Five Ways to Optimize Your Christmas Budget – MBFLP 217

Five (no, more) ways to make the most of your Christmas budget!

 

Whether the economy is strong or struggling, the traditional Christmas gift-buying rush is a major expense. When you’ve got a big family like ours, that only accentuates it! This week, we’re talking about ways we’ve learned to make your Christmas budget go a long way, even with lot of kids and a little bit of money.

Big Family, Small Budget

We have a big family – eight children, and now they’re getting married and bringing new family and grandkids into the mix. So a long time ago, we had to figure out how to budget for a fun Christmas that didn’t bankrupt the whole operation!

We’ve found several concepts that have helped us make the most of our Christmas shopping. Let’s talk about the kids first.

Shopping for the Children

  1. Look for presents which are both educational and fun. There are more than you think!
  2. Find gifts that encourage interaction. Multi-player games can entertain more people than single-player varieties.
  3. Choose gifts that are appropriate for multiple ages. Remember you can team older and younger players together so different ages can have a chance at games. Sometimes you can even give a larger gift for multiple children to share.
  4. Look for creative and constructive gifts. Art supplies, craft kits (see below!), construction toys, model kits, and tools are great ideas. For school-aged kids, we found it was better to buy inexpensive but real tools and supplies rather than the toy varieties that aren’t really useful.
  5. Seek out gifts of lasting value. Toys and games which have been popular for a long time, classic books (for children as well as older readers), clothing that won’t go out of style – these won’t fall out of fashion!

What About Each Other?

Smart gift shopping when there's lots of kids and not lots of money

  1. Be sure you’re in agreement about shopping – like how much to spend on each other. Be honest … and don’t cheat.
  2. Know your mate’s preferences – practical or whimsical, surprise or planned gifts. The only right answer is the one that makes your mate happy.
  3. Don’t overlook experiences, services, or pre-owned treasures. We’ve done all of these at different times.
  4. Old Christmas is an option. Christmas used to be celebrated on January 6, and some people still observe “the twelve days of Christmas.” When we were newlyweds, we exchanged gifts on Old Christmas – after taking advantage of the year-end clearance sales! Mom and Dad might agree to do this for each other, even while sharing the usual December 25 event with the children.

Pro Tip

Family Gift List – A few years ago, we started a family gift list on Google Docs. We try to keep this updated all year long, with options divided by price range – free things, $5 gifts, $20 gifts, more expensive gifts. This has been a big help as our kids reach for adulthood and have more specific interests and needs. It’s also helpful for birthdays, Valentine’s, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, and anniversary presents!

REFERENCES

RESOURCES

What I Think Your Preschooler Really Needs for Christmas

What I Think Your Preschooler Really Needs for ChristmasOn today’s show I talked about Christmas presents for young learners. Well-meaning adults often focus on the amount of presents under the tree, but this year I want to encourage them (and you) to focus on quality toys and presents instead.

  • Quality Wooden Blocks – I mention Constructive Playthings on the show and they have great products. Honestly, my favorite are Community Playthings and their website is www.communityplaythings.com Sooo worth the money!
  • Books – Good books are a must! For little ones, focus on board books with beautiful (real, when possible) pictures. Rhyming books, silly books, read –alouds are great for children, as they get a little older. Check out this link…http://time.com/100-best-childrens-books/
  • Kits – Create different kits for a great present that will keep your kids engaged. You can decorate plastic containers with lids for easy storage and cute presentation.

Exploration Kit- Nature journal (blank notebook), bird / flower books, pencils, magnifying glass, collection containers, tweezers for collecting bugs and such.

Art Kit- Check out www.discountschoolsupply.com and www.lakeshore.com for quality art products for kids. Paper (large and small sizes), blank canvas’, pencils, paint, brushes, stickers, collage materials, and glue are all great in an art kit.

Bath Kit- Shaving cream, brushes, scrubbers, soaps, squirt toys, and even a new tootbrush.

Baby Doll Kit – baby dolls, blankets, small bucket for bathing, baby wash cloths, baby soap, bottles.

Sensory Kit- slime materials (glue and liquid starch, waterbeads, play-doh ingredients, textured items)

  • Grocery Store and such  www.ana-white.com has a great plan for a grocery store/flower shop/post office/puppet stage… If you are not a woodworker, fill a small grocery cart with a cash register, a receipt pad, and some empty food boxes. My kids loved this cash register and it can be found from a variety of retailers.

  • Tent / Space for One – Creating a cozy space for one in your home is of benefit to you and your child. Many retailers have tents that can be purchased. Also include some cozy pillows, a few books, and maybe a small container of manipulatives or even a simple memory game.
  • Playhouse – Try and find something general enough that children can pretend with people or animals. Check out this treehouse dollhouse from www.landofnod.com.

Also, we’ve been having fun playing but I want to do more read alouds. The only thing is that my youngest is just too noisy. Is that something about discipline or just age? Should I do read alouds when he’s asleep?

  1. Amanda asked, “ Do you, and if so HOW do you find time for yourself to avoid burnout? I feel like I can keep it together for a couple of weeks – getting up early to get a jump on the day, spending much needed time with the Lord, being patient and sweet with the kids (LOL!), saying yes and playing skillfully, keeping up with laundry and cleanup, cooking meals… by 3rd week I start feeling spent and the laundry starts slipping, I’m inclined to order dinner out every night and my best-laid school plans fall behind. Do you have a strategy for self-refreshment?

I loved answering all of these questions on the show. If you have questions for me, submit them via FB or instagram (The Real Kathy Lee) or message me through the website.

Find a way to #sayyes today.

 


Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!


We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor Sony and their new movie, The Star, the Story of the First Christmas – Coming in Theaters November 17th!

Visit TheStarMovie.com to learn more.


FW Radio – Inexpensive Christmas Presents Your Peeps Will Love

Inexpensive Presents Your Peeps Will Love

An interview with Katie Beth Curtis, Maria Husarenko, Phoebe Nolette, and Shine Curtis.

If your like most teens, you’re working hard at school and chores, not at earning loads of money for gifts, but you still want to show your loved ones that you care. We talk to the Finish Well Team about great gifts you can give when your gift budget is tiny. After you listen to this show, find our gift to you, a small e-book with inexpensive gift ideas and instructions, at PowerlineProd.com.

Read more about the Finish Well Team at:

Finishwellcon.com
Joyfulandsuccessfulhomeschooling.com
Powerlineprod.com