Hey y’all, Tiffany here.
I have a secret.
I love buying gifts for other people. In fact, I start shopping for Christmas gifts in July.
My secret wouldn’t be as big of a deal if it weren’t for the fact that I’m not also secretly a millionaire. If Phillip’s salary were perhaps 10x what he makes, then I could shop to my heart’s content! Like many of you, however, we do not have unlimited resources at our disposal.
Note: if you are one of the lucky few that DOES have an endless supply of money, please stop reading this post and go shopping!
This unfortunate dichotomy (which is a fancy word for “two opposite ideas”) means that I have to get creative if I want to continue indulging myself without Phillip taking away my credit cards.
Let me share with you a few tricks I’ve learned over the years that allow me to stretch my resources without breaking the bank.
Set Up a Gift Closet to Stay in Your Christmas Budget
If you’re anything like my husband, then sometimes special days have a funny way of sneaking up on you. (Of course, that would have absolutely nothing to do with your six-year-old darling angel giving you his classmate’s birthday party invitation the morning of!) Or, if you’re anything like, you notice toys and gifts all year long that you want to purchase but decide to wait until the holidays are closer (which always results in said gift now costing double the price).
This is where a gift closet comes in handy! As I go through each day, I keep an eye out for sales on items that I know my family members would love. When something does go on sale, I purchase it right then (who cares if Christmas is five months away?) and stick it on a shelf away from sticky little hands. This ensures that when the holidays come up, I’m not desperately scrambling on December 24th to find a Hatchimal somewhere within a 500 mile radius!
The gift closet also works perfectly when you find an amazing sale/clearance item that you know your kids will never use, but you want to buy it just to say you got 90% off! (This happens quite frequently in my Facebook group.) Just stick it in the gift closet and pull it out next time you need a present for a last-minute birthday party! (Or the embarrassing moment when someone gives you a Christmas gift and you forgot to get them something.)
Having a gift closet also ends up saving me several hundred dollars each year by never paying full-price on gifts for birthdays and other holidays!
Get Free Gift Cards to Stay in Your Christmas Budget
Using free gift cards is one of my favorite ways to pay for my shopping addition habit. (It’s not an addiction! I could stop any time I wanted!). In fact, this year for Christmas, my husband I have earned over $1,000 in free gift cards that we plan on using at Target, Walmart, etc. to pay for our holiday season!
Getting free gift cards is really not too difficult, and it requires very little effort on your part. GO HERE to see my list of all of the different methods we used to make this Christmas completely debt-free without going broke!
Since we don’t really do Santa, the gift cards themselves make great gifts for our kids as well. They love going to the store after the holidays (when prices are back to normal) and making their own purchases!
Looking for other ways to keep Christ in Christmas throughout December?
The last (and probably most important) way to have more money for shopping is to cut grocery costs with coupons! The average American household spends $301 per month on groceries, plus an additional $182 on eating out! That’s almost $500 per month, or $6,000 each year! Just imagine how much fun you could have at the mall with all of that money!
Now, I know what you all are thinking: that couponing takes too much time between clipping the Sunday papers, finding the deals in the sales ads, and going to grocery store. And you’d be right – IF we lived 25 years ago before a beautiful little thing called the internet was invented!
Nowadays, couponing consists of printing coupons from the internet, following deals websites that have already gone through the ads and matched sale prices with coupons, and zipping in and out of the grocery store (although you could always do grocery pickup from stores like Walmart and Kroger)!
I started using coupons about two years ago when a friend of mine got me hooked by showing me her receipt with 95% off her groceries! Now, I can’t say that I save that much every time I shop, but I usually get at least 70% off each week.
To help you learn how to coupon, you can go here.
If you don’t want to coupon
Now, if you really don’t think you have the time to coupon, you can still save money on groceries! I actually rarely coupon anymore.
Even without coupons, however, I’m still able to keep our grocery budget to just $42 per week for our family of four! And no, my kids don’t eat like birds. They each eat 2-3 PBJs for lunch every single day. Plus multiple snacks in between meals (of fruit and veggies), and they chow down at breakfast.
Before you think that it’s only my family that can do this, I recently taught a friend (who has two boys in elementary school and a husband with a large appetite) how to do this, and she cut her entire grocery budget by about 65% – she now only spends 1/3 of what she used to!
You Stay in Your Christmas Budget!
It is possible to stay in your Christmas budget, especially if you start saving now!
A similar version for this post written by Tiffany was originally posted on Ways of the Weavers
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