How are you stretching your pennies this holiday season?

@dorannmwin (36696)
United States
December 2, 2010 2:37pm CST
If your family is anything like our family, Christmas this year is very tight. I would love to know some of the things that your family is doing to stretch your budget this Christmas season. For us, I used a lot of Amazon gift cards that I was able to earn online so that I could buy toys for the kids. I also found some great deals on things that they wanted at a local consignment store and purchased them and put them up as Christmas presents. Share with me your ways of being frugal for Christmas.
7 people like this
20 responses
2 Dec 10
i have saved up both money and vouchers and i use these in the sales after christmas to pay for the christmas after. Money is really tight with me. I will again shop after christmas ready for next year so i take advantage of all the sale prices. The VAT is about to rise here in january so i want to get the presents in quickly after christmas. I also will be hopeing to get more money in my account here to just give me that little bit extra. While my son is so young he has no idea as to the prices of things, but when he is older then he will be stating what he wants, but i can only get what i can afford so i guess i had better work my backside off in here and earn more money quickly.
1 person likes this
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
5 Dec 10
I do my shopping early, but not as early as just after Christmas anymore because I do get clothes and such for my children and where they are both still growing, I never know what size they are going to be wearing. I am, however, able to save my gift certificates to use later as I find things on sale.
5 Dec 10
gift certificates/vouchers are ideal to have, clothes are difficult to buy early, as you said, kids do grow but fashion also changes. I buy more things like gift sets that can last, there are great offers and same goes for some half price toys. With gift certificates/vouchers they are ideal also as it saves you from spending money.
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
5 Dec 10
That is exactly right and that is the main reason that I am constantly looking for more ways that I would be able to earn additional gift certificates.
• Singapore
3 Dec 10
I have a couple of vouchers from doing surveys coming my way, and it will be used to get some essential stuff. Whatever I'm earning online is going to help with monthly expenses as well purchasing gifts for everyone. Getting some of these items from the $2 dollar store can also help to save lots. I think I shall do that this year.
• Singapore
6 Dec 10
There are so many unexpected things happening in life. As such, can we always be prepared for them? Anyway, I'm sure the foundations of making money online has been laid for you. Therefore, you know how you can make more next year. It's great to know that our online earnings help in one way or another.
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
7 Dec 10
You are right about the foundations of making online having been laid out for me and I know what I need to do such that I will be able to make more online next year than I was able to make this year.
@cynthiann (18637)
• Jamaica
3 Dec 10
It is going to be tough for me too. One son unemployed and my sister will be staying for over a month so my grocery bill is high. We decided that gifts for children only and these gifts are not expensive. My daughter was in the US - lots of air miles and cheap ticket. She went to buy her wedding dress in a sale and did. Amazing bargain. Absolutely beautiful. Anyway, I gave her US$40 and she bought everything on my Xmas list. when she went The bonus I am receiving from my full time job will go to the tax man on property tax owed on the farm. I do not have the full amount but 3 of the children are helping me with it. Then I get a small bonus from my part time job and this will buy the ham and turkey etc. So I am really blessed. Any food left over we will put into boxes and distribute to the homeless in town. No good getting stressed over it all. We just do what we have to do. Well done with your planning
1 person likes this
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
5 Dec 10
You are right that there really is no use at all to get all stressed out over the holidays. That is the reason that I'm even trying to come up with a plan now that will be able to help me do it a little bit better next year. I'm thinking if I can put back about $25 each week that we will be able to have a very good Christmas next year. I just have to hope that circumstances will allow us to do something like that.
@cynthiann (18637)
• Jamaica
6 Dec 10
forgive me if I am intrusive but there is nothing wrong in kids learning that some people will always have more than they have and plenty more will have less at Christmas. The secret to life is being content with what you receive By this I do not mean that people should not have ambition but give thanks if the family is in good health and have a good meal together and just a few gifts. It is playing with the kids and eventually let them receive the joy of giving as well as receiving that is important. I am tired and I may have expressed myself badly.
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
6 Dec 10
No, you really are right. However, what I didn't have the opportunity to mention here is that I really wanted to be able to help a family from my daughter's school that isn't able to have Christmas and our finances and situations this year haven't allowed me to do that. I love giving so much more than receiving and I think that my inability to give the way that I would like to is what bothers me the most.
• United States
2 Dec 10
Wow, good for you and the children. Yes we are not all so well off that we can not be cautious. I too have used several gift cards for a great many gifts as well. Yeah! I have also use listia, which I have won a great many of my bids with the free points.
1 person likes this
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
5 Dec 10
I just joined listia the other day and I've yet to win an auction on there. I've also not figured out what I should list on there. I've got all kinds of things, but I just don't know if there would be anyone that is interested on the things that I need to get out of my house. It does seem like a great concept though and I plan to be very active with it.
• United States
5 Dec 10
If you flip through some of the tabs there you will find that people list just about anything. Some things I can't image wanting but see that many bid big time. So do not worry about that as our junk is someones treasure rule, comes to mind. Have you taken a look at freecycle. A completely free site. I joined and see a whole lot of free things up there but since I am away out of town I really can't take advantage of some things. If you haven't you should take a look. No referral thingy up there but a great way to get rid of things to those who may need it. I saw 2 days ago where a lady posted 2 perfectly good TV's. She bout a Flat screen and gave the 2 away, how cool is that for someone who needs a TV and best thing they are people in your own areas.
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
5 Dec 10
I've actually been a member of freecycle for quite some time I've gotten a few things and I've also gotten rid of a few things. The thing that is difficult about that is a lot of times the people don't show up for pickups.
@katsmeow1213 (28938)
• United States
2 Dec 10
Buy them cheaper gifts! Thankfully this year mine don't want anything really expensive. Last year I almost killed myself getting them each their own hand held gaming system on top of a decent spread of other toys. Well, this year only 1 of those gaming systems still works.. so I'm not doing that again! This year as far as video games go I think I"ll just get them each a game to one of the systems we already own like the Wii, X Box 360 or the ps3. Too bad all 3 systems are hooked up to the same TV so there will be some fighting over it.. but it could also be good insentive to behave as the child who behaves the best that day will most likely be the one to be able to play their game!
1 person likes this
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
5 Dec 10
Actually it is because of the fact that I don't have a lot of money to spend that the kids aren't getting a huge gift in our family either. Kathryn really wants a handheld video game system, but I want her to have a bit more responsibility with it, so I've told her that she needs to save her own money to buy one. She just had her birthday party today and got $11 and a $25 gift card to Toys R Us so I think that she has gotten a pretty good start (she will get Christmas money as well).
@Hatley (159561)
• Garden Grove, California
2 Dec 10
hi dorannmwin for me its extremely tight, but I got one break in that I had overpaid the ambulance compny as my insurance stepped in amd paid my copay why I do not know but it will help me with christmas and with my internet bill. I have not bought any gift cards yet but am thinking of getting one on amazon for my son as there s a book he wants and they might have it. its hard to me to hobble around through the stores and too I have got to do some more thinking on what I want to buy.online really does help. I use those pretty gift bags and save on wrapping paper and ribbons too.
1 person likes this
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
5 Dec 10
I do tend to wrap gifts the old fashioned way for the most part. However, there are times that we will receive gifts in gift bags and I will reuse those in the future to save a little bit of money. Some might think that it is tacky, but it is something that my family has been doing for years.
@stand87 (667)
• Bulgaria
2 Dec 10
Hi, dorannwin! Hope you have a good time! Actually, I don't have any amazon gift cards or something. I'll have only my salary as well as some vouchers from work. What I'm gonna do this year is just spending the vouchers in a market. Probably I'll have to use my own money as well. And that's it. Hopefully, I'll catch some good promotions and this way I'll be able to save some money. It's really not easy to save money nowadays. Most of the people just don't earn enough. I'm still thankful because I have enough money to make a living. It's with hard work, of course - but thank God that I have a chance to earn any money at all :) Enjoy the Hollidays!
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
5 Dec 10
You sound like you are in much the same position as my husband is in with having a job and being thankful for it. He is able to make a living, but the work is hard and it is also difficult to be able to make ends meet at times.
@peavey (15874)
• United States
4 Dec 10
I saved up Amazon gift certificates, too and had quite a bit saved. I spent a little more than that, but not much. Other than those gifts, I'm making stockings out of yarn that I already had and intend to fill them (at least partly) with homemade cookies and candy instead of buying anything else. I had already made teatowels for all the women and knitted a hood for my son who works out in the cold, so I will get by without spending much cash at all.
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
5 Dec 10
I did have to do some out of pocket spending in that I like to buy some new clothes for my children for Christmas and a few little things for the other members of our family. However I set a budget limit of $250 out of pocket this year and I was able to stay in it (and even get myself some shower stuff with the budgeted amount).
@peavey (15874)
• United States
5 Dec 10
I always spend more than I intend to when it comes to Christmas. It's my one splurge and I can scrimp all year if I get to buy things for Christmas. :) Next year, I'm going to do better in saving the Amazon gcs, though. That was a real help.
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
5 Dec 10
It really is a big hielp. I'm actually trying to find more places where I can earn them from because of the great help that its given me in getting toys for the kids without having to fight for them and spend money out of my pocket.
@bounce58 (17550)
• Canada
9 Dec 10
I saw one response here that said, 'buy them cheaper gifts!' -which I did. Thankfully, this year the kids are not into much of the expensive gifts. They already have the game consoles at home, so I would think that we just need some cheap games to make them happy. We're also planning to participate in some activities in the community. We just did a 'Breakfast with Santa' last weekend. And for the amount I paid, it was really worth it. The kids had fun. No need to go somewhere and spend a lot.
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
9 Dec 10
I really can't say that I bought cheaper gifts, but I did a lot of my shopping online before the holiday rush and with gift certificates so that really did make my money go a lot further.
@carolscash (9503)
• United States
5 Dec 10
This Christmas is going to be really tight for us too. I have a few gifts that I have gotten earlier in the year and I was hoping to do some more shopping but I am not sure that it will happen. I would like to buy my daughter the guitaar that she wants but I am not sure that I can. I wish I had gift cards to get to buy gifts with.
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
6 Dec 10
There are a lot of ways that you are able to earn gift cards online and they really do make a difference with my shopping as far as birthdays and Christmas go.
@Virgie60 (556)
• United States
5 Dec 10
That's a good question! We are having a very tough Christmas this year because son will be having major surgery on Dec. 22 so will still be in the hospital for Christmas. And we have expense of transportation, hotel, food, etc. while he is in the hospital. Also I will be staying with him and not working so my income will be much smaller. But fortunately I tend to shop all year long at sales and have been able to get some gift cards for free so that should help some. I am also a big Ebay shopper and have found some good deals on gifts there. Hope you all have a Happy Holiday!
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
5 Dec 10
I haven't done a lot of shopping on Ebay lately. However, if I am ever able to get my paypal balance up high enough I will probably start to shop on there again as well.
• United States
5 Dec 10
Doing this, mylot, is helping, also doing other online work (chacha as a guide) and doing the swag bucks helps. Knowing how much I want to spend on what and exactly what I want to buy before hand also helps. For our extended family, and my older girls, they are getting homemade items like knitted throws and pajamas. I made a bag/purse for my oldest daughter. These were all minimal in cost compared to just going to buy them from the store. My hubby works for WalMart, so we have his discount card and he gives me the heads up on sales and good buys so we plan that way as well. I picked up a couple of things at a thrift store. We also have a couple of things put away that were picked up through the year and set aside for gift giving time. Considering all of our extended family, with the exception of our parents, are also having difficult financial times, we aren't exchanging gifts this year. I have 6 kids (the most out of everyone, everyone else only have 2) so that'd be an undue (I feel) hardship on them. For the extended family that is getting gifts, they are all homemade. Knitted wraps, scarves, and hats. I think for my MIL I may make her a nice necklace or two. Thankfully I am pretty crafty so doing that kind of thing is an option. It's also nice that I have a lot of craft materials (beads, yarn, etc) already in the house so I'm using what I have as much as possible.
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
5 Dec 10
My father was from a very large family and several years ago they decided instead of exchanging names for Christmas or exchanging gifts all together, instead they (meaning my aunts and uncles but now my cousins and myself have been grandmothered into it) are doing ornament exchanges. We all make (or have made) ornaments every year and give one to each family for Christmas.
• United States
4 Dec 10
I'm a college student, I have to/want to get gifts for my parents, sister, boyfriend & a few friends. I saved up from survey sites, and other sites into my savings account. :)
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
5 Dec 10
It really is a great thing that we are able to make some bits of money online so that we are able to do things that we might not have done otherwise.
@gdesjardin (1938)
• United States
3 Dec 10
We have been saving money most of the year just cutting back on everything this year. I have been saving money from car insurance to cutting down our grocery bill and also having my hubby take his lunch everyday. I have saved all my gift cards for Amazon all year, and I have also gotten a $100.00 gift card to Lowe's to help in buying something for my husband. It will be a tight Christmas, but we will manage to get through it once again!
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
5 Dec 10
I think that above everything, being able to save up gift cards and such that I am able to get online has been a Christmas saver for us not just this year but last year as well. I love being able to shop like that and not really spend a dime at all. In fact, I had some balance left over and let my sister "borrow" it so that she could do some Christmas shopping as well, she is unemployed right now and waiting on unemployment so she has no money at all. It made me really happy to be able to help her.
• Philippines
3 Dec 10
Hi! I'm done shopping for gifts already. I'm really in a budget so I don't go overboard on spending. I'm glad I found this cool items that are on my budget. Still I have 4 reunions to attend this month so I must stay with in my spendings.
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
5 Dec 10
I'm not quite done with my shopping yet because I haven't found the perfect gift for my mother yet. However, I do know what I am going to be able to spend for a gift for her.
• United States
2 Dec 10
Dorann- It's going to be tight here as well. I've been picking up very cheap gifts online and the store throughout the year but it still won't be as much as I read some people boasting about. The kids will each get one gift that they've been asking for all year, and a few little stocking things. Most likely the stocking stuffers will be socks, and things they need with a few added fruits, nuts, and chocolates. And when I mean tight, it will be tight. Between bills, debt payments, and keeping food on the table that is about all we have. I've been stingy on some things just to make sure we're able to do the Yule. All of our decorations are ones we've had for ages, most of them given to me by my mother, and the rest hand-made. We are not having a tree this year because we simply cannot afford to get one. I'm going to go with the Fare for All food again for the Yule. I picked up the Thanksgiving basket meal of theirs for $30 and the Christmas basket is approximately the same so that is one full meal (I cook) for $30. That's not too bad and won't break the bank. I have to say I feel we've been very blessed (putting forth the good energies). Even if my family doesn't live in the richest neighborhood, wears hand made clothing, and only gets one or two gifts each year at the Yule we are happy. We have our needs met, and we always end up with one or two special new things each year that we treasure. Namaste-Anora
@dorannmwin (36696)
• United States
5 Dec 10
Our family is similar in that we don't live in the richest neighborhood (but at least we do have a roof over our heads) and have the newest and best name brand clothes (we buy a lot from yard sales and consignment sales). However, we do try to do the best that we can for the children. My only desire is that I will eventually be able to do more for them as they grow older than my mother was able to do for me. They are both big dreamers and I would like to help them make their dreams of becoming a doctor and a veterinarian eventually come true.
@cutepenguin (6458)
• Canada
23 Dec 10
I used Amazon gift cards to get people books, and airmiles points to get Starbucks gift cards. We used coupons for some clothing purchases, and I sewed a ton of presents during the summer. We're trying really hard to be very frugal this year, but because we have so many people we exchange gifts with, it's very difficult.
@thedaddym (1737)
• United States
20 Dec 10
Well, my wife pretty much does all the Christmas shopping and she just informed me yesterday that she went way over budget. We really need to plan for Christmas more in the future. She felt bad and was crying about it, and I felt bad for her, but going forward we just have save more and spend less in the years to come at Christmas time.
@ladym33 (11009)
• United States
19 Dec 10
I am ashamed to say that I failed miserably in stretching pennies this holiday season. I have two teenagers and everything they wanted was high tech. It was hard not spend good money on things they wanted. I tried to avoid picking up lots of extra stuff, but with all the people we have to buy for it was hard to stay in the budget, so I am afraid I get an F this year. My challenge will now to be pay everything off as quickly as possible and January will be a very frugal month for me and my family.
@cher913 (25895)
• Canada
9 Dec 10
i have sold items on ebay and bought stuff from there, plus, i shop at thrift stores and have made a few things. I am making victorian cones for Christmas plus i made an afghan for a daughters friend. i make gift tags, bag them and give them as gifts, make chocolate spoons (chocolate dipped spoons with sprinkles on them) etc...