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

Traveling with a Large Family

Tips for Traveling with a Large Family from Talking Mom 2 Mom PodcastTraveling with a large family long distances can be daunting. Here are some tips from one mom who has done it a few times with 6 kids under 9 years old. Join Lindsey as she shares her tips for entertaining the kids, saving money when eating out, and making the most of the time you have together as a family.

Links:

Talking Mom2Mom 

Facebook 

MBFLP – Homeschooling Several Ages

MBFLP - Summer Cover
If you have more than one child, then chances are the decision to start homeschooling carries the question, “How can I teach more than one grade level at a time?” This episode, we talk about practical lessons we learned along the way of homeschooling six grades at once … with a toddler in the mix, too!

Teaching Multiple Grades at Home

Israel and Brook discuss tips and ideas for juggling homeschooling several grades at once. They offer ideas for using family-integrated studies, one-on-one teaching, and what to do with a slacker. If you are home educating your own children, you won’t want to miss this episode!

www.FamilyRenewal.org
FamilyRenewalPodcastShowPage

MBFLP – Questions and Answers

MBFLP QuestionsThis week Hal and Melanie answer your questions!

  • How do you handle the transition from sweet little boy to standoffish young man?
  • When’s a good time to start sports with a young boy?
  • What do you do when your sons persistently “don’t hear” your directions?
  • Do you have any ideas for an anniversary celebration for a couple with a large family and a small budget?

And more!