat on my mind
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Re: How do you do Christmas, without breaking the bank?

Postby brymommy on Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:15 pm

Hmmm I would like to shop all year and/or save a bit of money every month but it never seems to work out...

I *try* and give myself a goal of having all gifts (except the kids and DH) done by Dec 1st. Often I am done the kids by then too but I always find stuff after that time that I hate to pass up :lol:

I use SwagBucks ( http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/bethmadison ) to make "free" money. Basically you sign up (if you sign up under the link, I'll get a few free bucks ;-) ) and do all of your searches through the Swagbucks engine (you can get a search bar that makes it easier) and randomly they will give you "SwagBucks" as you search. You get as little as one SB for the daily polls and up for regular searches. On a good day you can average over 100... 450SB can get you a $5 Amazon.ca gift card (they have other places and items but that is the best deal). It's legit, easy, simple, no "catch" and fairly addicting (especially when they have MEGA swagbucks days or super code days :lol: ).

The year I have earned enough for $45 in Amazon.ca gift cards... seriously free money! And so I'm bying three different people's gifts from that.

Also the kids are still younger so we try and stick to the 4 gift route

Something they want
Something they need
Something to wear (or play with)
Something to read

And then a stocking on top of it...

As for stockings... I put in things that I would usually spend regular money on anyways. Toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, underwear, hair stuff, a book, some favorite candy, an ornament, craft stuff, cd, movie...

I believe stockings should be filled with lots of *good* stuff and not cheap stuff but I don't think it all has to be fun... Growing up stockings were usually filled with all those little things we needed/wanted but were the most excited to get...
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Re: How do you do Christmas, without breaking the bank?

Postby kapoohhh on Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:48 pm

We only exchange in the house and with parents. Siblings we will give a family picture and such to.

My kids I buy Some second hand, some new. I have a budget of what I will spend... Just over $100.
Stockings are always things that they will use.... so that is extra. Like toothpaste and toothbrush. Socks underwear. and food ( chocolate) a toy of some sort. maybe a book or my daughter would be nailpolish or along that line.
Husband and I we usually buy something for the house or something small under $20. We just do not need anything.

Christmas to me is not about gifts it is about getting together and enjoying each other.... so many people I know go in so much debt and then complain about it after and I hear about it... :-( and they keep doing it year after year.
Set a budget and stick with it. Good Luck.
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Re: How do you do Christmas, without breaking the bank?

Postby Benjorsam on Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:58 pm

I would love to shop all year long but I just don't think about it. I'm also afraid that I'll find something the kids want in Feburary but by December they'll have changed their mind. Our kids get two presents, one from the parents and one from Santa. Stocking stuff just look for when I'm shopping for other stuff. So far for their stockings I've gotten Lego Mini Figurines, Hex Bug Nano, Jones Soda candy, an angry birds stuffy, and some cool erasers. They probably won't get too much more in their stockings. Maybe a little bit of chocolate. They usually get about $150 each from various relatives of which they are allowed to spend half and the other half goes in the bank. Dh and I don't exchange gifts with each other nor do we buy for any relatives. We just can't afford it. The kids seem happy with what they get and can usually buy whatever they wanted but didn't get with their Christmas money.




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Re: How do you do Christmas, without breaking the bank?

Postby gill846 on Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:52 pm

Oh man, I WISH I had just a family of 6!!! We have us and the two kids, my parents, my brother and his gf, my husband's brother, sister, mom and dad, my aunt & uncle, and 5 nieces and nephews. We don't give gifts to the adults who have children, but the childless adults still give stuff to our kids, so we give them stuff... cost aside, it can be exhausting! And then the flipside is that with all these people giving them presents, a lot of times they end up with all kinds of stuff that they never play with/use.

One thing I do for the adults (the childless ones) is that I have a President's choice Mastercard and all year long I put EVERYTHING on the credit card. By December, I have enough PC points to buy a bunch of gift card at Superstore. That helps a ton!

As for stockings, I put some cool stuff in, but then I bulk them up with stuff they need anyway (socks and underwear, pencils, erasers, glue sticks, batteries). And second hand toys/books etc are okay too--you can get old Archie comics at Value Village for 99 cents.
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Re: How do you do Christmas, without breaking the bank?

Postby OnceHarmony on Thu Nov 24, 2011 9:59 pm

I buy for DH and DD and that's it.

Our parents get one of DD's school photos (unframed this year as shipping will be cheaper and they can pick out a frame that they like that goes with their decor).

If our siblings get anything it is a phone call on Christmas day. They are adults. What the heck do we get them that they don't already have or can get themselves.

I don't want anything from anyone except DD and DH. I really don't need anything and don't just want stuff bought quickly. This year I've asked DH for towels.

I've bought DD a few things already including a board game and a puzzle. They were both $1.95 each at the WIN store. Just tonight I bought DD two more puzzles at Value Village for 99 cents each. She'll love them.

Don't discount thrift stores for things. Not everything has to be bought new to be loved.
It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to - J.R.R. Tolkien
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Re: How do you do Christmas, without breaking the bank?

Postby ILoveYouZTANDK on Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:40 pm

This year I went and bought a bunch of stuff at a very rough time (husband switching jobs, pay loss, vehicle repairs, just after our sons birthday party)... And now we're suffering for it a bit haha.

SO, next year. I will grab things I find on sale that I would like for the boys and I will stash them in the closet. If I'm going to spend the money because I want my son's to have the items, then I might as well make a real reason of it.
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Re: How do you do Christmas, without breaking the bank?

Postby midnightly on Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:03 am

i agree with not buying say.. toys in Feb for the following christmas because tastes do change and 10 months is a LONG way off when it comes to what a child plays with (but that doesn't mean you can't buy for a birthday if they have a birthday coming up in the next few months) but for adults it's a little different.. plus the perks of buying off season clothing at a great deal
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Re: How do you do Christmas, without breaking the bank?

Postby Beccak on Fri Nov 25, 2011 6:55 am

We try our very, very best to live on the jar system. A couple of years ago we added a Christmas jar. We put $20/wk into that jar. This year EVERY single gift will be paid for from that jar. Its been great! I am so excited because I have 2 gifts left to buy and those WILL be done before the end of the month.
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Re: How do you do Christmas, without breaking the bank?

Postby Elisitas Photography on Fri Nov 25, 2011 8:32 am

"Life should not be measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away."
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Re: How do you do Christmas, without breaking the bank?

Postby Benjorsam on Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:32 am





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Re: How do you do Christmas, without breaking the bank?

Postby Shereen on Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:23 am

A friend of mine is doing something this year, and I love her idea.
She had her kids make a wish list with the following:

3 gifts that cost money,
3 gifts that disappear (like chocolate, etc.),
and 3 gifts that don't cost money (like a family board game night, a week off of a certain chore, etc.)
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