As I was writing my last post about How to Stay on Budget this Christmas, I realized I really wanted to talk about how WE are staying on budget for Christmas. When I tried to combine the two similar topics into one post and it became such a long post full of scrambled information. So instead, I decided to separate the two topics and let them each stand for themselves. 

This year, We are focusing on a minimalist style Christmas. Not only, is it more frugal and cost-effective for us, but it also provides us with less toy waste. 

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Nothing feels worse than buying your kid something you know they’ve wanted for ages, only to watch them stop playing with it 2 days after Christmas. So they way I figure it, less gifts means less toys to get distracted by. Meaning my child will be more likely to stay drawn to the gifts they received. 

This is what I call Toy Waste

This year I have set the Christmas budget to $300. My husband is working a seasonal job that should pay out very well, so the less we spend on Christmas, the more we can put towards bills and debt. This brings me some holiday cheer, catching up on payments is always nice. We have 7 adults and 4 kids to get a gift for. 

I’ve divided up my budget into categories and set a Max amount for each. 

$20 Elf on The Shelf. This includes anything fun for him, like mini marshmallows, gingerbread house kit, chocolate chips, sprinkles or candy canes. By randomly giving him fun thing to play with in his month long adventure, he add joyful sparks of Holiday spirit to the house and brightens my daughter’s day.  

$30 Family Traditions. Included in this is our advent calendar, a mall photo with Santa and whatever baking ingredient is needed to bake fresh cookies. 

Normally, we choose $25-$30 toy filled advent calendars, but this year I learned something. If you wait until one day after Thanksgiving to try and buy a toy filled advent calendar, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice ones you had sitting in your Amazon cart will either A) Sell out completely or B) triple in retail price.

Wanting to reduce toy waste this year, I figure that this was probably a blessing in disguise. I spent $5.99 on a chocolate filled advent calendar with poems on each day. Can’t share with the Dairy free baby, but my older kid will love it. 

$50 Christmas Eve Box. 

This is easily the most expensive part of our Christmas traditions. Every year on Christmas eve we get a box with fresh pajamas and movie night/cocoa stuff. In years past we could afford to have a new movie and all the fun stuff including slipper. This year, we’re taking it down to the most basic of item to cut the cost as low as possible without losing the spirit of the box and family time it bring. 

Walmart has $10 unisex/men flannel pajama bottoms for adults, we don’t need matching pj’s. I still haven’t decided on whether or not my husband and I will have a plain shirt to accompany the pants, so it looks like a set or if we will just get pants so the kids can get nicer pj’s since they’re the ones that actually need them. 

There’s 4 of us, so setting a $10 per person limit for the pajamas is do-able. I can use the extra $10 in the budget for popcorn, and some movie theater candies from Dollar Tree. Watching whatever is on Netflix or the Hallmark channel will also reduce the cost of buying a new movie. It’s not about what we watch, its the time spent together that matters. 

$200 Gifts– This includes everything gift related.

By breaking down the Gift category even more, I’m able to stay even more alert to my budget. 

How many people do I need to gift?

I have 2 kids, 1 husband, myself, 1 brother, 2 nieces, 1 sister and her husband, and my 2 parents. That’s 7 adults and 4 kids. Luckily I took care of the nieces gifts earlier this summer, and have had them sitting here waiting the past few months. So I’ll leave them out of the following math.

$200 gift budget divided in half. $100 is set aside for my children. As a parent, it’s my duty to prioritize them on Christmas. No one else will do it. 

So now I have $16 budget for each of for the adults, because I’m excluding myself.

This is a fine budget for everyone.

Grandparents are appreciative of handmade kid presents, I think canvas art with hand or foot prints may be a nice way to go. Or I could interview my daughter and ask question about why she likes her grandparents, and then frame her responses. 

Sister loves art stuff and is pregnant so I could even go so far as to re-gift her a baby item I have from my son. Her husband is also easy to shop for, so I’m good there.

My brother is going to get a scrapbook with pictures of his daughters. That will cost me the full $15 budget for him, and I’ll have photos printed from whatever website offers the best promo deals. 

I honestly have no idea what to get for my husband, but tools or a gift card for the Xbox are two things he always wants. He’s also fine with not getting anything.

I’ve decided my kids get 6 gifts each and 3 stocking stuffers

I have two kids and a $100 budget for the two. I decided my kids get 6 gifts each and 3 stocking stuffers. This doesn’t include the Christmas eve box, but does include Santa and elf gifts. 

The 6 gifts break down like this:

1 Want- Something budget friendly from the wish list.

1 Wear- While I’d love to get a full outfit set for each of them, it may be more budget friendly to get the kids a graphic T-shirt. I’ll be looking at clearance racks in local stores for extra savings. 

1 Read– A board book for my baby and a book to read to my daughter at night, If I bought these from a 2nd hand store like Goodwill or Salvation Army the cost would be under $5 for both books, but having searched Amazon and having an extensive book wish list I know I can get of these books for a decent price shipped to me. 

1 Need– I’m thinking a small educational toy can fit into this category. If I’m lucky enough to find a used play kitchen/playhouse for a decent price near me, I’d love to get it so the kids can have a big gift for them to share. 

2 Gifts from Santa- Santa brings something from their wish lists, most of the time, but not always. In fact, I think Santa finds some pretty good deals on toys the kids didn’t know they wanted. I am incredibly lucky to have a daughter who gets excited about every gift she opens. Everything is always “Oh, I’ve always wanted this!” or “It’s just what I wanted!” 

1 from our family elf Buddy- He gets something for the kids that was specifically requested by the kids. My daughter often tells Buddy what she wants for Christmas, as she thinks of it. I overheard her asking for a puzzle, so he might even bring her that 😉 Our local Dollar Tree sells Disney character kid puzzles, so its a great gift idea.

Stocking stuffers-

For my 5 year old- Coloring book, a small plush toy, and Chapstick

For my 1 year old- Toothbrush, Sippy cup, Gerber puffs

It’s going to be a tight budget this Christmas, but I’m putting in the effort needed to stay on track. With any luck, the dent we make in our bills this month will help to give us a great head start on 2019 and let us increase next year’s Christmas budget.  

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