Save Money and the Environment Next Christmas!

Hello, my Gals!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿผ or whatever else you may celebrate, and that going into 2๏ธโƒฃ0๏ธโƒฃ1๏ธโƒฃ9๏ธโƒฃ has been full of fun and happiness and good things to come! ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ

A couple of posts ago, I said I’d share what I’ve been doing to keep things low cost this Christmas, so here ya go! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

That DIY label, tho. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ #nailedit

Just a quick photo of some Keto Honey Roasted Peanuts I made for my Dad with Type 2 Diabetes. ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฅœ Sugar free and still delicious! ๐Ÿ˜‹

I used ingredients we already had, with the exception of brown sugar substitute and peanuts. Recipe linked in the top picture!


โค๏ธDespite being Introvert AF, I know and am pretty close with a lot of people. I have my biological family, my blended family, my in-laws, and my own growing family. Not to mention my diverse circles of friends.

That being said, I have a lot of people to shop for. Which I’m sure I don’t need to tell you can be stressful, both socially (wth do I get this person this time??) and financially.

In the past I could wild tf out on Christmas shopping with my “disposable” income, but with a mortgage, kids, and life expenses, I definitely don’t have that luxury anymore. ๐Ÿ˜…

I refuse to go into debt over the pressure of commercialism, but at the same time I do want to do or give something to my loved ones to show how much I appreciate them๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿฅฐ

So how have I managed to cut down on this stress this year? I’ll tell you! ๐Ÿ˜™๐Ÿ˜™


๐Ÿ›Stop Shopping Altogether๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

In recent years, amongst my in laws we’ve all agreed to stop buying gifts for each other entirely, ๐ŸŽโŒ opting instead to enjoy each others’ company and maybe baking/cooking for each other.

This has been AMAZING. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป Now we just get the kids gifts, which is honestly so much more fun! ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜โค๏ธ

๐Ÿ’ฐSo obviously this is the best way to save money, and it encourages appreciation for what you already have. This would probably work best if you have a group of people that doesn’t need anything or who are impossible to buy for.

And if you don’t feel right not having anything to offer on Christmas Day, agree to make each other baked goods or freezer dinners or something of that nature. Everyone loves cookies and not having to cook! ๐Ÿ’ฏ

Not to mention, time spent together is so precious. The best gift we can give each other truly is ourselves. โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’ฏ

๐ŸงฎSet A Strict Budget๐Ÿ‘

If you don’t think any of your family members or friends would want to go the no-gifts approach, the next best thing is to set a strict spending budget for each person on your list. ๐Ÿ’ต

This year for my immediate and blended family, I set a budget for $10 per person. And you’d be surprised what you can find for under $10. ๐Ÿ’Ž๐ŸŽฏ๐Ÿคฉ

๐Ÿ’ญI’ve found that setting these spending limits forces me to be more creative and thoughtful with what I give. For example, I know my younger stepbrother is a guitar player ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€๐ŸŽค๐ŸŽธso I’ve bought for him this year and last a different guitar accessory he doesn’t have, but would be useful, that was under $10!

I did something like this with each person, thinking hard about their interests and needs and going Amazon hunting for the best items within my range. ๐Ÿ‘€

It can be helpful to perhaps look through your expenses and see realistically how much you can afford to spend on Christmas shopping. Then make a physical list of who you have to shop for, and do some…

For instance, if you can afford to spend $200 on gifts that season, and have 15 people to shop for, the price cap would be about $13 per person (dividing 15 by 200…Or is it 200 by 15? ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜… Math was never my strong suit).

Think long and hard about what each person needs or what would really make them happy, and set your sights on stores and websites that work with your ideas and your budget.

You could also coordinate with other family members to see what they are buying for others to see if you could contribute an add-on to their gift. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

For example, if you have a niece who is obsessed with LOL Dolls and you know Grandma is buying her an LOL Dollhouse, you could buy her a piece of furniture or whatever goes with that thing. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Don’t feel the need to break bank over these fad toys. Chances are she’ll be over it in a year or two. ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ

๐Ÿ’กI’ve also seen on Facebook to start a fund in the New Year set aside for gifts for the next Christmas Season. So maybe every other paycheck set aside $5-10 or whatever you can swing and put it in a shoebox, open a new account, or whatever will help you not touch it until you start your shopping. ๐Ÿ’ต๐Ÿ’ฐ

๐Ÿ“œGive Them An IOU๐Ÿ˜˜

So this is my favorite because it combines repurposing with saving money and forces you to think outside the box. ๐Ÿ“ค๐Ÿ“ฆ

And it is helpful if you really can’t think of anything to get a person on your list that would be useful or appreciated within the budget you just set. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜…

As you can see, my DIY skills could get me a spot on Netflix’s Nailed It! ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ˜‚

For my close friends this year, I got the idea (although I never checked to see if it was a case of parallel thinking but I like to believe this was an original idea ๐Ÿ˜…) to create “IOU Jars.”

๐ŸฅœI buy Teddy’s peanut butter for my family, which comes in a glass jar. In the past I have used these jars for storing food items, loose change, and even for other holiday-related things like hot cocoa and cookie mixes for Yankee Swaps.

This year, I took my collection of peanut butter jars and lids and filled them with my friends’ favorite candy that I purchased from the dollar store, a packet of hot cocoa that I got in bulk, and enclosed a personalized note telling them how much they mean to me and why I appreciate them individually. โค๏ธ๐Ÿฅฐ

On this note I also included an “IOU,” or something that I would get/do for them in the upcoming year.

๐ŸทSo instead of spending a chunk of change on a bunch of hastily picked out stuff for the sake of getting a gift (I go into panic mode if I don’t know what to get someone and I end up just grabbing stuff that they might vaguely like), I included in my note that I owed them either a matinee to see a movie they’re excited about coming up, a brunch date to a cute but affordable restaurant, or a night in with a bottle or two of wine for them to “cash in” at some point during the year.

This way, I still feel like I’ve gotten all my special friends a good gift, but didn’t have to stress about the extra expense all at once.

Not because they’re not worth it. They deserve that and so much more. โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธWe just happened to have a bit of unexpected expenses come up just before to Christmastime and money was getting a bit tight, so this idea came to light as a result.

๐Ÿ“ฆGo Ahead And Horde (Responsibly!)

Lastly as a bit of an afterthought, I save almost everything. Which as a recovering pack rat and someone who is trying to convert to minimalism can be a challenge, but in cases like this it helps!

๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽI have amassed a collection of gift bags and tissue paper over the years for birthdays, showers, and of course Christmas, so I actually haven’t bought any of the stuff in a couple of years. If you have the storage space, I highly suggest starting a big “bag of bags and tissue paper” you can visit for your gift-Giving needs.

I used to spend a ridiculous extra amount on gift wrapping… ๐Ÿ’ธ๐Ÿ’ธ๐Ÿ’ธ

Also, save those candy canes!! Most people don’t like to eat them, and I feel like a lot of them get thrown away, but they make super cute decorations for things other than the tree!

My Insta Pic skills arenโ€™t the sharpest, but just an example of what you can do with those cute candy canes! ๐Ÿ˜

๐ŸŽจAnd instead of spending extra money on decorations, make some with your kids! It will keep them busy and happy during cold days and your house will be festive and adorable!

Not to mention the priceless keepsakes you’ll have afterwards. ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ

๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃMy little Vinnyโ€™s Christmas Tree Foot๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ญ

๐Ÿ’ฌDid I miss anything? What tips do you have for saving money over the holidays? Leave them in the comments!

Thanks for reading, my gals! โค๏ธ๐Ÿ˜

Stay tuned for posts on What’s In My Hospital Bag For Baby 2, Why Spending Time Away From My Son Makes Me A Better Mom, and maybe a Second Pregnancy Update/How This Time Is Different Than The First.

If any of those sound interesting to you, subscribe so you don’t miss it! ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜

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I Used To Stress About The Holidays, Until–

Okay, I’m not gonna lie–I still stress about the holidays. ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜…ย But not NEARLY as much as I used to!

I know I said I’d be posting about a pretty emotional issue this time, but I’ve been having technical difficulties with that one…that will be next, I promise!

In the meantime, I came across this picture on Facebook this morning, so I felt like I needed to post about it.

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I had to ask myself, “Why, though?” Why does it have to be like that? I know the pressure is on around the holidays to give our families the “Perfect Christmas…” but why does this “Perfect Christmas” have to be so centered on gifts?

Yes, I understand we want our kids and our families to be happy and have the best, and it feels good to see a loved one’s face light up when you get them that perfect gift. Hearing the words, “How did you know!?” has the same effect as any good drug, in my opinion.

I used to agonize over what to get people for Christmas. I used to spend HOURS at the Mall going over random items debating in my head whether or not to buy them.

I’d ask myself, “Will so-and-so actually like this?” “Is this enough? What else should I get to go with it?” “Am I spending enough on this person?”

But everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked… ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ‘Š

Haha sorry, I couldn’t resist. ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜‚

๐ŸŽ„How Being A Mom Has Stopped My Christmas Stress๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ

So my husband has always been very cost-efficient *coughcoughcheapcoughcough* and his money-saving skills have kept us living pretty comfortably over the 4+ years we’ve been married.

Me? Not so much. I was lucky to have about $200 in my savings when we merged our bank accounts. Let’s just say it was a blessing that I never had a credit card in my early twenties… ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ’ธ๐Ÿ’ณ

So much like Dr. Hammond in the original Jurassic Park, when it came to Christmas I used to “Spare no expense.” But, seeing as how I’m young with expendable income anymore, I’ve had to learn to adapt.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you all that having kids is expensive. It’s so true that they’re like those free apps with all the in-app purchases. They come with HELLA DLC, and you kind of need it to properly play the parenting game…

That being said, that leaves a lot less money to get people the type of gifts I used to be able to. Which admittedly at first was a little depressing, but it’s actually been more of a blessing than a curse.

Now that I don’t have tons of money burning a hole in my NES controller wallet, I have to think twice as hard about what to get people, and it has to fit within a tight budget.ย 

Because of this, I’ve learned to be much more thoughtful in what I give. Yes, the gifts are smaller, but they’re much more meaningful and practical, so my loved ones appreciate them more.

I’ve also begun making more things than buying, and even though my DIY skills could get me a spot on the Netflix series “Nailed It,” people are still genuinely happy when they get them, because they’re tailored to their interests and it really shows that I thought of them.

BTW stay tuned for what I think could be a pretty useful holiday hack for next year ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‰

How You Can Let Go Of Some Of That Holiday Tension

img_5238
My response to the above image. Less Is More!

I feel like these days we’ve begun glorifying stress around the holidays. We stress about what to wear, what to cook, what photos to take, who to send cards to, what to buy, etc. We’re constantly bombarded with commercials commanding us to “Act Now!” so that we hurry and buy whatever it is they’re selling.

And let’s not forget the constant reminder of how many shopping days there are left until Christmas.

And as I mentioned before, I completely understand wanting to get the perfect gifts for loved ones. That’s why I haven’t completely stopped buying them. But, if it’s not reasonably within our budget, we shouldn’t feel compelled to go into debt just to satisfy a societal pressure to check off that list.

The whole point of that post, at least in my interpretation, was to say that parents with kids whose birthdays are close to Christmas have a rough go of it because they’re expected to buy extra for them. If that’s really your thing, then again, no judgement! But, it doesn’t have to be that way!

I’m trying to get in the habit of minimalism for my kids, as I’ve mentioned before. There’s so many benefits to it, and getting them in the habit early will help in the long run!

So if you’re a parent and have kids with Christmastime birthdays, and you’re stressing about how to make it all work, this could help! Do some modest gift-giving for Christmas and give a fulfilling experience (check your local library for ways to do this within a budget) as a birthday gift, allowing them to pick out a single souvenir.

Alternatively, if you’re having a birthday party for your child, odds are they’re going to get a slew of gifts from guests. You could try getting one meaningful gift for their birthday to show how special they are, and then give the smaller, but still special gifts for Christmas.

Sorry if this post didn’t make much sense this time! I’m working under a deadline at my library’s computer. Hopefully this helped bring a little insight and made you feel better if you’re struggling with stress right now.

Remember, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Thanks for reading, my gals! Next time will be the emotional post.