Christmas is like the world’s best day when you’re a kid – it’s a day of magic, anticipation, and excitement. When you’re an adult, though, Christmas can be a lot of stress on the budget. Each year, toy companies make “new!” and “exciting!” toys (mostly by, I’m pretty certain, repackaging last year’s hot toy in a fancy! new! box!), which can lead us to roll our eyes, wondering how long, exactly, the toy will last until it’s been broken, discarded in favor of the box it came in, or deemed “stupid.” Here are some frugal living tips for holiday shopping for the kids (or el ninos, which, I think, is Spanish for “The Nino” or “The Train. I took Latin, gimmie a break).
1) Holiday Shopping For The Kids: Toy Swap. You know that old exersaucer space-ship looking thingy you put your baby in for like 3 months because then you didn’t have to hold him for like a zillion.5 years? I do. It sat there, sadly unused now that my kids walk and run and kick the crap out of things, and I knew that Salvation Army has a policy in which they don’t accept donations of items that kids “sit in.” While I ended up giving it to my kids preschool, it’s one of those things I could’ve easily given to a friend to give to his or her child for Christmas. Same goes for toys – old toys that are in good shape, you can totally exchange with others so that everyone wins. No more dust collectors and no money spent!
2) Holiday Shopping For The Kids: Craig’s List. Okay, I’m still afraid of Craig’s List, but I’m pretty sure that there are some rad deals on toys there. I mean, if I ever got my act together, I’d totally drive out to some creepy strangers house for a DS for the kids.
3) Holiday Shopping For The Kids: Watch The Ads. Since so many companies want you to part with your cash during the holiday season, sign up at places like Target.com and ToysRUS.com so you get a newsletter (unsubscribe later, obvs) that details all of the specials they have going on. This way, you can keep your eyeballs on a particular toy you want, rather than simply blindly choosing (which is, apparently, BAD in my house.)
4) Holiday Shopping For The Kids: Think About The Age Of Your Kids. There comes a point when quality overrides quantity, and when that happens, you’re going to have to make sure you budget appropriately. But if your kids are still in, I HAVE THREE PRESENTS UNDER THE TREE! mode, that means that they’ll be much happier if you buy them a buttload of things from the dollar store (or in the Dollar Bins at my boyfriend The Target) and wrap them all up. Kids, man, they’re goofy. You could probably wrap up individual crayons and they’d be all WOW MAMA!
….until they hit the age where they’re all, “Where’s my Wii and new TV and blah blah blah.”
5) Holiday Shopping For The Kids: Deal Sites. I know, I’m always talking about my favorite deal site, SneakPeeq, but I freaking love it for reals. It’s fun. And many times, they do have children’s items on the site. If you “peek” a certain amount of times, you can get credits anywhere from a certain percentage to 10 bucks off any item (which happens to be going on TODAY, yo) and that can cut the cost of the item you want.