Here it is right smack in the middle of Summer and I am going to talk to you about Christmas. I know it’s 6 months away but as I mentioned last week, Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. It isn’t long after the smoke from the fireworks clears that my mind starts making Christmas plans. This week I am going to share with you how I made Christmas happen for $150. That’s not a typo. I only spent $150 on two kids for Christmas. We didn’t need to take cash from our household budget either. Find out how I make extra income without leaving for work.

Our Christmas haul
Our Christmas haul

First, start planning early (like July) and hit up the garage sales. Yes, I said garage sales. I was inspired by a friend of mine who shops garage sales for toys for Christmas gifts. At first it didn’t sound right to me, but then I realized I buy toys from garage sales all year long. My kids don’t seem to notice, or care where they come from. What makes Christmas different? And really isn’t it the same as re-gifting?

Now, let me clarify here  my kids did not get used junk for Christmas (leaky Jell-O mold anyone?). I was very selective about items I purchased.  The toys I picked out for them were either brand new in package  or were very gently used. My biggest score was two copy paper boxes filled with pristine condition children’s books  for only $8.00. That was more than enough to give each girl a wrapped book every night as part our Advent countdown.

A good book, cookies & milk makes a good countdown to Christmas
A good book, cookies & milk makes a good countdown to Christmas

Second, set your budget and stick to it. I thought $150 sounded reasonable, but you may want or need to go a little higher. once I reached $100 I felt like I had enough big stuff. I then set aside $20 for stocking stuffers and spent the remaining $30 on new pajamas and one new outfit for each kid. Of course shopping online for these items and avoiding any holiday traffic is what worked for me!

Alphie our talking robot has to be the kids' favorite gift
Alphie our talking robot is the kids’ favorite gift

Third, plan for a better tomorrow: buying second hand helps save the planet (you’re welcome); buying from local families helps them afford to buy for their little ones and by planning for savings you can afford to be generous with your favorite charity.

It might sound crazy to start planning this early since most of us can’t even think about what we are having for breakfast tomorrow. But the time I saved by getting things done early really paid off. I had all my shopping, gift wrapping and stockings stuffed before the Thanksgiving turkey hit the oven. My weekends in December were free for creating a fun old-fashioned family Christmas. We baked cookies for our local firemen; we watched Santa jump from a plane (our new favorite tradition); had our picture taken with Santa; decorated the tree; crafted a whole bunch of stuff; drove around to check out the Christmas lights and spent plenty a snowy day snuggling in our jammies.

Less time shopping = more time to bake!
Less time shopping = more time to bake!

By not focusing on what went under the tree, we were able to truly enjoy the season. My kids won’t remember what their favorite Christmas gift was when they were 3, or that mom only spent $150 on used gifts. But, my hope is that having the extra time to focus on the feeling of Christmas will instill a lifetime of warm memories for us. There is no price tag on memories.

When do you start planning for Christmas? Are you an early shopper, or are you just sliding in under the tree Christmas morning?

 

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0 comment on Christmas in July My $150 Shopping Plan

  1. you rock Roxanne ! I also shop thrift stores and clearance racks all year and stash stuff away… It helps for last minute birthday gifts, too now that she is turning into a social butterfly in school…

    • I don’t think I will be able to get away with it much longer. The kids are still little so they don’t notice how much other kids are getting and haven’t asked for anything big yet…well, except a dog. That’s just not happening. lOl

  2. You have a great plan. I didn’t quite make it shopping this month. I love to start early as well. It seems like I have a never ending list to buy for. I never know where to draw the line.

  3. I love these tips. Now that I’m married and away from home, I’ve been thinking a lot about what traditions I want to start for our family (no kids yet, but in the future!). One thing I want to focus on is family time at Christmas rather than presents. This is a GREAT tip for that! Thanks. 🙂

  4. Love this! I am usually done with Christmas shopping by October, but this year we are moving before Christmas so I don’t want to have extra things to move.

    • Now that my kids are going on 5…I’m not sure how much longer this plan will work in my favor. 😉 I think you can really get away with this in those first five years before they start to make a list of demands. 😉

  5. These are some great tips! My 7 year old really doesnt care if toys are new or not so garage sales are a great way to shop. As for my 15 year old, she loves vintage, so heading to thrifts shops is great! Also, I receive a lot of gift cards throughout the year that I may not actually like or use (Forever 21 for example, not my style) and so I give those to her! I think the last few years I ahve spent no more than 300 for Christmas and that includes myself and hubby and other family and friends!

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