Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas On A Budget

If you participated (or are still participating!) in Cans For Comments last week, please either leave a comment here or e-mail me (threetimesthegiggles@gmail.com) your tally of comments/cans! I want to post an updated total tomorrow or Wednesday and include links of all the blogs that participated (or are still running it!) in Cans For Comments!
 
Last year I did some super savvy Black Friday shopping. I had never been shopping in the morning on Black Friday before and found it rather entertaining and exhilarating! Last year I managed to get gifts (and good ones at that I must say!) for 15 people (some "people" were couples) for under $230. Yeah, you read that number correctly. Now, I will say this - last year we did not buy gifts for the boys. We figured they still were pretty young and wouldn't notice (let alone care) if some of the dozens of gifts they got were not from us.

This year the boys will be visited by Santa and will also have gifts from us under the tree. Does this mean our budget will balloon out of control? No Sir! If anything, we may actually come in under our budget from last year! Allow me to share my "secrets" with you.

Tip #1: Buy used! Honestly, I think that kids under the age of 6 or 7 at the very least do not notice or care if their gift is in the original packaging. If anything they like it better when it's not in the box because the toy can then be played with immediately. (Parents, isn't it so obnoxious to have an excited kid breathing down your neck while you're trying to un-twist the 30 twist ties holding their doll or Little People into the box?!)

This fall I have snagged 3 great gifts for the boys at a consignment sale and also through a local triplet mom (she was selling stuff her trio had outgrown). Check out these gems! (Please ignore the loveliness that can be found in our basement and garage!)


This is a Fisher-Price (I think) trike that can be transformed somehow to a bike! Thankfully the user manual is taped to it. I picked this up for $10 at a consignment sale.


 
This is a Little People castle complete with a huge bag of accessories and parts! I scored this for only $8 at the same consignment sale I picked the bike up at.


A couple of big, pop-up play tents I snagged from a fellow triplet mom. She actually threw them in as a "bonus" when I bought what you see below...

This giant tunnel thing, plus the above tents, was only $25! I looked these things up online and they all would retail for over $100. They're all in fantastic condition and if they already survived one set of triplets I have hope these will last longer than 2 weeks (which is how long the one we bought from Target lasted).

I can not wait to give these to the boys! They're going to have a blast with all of them.

Tip #2: Plan, plan, plan your shopping. Did you know that most retailers now release their Black Friday ad early? I've been looking at BF ads for well over a week now and new ads are constantly being added. You can view BF ads here: http://www.blackfriday.info

Wanna know how much of a dork I am? I have a spreadsheet this year. I've made a list of stocking stuffer ideas for the boys, a list of people we're buying gifts for and then a list of gift ideas I've found in BF ads (I include in that list where the item is on sale and for how much). This list will make my Black Friday morning an enjoyable one! I'll have my top choices mapped out and then have back ups just in case the item I want is sold out by the time I get there (which happened a couple of times last year). With any luck I'll once again take care of 95% of my shopping in just 3 hours and come home under budget again!

Nick and I have always been budget conscious when it comes to spending, especially at Christmas time. Even when we were DINKs (Double Income No Kids) we didn't spend a lot. This year our entire congregation will be encouraged to spend less money on Christmas and instead give more money away. Did you know that the amount of money American's spend on Christmas could provide clean drinking water for the entire world? Sick huh?

With that in mind, I invite you to watch this little video clip and consider what your family, group of friends or church could do this Christmas. (My mom's group is all pitching in $5 each to adopt a family in need in our community this Christmas! $5 each isn't a lot, but multiply that by 48 and it's substantial!) For more about the Advent Conspiracy click HERE.



6 comments:

Renee Claycamp said...

You are a dork! LOL! Actually, that is really smart. Organization is key to Black Friday! Happy Shopping! :)

Monica said...

i guess I'm a dork too. I have been organizing my Christmas list on a spreadsheet since we got married. We have so many people to buy for. Christmas will definitely be on a tighter budget this year since we are down to one income and I'm a SAHM. But I do put money into a Christmas Club account all year which helps out alot.

Brenda said...

Helen - finished out Cans for Comments with 28 cans.. not the 32 I wanted to beat your first go-round last year, but I'm VERY happy with the results. I'm dropping them off today - and picture of the food is on today's blog :)

Nellie said...

Helen, this was a GREAT video clip! We have never tried to "outdo the Joneses," and the girls have grown up in fine fashion regardless! I admire you and Nick for your dedication to your budget!

Shane & Renee said...

Love and joining in on the idea of the kiddies Christmas presents. I also enjoyed the video clip. Wish I could secretly send it to some in-laws.

The Lane Family said...

Great Video!!! Since we have 3 now 4 and under. I am all over consignment sales and there are some awesome buys. I also have lists that I use to find the right items for the Holidays and make sure everyone is covered.

I also LOVE your new camera AWESOME!!

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