10 Ways I'm Saving Money This Christmas

Christmas at my house is going to be a little different this year. In the past, we've shopped till we dropped and got the kids everything their little heart desired AND MORE! 

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2013 Aftermath

Christmas 2013 Aftermath
We spoil our kids! There's no doubt about it! But, seriously? Half of the stuff in the photos doesn't even get played with regularly! And this year we want to take a big trip, so this year is going to be different. Here are the ten ways I'm saving this Christmas...

Christmas Savings

1. Have a Plan
 I'm making a list and checking it twice! I'm going to save this Christmas by not just buying random stuff! The kids have made their lists of the top items they want. I'm narrowing it down and deciding what is realistic and what is not. Then I'm making a list and sticking to it. 

2. Budget
This year I plan on keeping track of my spending. In past years, I've just gone shopping until it felt like I had bought enough and then called it good. In an effort to save some money this Christmas, I'm putting a limit on how much all the kids get. 

3. Memories not things
One of the major reasons we are cutting back on presents this year is because we plan on going home for Christmas. A ten day long vacation and a 36 hour road trip is going to be pretty costly. But you know what, the kids will have the memories. We haven't been home for Christmas in 5 years! My son probably has some vague memories of opening presents at Grandma and Grandpa's houses, but my girls don't have any. Heck, one of them has never even been there for Christmas. But this year, we making a priority to make memories not buy gifts. Make cookies with Grandma, yup! Drive around looking at Christmas lights with Papa, yup! Opening presents by the fire where I sat as a little girl, I can't wait! Too many cousins crammed in a little house and everyone stuffing themselves full of goodies! It's a way better way to spend Christmas than opening another junk toy!

4. Think Out of the Box
My daughter loves to make and send cards. I showed her some of my return address labels the other day and she thought they were so cool! So you know what, I logged on to shutterfly.com, found a deal and got her some of her own. They are pink and polka dot and she's going to love them. I also found these cute stamps (affiliate links) and I'm going to pick up some of these white notecard sets. She'll have her own stationary to decorate and send letters to family and friends. 

5. Gift of Time
Much like the making memories, I plan on saving by setting up some extra special parent/kid dates! I headed to Pinterest and found these cute printable Gift Coupons. I plan on filling them out with things like "A night at the batting cages" or "PS3 Family Game Night" for my son. And "Spa Day" or "Lunch and a Movie" with my daughter. Saves me money now by being able to have them use the coupons in the future. They still get a fun activity and I don't get all the toys in my house! Win-Win!

6. Buy Used
She's never going to know that the Barbie Vacation House Santa left for her used to be some other little girls. It's in great condition, has all the furniture and is the number one thing on her list. My bank account will know however because I saved and spent less on Barbie's RV, Vacation Glam House and Car than I could have buying just the RV brand new! Shop around and see what you can find. Some things I'm not willing to buy used, some things are worth searching for and saving money on. 

7. Think Practical
Stocking stuffed with candy, dollar spot toys and cutesy Christmas things. NOT this year! I'm saving money by being practical. They are getting underwear, socks, body soap, new toothbrushes and toothpaste. It's exactly what my Grandma used to do for me and my cousins growing up. Santa still brings them nice new things but it won't cost me more when we visit the dentist again soon. 

8. Pay Cash
To make sure I'm not still paying off Christmas next March (like I've done before) I'm using cash for presents, or at least my debit card. Credit cards aren't getting used! We've worked hard to pay down the balances this year in an effort to be debt free. I'm going to save by making sure I don't end up paying interest on any gifts I do buy. 

9. Handmade
A quiet book for the baby, perfect for a road trip! An On The Go Tic-Tac-Toe board for my son! American Girl Doll Sleeping Bag for my middle! Presents they'd all enjoy with out the big price tag. Saving win for me!! More ideas on my Pinterest, in my Christmas 2014 board.

10. From the Heart
Communication is huge between parents and children. My son turns TEN next year. I want to have him know now that whatever questions might be coming up he can talk to me about. Same for my daughter as she gets bigger. So this Christmas, I'm going to save by buying a cheap composition notebook and decorating them to be our Momma and Me journals. Much like this idea, here.  Cheap gift that will hopefully turn out to be something very great and meaningful. 

What are your plans for Christmas? Are you taking a trip or staying home? Do you have any other tips on how to save this Christmas? Please leave a comment and share them with me, I'd love to know!!

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