Time to get serious about my spending and tighten down the hatches. And maybe, just maybe, if I tell you all about this I will have to be more accountable for myself.
First of all:
DID YOU KNOW THAT WE ONLY HAVE 72 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS?!?!
If that wasn’t enough to inspire panic in my (and possibly your) heart, I have another problem. Until next spring, I have a $165 a month car payment. Add to that, a raise in car insurance of $50 a month. Yikes!!!
My monthly available income has been severely reduced. Not good when I have Paige’s birthday and Christmas coming. The good things in my favor is that Paige’s birthday shopping is done, the Christmas stockings for each kid is almost done (girls are done, Dane just needs a few more things), and I have started Christmas shopping.
I need to cut down the Christmas spending. Fortunately, I have gotten really good at this in the past years. First thing I realized was that my kids did not care if everything they got was brand new or used! I buy them all books as one of their presents. I usually get them from eBay and half.com for less than half the cost for very high quality used books. The same happens with DVDs and Wii games. I have also shopped eBay and Goodwill stores for brand new toys that are pennies on the dollar.
Second of all, I limit the presents they get on Christmas. Besides a full stocking, they usually only get four presents each from me/Santa. Granted, one of those presents might include 3-4 books, but I limit the gifts. I have never been about a big blow out Christmas and that sends the wrong message to kids. I also try to keep the cost to around $75 – $100 for each child. If I can get it under that I am even more thrilled!
Another idea for kids and the others on your Christmas list is handmade/homemade goods. I give a lot of cookie mix in jar and bread in jar gifts. These do not cost a lot to put together, but the thought that goes into them is great! Another great idea is make a plate of cookies, candies, a cake, or some bread to give to your neighbors, teachers, and fellow church people.
A great idea for older people is to make a basket of goods for them. Last year I made my Grandma Rene a basket that included a potato soup mix in a jar, homemade chicken and rice packets with small cans of chicken, cookie mix in a jar, and a box of assorted teas. She loved it! The best thing about this was I made everything single serving except the potato soup and gave instructions on how to make it. I will probably shake it up a bit this year, but do something similar.
One idea that has been popular is giving magazine subscriptions. If you shop around a bit or use sites such as magazines.com or valuemags.com you can save quite a bit on subscriptions. I like the idea that it is a gift that keeps on giving.
I am looking for some new ideas this year so I would welcome any suggestions anyone has! I have more ideas that I will post in future blog posts. I hope to help you save money at Christmas especially if you are like me and saw an increase in your monthly bills!
Thanks for reading and have a great day!