Budgets, Shopping, Sanity…..OH MY!
Well Mamas, it’s here. It’s that wonderful time of the year when life becomes a whirlwind of winter recitals, weekend gift shopping and holiday parties. Want to know how to survive this holiday season without losing your mind or blowing your budget into oblivion? Fear not, Sassy Mamas. We’re here to get you through the holidays with tips that will help you win major holiday points, all while maintaining your sanity and savings.
It seems like just days ago your two-year-old was refusing to go trick-or-treating or wear that adorable, non-returnable Halloween costume you got him. Thanksgiving barely slipped by, and we’re already being bombarded with commercials and ads about the coolest new toys your kids don’t need– including the same Puppy Surprise toy that you begged for 30 years ago. The list of people you want to buy things for is already seemingly endless. Gift cards for teachers and coaches, cash for the mail carrier, books and games for nieces and nephews, and of course your kids want it all. How is a mom supposed to manage?
Stress-Free Shopping Tips
- Make a list, check it twice. There’s nothing worse than thinking you’re done with holiday shopping and realizing you’ve forgotten someone. Make a list of the people you need to buy for and double-check with your spouse or significant other to make sure no one has been left off. Also talk about who can be removed from the list and do some paring down.
- Make another list. If there are more people you really want to share some holiday cheer with, create a second list of people to send cards to. Often, our extended family, friends and neighbors are quite happy just to know that we’ve thought of them. A card is a perfect way to send your love this season.
- Create a budget ahead of time. And STICK TO IT! Decide what your overall budget will be. From there, decide how much you will spend on each person on your list. It can be hard to stay within budget with all the sales, deals and shopper’s high, but make your very best effort to stick to your pre-determined spending limits.
- Skip the malls. Shop online if you can. There are plenty of perks for shopping online like free shipping, no lines and no two-mile-per-hour shopper stalking for parking spaces.
- Leave the kids at home. If you must go out to shop, do yourself a favor and ask a friend to sit. Save the extra thirty bucks you’d be spending on soft pretzels, ice cream and gumball machines to keep the kids distracted, and repay your friend by watching her kids so she can shop too.
Budget-Friendly Gift Ideas
- Home made gifts. Corny? Yeah. Cheesy? Sure. Totally adorable? Absolutely. If done right, you and your kids can create lovely gifts using a few simple materials, a little extra effort, and a lot of love. Check out our Holiday Inspiration board on Pinterest for DIY ideas that make perfect token gifts.
- Holiday Cards. These are affordable and easy to make. There are lots of sites you can use to make creative, personalized cards with pictures like Walgreens and Shutterfly (and both have apps you can use to create cards). Best part? The cards can be shipped to your home.
- Family Gift Exchange/Secret Santa. Consult with your family about a spending limit and allow everyone (including the little ones) to buy a gift for one other person. This way, everyone gets a gift, no one feels obligated to overspend and you don’t have to buy gifts for everyone. This option is great for relieving the pressure of buying expensive gifts and keeping you from worrying how much others have spent on you and your kids.
- The 4 Gift Method. This idea has become popular in recent years, and for good reason. Cut costs and unnecessary clutter this year by buying your kids:
- Something they want
- Something they need
- Something to wear
- Something to read
It’s that simple. A special gift, a necessity, a clothing item and a book. This method is a great way to help kids refocus on the important things in life, like love and family, instead of all the stuff they can collect.
Focus on What’s Important
As you shop, cook, and celebrate, remember what the holidays are really about. The most important part of the holidays is spending time with family and friends, and being grateful for our many blessings. Our love is the greatest gift we can give.
Have ideas on how to manage budgets or save during the holidays? Tell us! Visit our Holiday Season community board to share and see what other moms are up to this holiday season.
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