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Christmas in September?
To save money of course!
I feel the need to say this first off… Christmas is not an emergency.
You know it’s coming… It comes every year on December 25th.
That never changes! Save what you need to save.
I know emergencies do come up, save those cards for the unexpected.
So stay away from putting gifts on credit cards!
There is literally no need!
So… with that said
Let’s get into how this stay-at-home-mom who works just every other weekend affords Christmas with the strict budget that I have.
Since having Alexis and working as little as I do, I have changed my habit of shopping at the last minute for Christmas.
Last year I started Christmas shopping in June! (Whattt?!)
How does this help save money?
Well for me it helps me split up my paychecks as well as make sure I am getting the best deal.
It gives me time to shop for the best price or wait for a better one if I’m sure I can get it cheaper.
Last year I had a list of stuff I wanted to get for her (and her sister) so I set out to get as much of it before December as I could.
I was determined to make Alexis’ second Christmas bigger and better than the first because she was older and able to play with more!
Back then, I was WAY into couponing, so I spent a lot of time in Target. I browsed their clearance regularly and found a lot of stuff, such as little dolls and little dress up character (dora, frozen, etc..) jewelry at super… super low prices. I’m talking $3 for a purse type thing with a full set of Dora stuff. Or $5 for a regularly priced $19 dress-up dress. (her half sister was/is into all the Princess stuff)
Excuse the ugly text overtop the stuff, I’m not quite sure what I was thinking, but this is what I posted on my Facebook and of course I have no clue where the original photo is. I’m sure I wasn’t thinking clearly as I posted that Santa didn’t get to come until after 1:30am because Alexis didn’t feel the need to go to bed…
What did all that cost?
↓ Here is a little overview of what I paid for some of the stuff and how I saved money ↓
(there will be a lot of guesstimating, because of course I don’t remember exactly what I paid)
The little doll beside the ‘S’ in “Santa” was purchased on clearance from Target for about $3 and the Despicable Me DVD on the table was ordered from a sale at Best Buy for $2!! I seriously can not tell you how many times I have watched that movie (with Alexis of course!) Best $2 I have ever spent! The Thomas the Train set (far left on the bottom) was on clearance for about $10 (and I had a Target Cartwheel coupon!) when it was regularly about $20-ish or more.
So shopping early gives you the opportunity to check out the clearance items.
Shopping early gives you the chance to check out a lot of sales and deals!
I keep my eye on things that I want to get for Alexis and if there is a good sale, then I jump on it!
For example, this year I had my eye on a kid tablet on Groupon.
On Labor Day, of course there are some sales and this tablet was one of them!!!
See how it’s $41.99 right now? It went on sale for $39.99 and they had an extra $10 off.
I got it for $29.99+tax = $32.01!
If you don’t have a Groupon account, you need one!
This is where I was able to get some of Alexis’ Thomas the Train DVD’s last year.
I paid I think $9 with free shipping for a whole set of Thomas DVD’s!
So head on over and sign up for Groupon here!
Black Friday Sales
I don’t do Black Friday sales really… It’s just too much for me. I’m not lining up someone to watch my child all night while I go fight people for a gift for my child or someone else right after I am saying how thankful I am on Thanksgiving.
I haven’t found any deals that I wanted that were that good to justify doing all that.
Granted on her first Christmas I did go, but it was right up the street from where I was at and it was Toys R Us. I knew what I wanted, we got there early-ish and it wasn’t too hectic because it was so early in the day (around 6p.m.) that a lot of people were still eating.
Last year I kind of wanted to go Black Friday shopping just for some stuff I seen in the ad for Wal-Mart.
They had the Frozen table and chair combo I wanted for Alexis and her sister for around $15. I wanted to get it for her so bad but there was no way I was paying $35 for it! They also had a Frozen quad on sale and I wanted her to have one.
I figured if I went the next day they would all be gone, but I had nothing better to do but go see if they had any good deals left.
So Friday around lunch time I packed up Alexis and wanted to just to see if they had anything good left.
When I got there I was a little shocked… My Wal-Mart seemed to have forgotten to change the price on some of the things that I wanted, including the table! They had STACKS of those left of all the characters! So I put one in my buggy and kept looking.
Like I said, I also wanted to get her one of the Frozen quads but they were around $40 regularly and for their Black Friday sale they were like 40% off. I figured, no way… those would surely be gone but I wanted to check anyways.
Someone was watching over me big time because they didn’t change the prices on those either!
So I grabbed one of the quads as well and took them to checkout and pulled up the Black Friday ad on my phone. I politely asked the cashier if those prices were still available. She looked through the ad and couldn’t find any specific time that it was void and gave me the sale prices!! Beyond ecstatic is an understatement
I was able to get everything I wanted for Alexis and her sister for Christmas and more due to clearance and sales!
The kids Christmas was DONE! Waaahooo!
I may have been done with the kids, but I forgot to get anything for anyone else…
Okay, I didn’t “forget” per-say… I just didn’t because Alexis and her sister came first.
I searched and searched Pinterest for some DIY ideas and found some pretty cute ones!
All the grandparents and family members received something handmade from Alexis.
I am one of those who firmly believes that anything from the heart is way more valuable than something I can pay for.
Paying $10 for a trinket that they will toss to the side and not pay much attention to… I’m not into that.
OR I can put together things like the handprint snowmen ornament from All Things Heart & Home
and make some Reindeer Chow using the recipe on This Silly Girls Life
Put it in a pretty bag with some ribbon, pretty tissue paper and call it a day.
People may not think as highly of crafts as I do, but I seriously keep like everything to look back on.
I made a keychain of all my Graduation cards just because I want to remember who cared enough about that milestone.
I’m just weird like that.
I have to say that I think all the DIY crafts that I did with Alexis and her sister came out pretty awesome & everyone seemed to love them. There were some imperfections like when she would twitch her foot or jerk her hand and spread the paint on things, but the fiancé just kept reminding me that’s what makes it unique.
Not totally sure how much I agree with that, but it made me feel a little better.
No more awkward moments!
I also liked that with the crafts, I don’t worry about the awkward moments where they’re fake smiling and are saying how cool or cute it is but their face says “What the hell am I going to use this for?!”
Face it, we’ve all probably given and received that look more than once.
Crafts are also budget friendly because almost all the stuff I’m sure you have laying around.
Okay, maybe not blank clear ornaments. But those were seriously like .74¢ a piece!
Shopping early helps you save because you:
• Have time to shop many clearance items!
• Shop sales!
• Make some DIY crafts as gifts for family!
• Split your paychecks – avoid putting anything on a credit card!
If you have anymore tips on how to save for Christmas, feel free to share below!
I’m always excited to learn a new way to save!