Budget-friendly Christmas?! Well, I started off my Mommy life doing Christmas big. You know, “Oh, isn’t’ that cute! I just have to get it for him!” Before I knew it, I ended up spending way more than I planned and set myself back way over budget. The cute plan is not a budget-friendly Christmas shopping plan, trust me.
So, I then tried to make a list, but I would get online to shop, and well, you know what happened. “The list” did not really save me money. Plus, shopping online can sometimes be more expensive. If you aren’t careful, you can pay for the convenience and not save any money.
This year, though, I got it down. I set up the five present rule and finished my shopping on Cyber Monday. All I have to do this year is enjoy Christmas with my family and wait for the big day to arrive! I think it lowered my stress about 10 times this holiday season!
So, what did I learn? Well, let me tell you.
How to have a budget-friendly Christmas
There are many ways to individualize a budget-friendly Christmas for your family. These are only a few that have helped our family have a more Christ-centered Christmas. The me, me, mes can get really old any time of year, but giving as much as you can even save money!
Set a five gift plan rule
Seriously, this works well. You make a list with 5 categories in mind for each kid (or adult):
Something they want.
Something they need.
Something they can wear.
Something they can read.
Something homemade you make for them.
If the gifts you find don’t fit into any of the categories, one time, then they probably don’t need it. One thing I have really pushed with my children is that Christmas isn’t just about their getting presents. This allows us as parents to not give in to every whim, and focus on the real reason for Christmas—Jesus.
Choose inexpensive stocking stuffers
Stocking stuffers can kill your budget fast. But, I remember when growing up that we would frequently receive nuts (the kids you have to crack) and oranges, along with a few toys. Funny, but I don’t remember anything else I received in my stocking!
You can start early with art supplies, dollar items or things like homemade coupons. You can even use candy, nuts or fruit work well as stocking fillers!
Shop without children
I know this can pose a problem for some. I am a single mom of a special needs son, and going to the store can already be a landmine of problems, without Christmas! So, I suffice to say that if you can’t get a sitter, shop online, even late at night. That way, you can take your time and choose your gifts wisely.
I don’t know how many times I have shopped with my kids and ended up with a discipline problem, the wrong item, or something else someone had to have and could not say no to…
Sign up for email lists of toy companies
Disney is a perfect example for this. I did this for my son’s birthday. I waited until Disney had a sale on a large plush Mickey Mouse. The mailer came in just a few weeks before his birthday and I bought it. Last year, I bought a couple of other toys this way. If you like Walmart or Target (although I am boycotting them this year for safety reasons), get on their email lists for great deals and bargains. Most companies also like to send out email sales for early Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargains. This will help you save tons of money.
Look for free or inexpensive family activities
Instead of spending a bunch of money on going to the movies, rent or stream a movie. Make your own popcorn or hot chocolate. Cozy up as a family and enjoy the time well-spent together.
Drive around to look at Christmas lights. Or, make it a family project to put your own. Luminarias are easy inexpensive projects. All it takes is lunch bags, tea light candles and sand or dirt. You can purchase the materials at the dollar store.
Make homemade gifts
Another thing that has become a family activity for us is the making of homemade gifts and delivering them to recipients. This falls right in the gifts of your family, whether it is baking, jar gifts, or crafty ideas. Anything with personal effort goes a long way.
Even encouraging the children to make homemade pictures or cards for other warms hearts. The children learn how to give love, and get to see the appreciation of their work. I always buy plenty of stickers, paint, glue and paper at the dollar store!
Plan for disasters and illness
You know this as a mom, but does it help for me to tell you to plan for it during the holidays? In all the wonder and excitement of the season, we forget to plan for illness, death, accidents or weather disasters. We can’t plan everything, but stock up on cold and flu meds and natural remedies, have plenty of batteries and hot drink mixes or tea. You just never know, and yes, it always happens at Christmas. It seems to just be part of the season sometimes!
It IS possible to have a budget-friendly Christmas! Plan as much as you can ahead of time, spend as little as possible, and give as much as you can away! Always love and you will have the best Christmas ever!