Save Money and Stress Less this Christmas

Christmas is supposed to be joyful - not spendy and stressful. If you are lucky enough to escape family drama, then there are really only 3 major areas that might cost you time, money, and sanity. Those are shopping, decorating, and cooking.
Let me share with you how I will be saving money and stress this holiday season

1. Shopping - I shop for most of my holiday gifts before Christmas. Just like with birthday gifts, I am always on the lookout for things my family might like. When I see it on sale (and sometimes not on sale - oops!), I pick it up and take it home. This saves so much time and money.

I always have my kids with me when I go shopping, so one less trip to the store, especially during the frazzled and rushed holidays, is extremely welcome. I don't enjoy shopping during the
Christmas rush. People are mean and pushy. It's not a great time to be out and about. Plus, most of the greatest deals come after Christmas. ;)

Take a look at how we operate our kid's Christmas present shopping. In the past, I've brought my children to the dollar store with $3 each (of their own money.) They selected a gift for mom, dad and sibling. Then they went to the register and purchased them. They loved it, but there's only so much available at the dollar store. Do you know what I mean?

So this year we are starting something new. For the first time, our children have access to my clearance shopping finds. This year, they will have the same $3 to spend, but they will get to shop from mom's stash of gift goodies. This is just the start. I'll have the "store" ready a few weeks before Christmas.
I hope somebody "buys" me the Wii Fit Plus. lol

My children are still very little, so the math is simple and the prices are low. This year, most of the things I bought were either 75% (or more) or FREE. I did buy a few things on Amazon using Swagbucks, so they were technically free, but not always at 75% off.

You may also want to consider how much you really want to buy. Our generation seems overly concerned with how many gifts we buy our children. Kids can have a great time with very little.

Just make it fun and special. That's what they'll remember, not the gazillions of gifts that get shoved aside as soon as the hoopla is over.

2. Decorating -The weeks following Christmas are the best times to pick up decorations. Target clearances out their holiday items very quickly and people all over are looking to get rid of their decorations. Right after Christmas is a great time to check Craigslist and Ebay for outdoor decorations, trees, and other big items.

Just the act of decorating can be stressful. Try to remember that it's supposed to be fun and enjoyable. And if all else fails....do what we've done.

To the right is a picture of our Christmas tree - in our basement - fully standing and filled with lights. It's like this 365 days a year.

What in the world? Yep. We could not stop fighting during the tree lighting and dismantling so we agreed to store it in the basement fully decorated every year rather than fight each season. It's a marriage saver - believe me!

We take the time and slowly put up each of our ornaments each season. It's calm. It's enjoyable. It's Christmas. :)

Make the good traditions last, and ditch the yucky ones (for us that was detangling lights).

3. Cooking/Baking - To save money on cooking during the holidays, stock up on essentials when the deals are hot. Luckily, for most stores that means right before Thanksgiving. That's not too far ahead to plan for Christmas. And not to long to have to store extra ingredients either.


Try not to stress over everything being perfect. Let your kids frost the cookies. Is it really that big of a deal if they aren't picture perfect? Make your favorite foods. And your families favorites too.

If you don't like them, then don't eat them or have a polite "no thank you" portion. Then move on.

If at the last minute you realize you are missing an ingredient to make Grandma Lilly's cranberry relish, let it go. Make it next year. What's the big deal? Life is way to short to worry about crazy stuff like this.

Above all, have fun this holiday season. Enjoy your family. Eat some great food. And don't forget to get out and do something active.

14 comments:

WCatDD said...

I love your idea on having your own "store"! My family found a way to not fight while putting up lights - have me do it all the time!

MommyB said...

I love your dollar deals, and didn't realize you could get all that great stuff for such a low price. I definitely am going to check that out this year!! Tis the season, thanks for sharing.

Mrsblogalot said...

Oh the store is my favorite!!!! What a great idea!!!!!

Dimes 2 Vines said...

The "store" is a wonderful idea!
I am all for making the holidays less stressful!

beenomom said...

What great tips for the holiday season! I like your idea with the tree. If we used an artificial tree I would definately do the same thing. What a time saver!

blueviolet said...

I absolutely love your attitude!!!! Carefree and easy. :)

surfingmomsc said...

This is a great post. I really like the shopping at home idea. The store you created teaches so many things.
The tree cracks me up,, You are so right- make the good traditions last- ditch the yucky ones.

Diane said...

LOL...we do that with the tree also....they are a pain in the butt to put up....we leave it in the laundry room all year long.
Love the store :)

AStarrA said...

Love the idea of your store, that's really cool and very clever. I also liked that you taped money to it so the kids know what it's worth, great learning tool. Kudos to you!

tds said...

Good idea about the tree! Do you move it out of the basement for the Christmas season or decorate it there?

tds said...

Good idea about the tree! Do you move it out of the basement for the Christmas season or decorate it there?

The Prudent Homemaker said...

Too bad we don't have a basement, LOL!

I'd have to blow the whole thing off with a leaf blower if we did, though. Less than 15 hours after setting up the tree, the ornaments were covered in dust that could be seen across the room. That's the trouble with living in the desert. . .

MomBabe said...

Ooh, the store idea is awesome!

Marco F. said...

Let's all have a stress-free sane, slow Christmas

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate all your tips, advice, and well wishes!

Angela

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