Christmas is all fun and games until you grow up and you’re suddenly faced with the cost of it all. We’ve all been there: Having to prepare dinner, the decorating, the gifts, and who knew that Christmas trees were so expensive?! While there are many ways to save money during the Holiday season, like DIYing your own Christmas decor or purchasing ingredients in bulk, there’s one expense that is inevitable: Christmas shopping for kids.
The good, news, though? Kids have so much to look forward to during Christmas than just getting expensive presents. From baking cookies for Santa, to helping you pick a Christmas tree, and decorating the house.
Yep! For most children, the gifts they get are pretty much the cherry on top of an already perfect time of the year. You honestly don’t have to spend a ton to make your kid happy, and if you’re looking for ways to save when going Christmas shopping for kids, here are some really handy tips for my fellow frugal mamas out there!
A Frugal Mom’s Guide To Christmas Shopping For Kids
- Start at the beginning – Make a list of priorities for Christmas
Getting your kids presents is obviously a priority, but let’s not forget the holiday season can come with a pretty hefty price tag in every single aspect. Write down a list of things you’d like to purchase/spend money on. This might look different for everyone, but a few things to consider are decorations, a Christmas dinner, family pictures, holiday outings, etc.
- Organize your list and set a budget
Once you have that list, separate it into two columns: Not-a-must-but-would-like-to column and absolutely-need. This will make creating a budget for Christmas easier. Once you’ve budgeted for the absolute musts, you now have a clearer idea of what to budget for your kids’ presents.
Set a number and make sure you stick to it (and if there’s some money in your budget left over, move over to the non-essentials column because you, too, deserve a treat!)
- Start Christmas shopping for kid’s early
It’s not exactly a secret that price tags reach sky high numbers the weeks prior to Christmas day, and the best way to buy more with less is to do so early. Get shopping in November, if possible, and don’t forget that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are prime days to shop for less. Your kids don’t have to know that Santa took advantage of the crazy sales, after all!
- Use this simple tactic to get ideas on what your kids would like to get
Chances are your kids throw a TON of hints of the things they want to get throughout the year. Who hasn’t visited a mall without their kids throwing at least one tantrum trying to get you to buy a toy they liked?
Take them to the mall and let THEM tell you what they would like to get this Christmas. Of course, you’re not going to tell them what you’re up to, but a simple stroll through their favorite stores will suffice.
I know, I know, this probably sounds like a TERRIBLE idea but hear me out: Every time they point at something they’d like, tell them you’re going to take a picture of it so you can send it to Santa. This will keep them happy and it will also give you tons of ideas on what to get them.
Chances are you’ll get a pretty wide range of budgets to choose from, so you can later compare prices and decide what to buy based on the budget you created earlier.
And then there are the endless amounts of toy commercials that will be playing on TV. You little ones are sure to yell out “Mommy I want that!” once or ten times before the big day!
- Get Googling
Shopping at the mall can sometimes be pretty expensive, so get Google to help you out! Not only might you be able to find that toy they want for a lower price if you compare prices from several retailers, but you might also find one that is pretty similar at a different online shop. Research is key when it comes to being frugal, after all!
- Avoid impulse purchases
I know that making your kids happy is one of the best parts about being a mom, but avoid making any impulse purchases on the spot. Remember that budget I told you to create at the beginning? Make sure you stick to it. Think your purchases through and avoid making impulse purchases. Always wait a day or two before buying anything.
- Make a Santa Gift Box
If you don’t necessarily want to spend your entire budget on one single present, you can always purchase several, cheaper gifts and create a box of presents instead of getting them just one. This is a great way to let your kids know you (or Santa), put a ton of thought into their gift. Consider using my gift giving rule of four, when shopping for your kids:
- Something they want
- Something they need
- Something to wear
- Something to read
This is how I shop for my kids to make sure I am buying practical gifts for them but also ensuring they are happy with the things they get.
A few ideas for their sack:
- Small toys
- Hot wheels
- Coloring books
Remember what Christmas is all about
Most importantly, make sure to remind them that the spirit of Christmas is getting to spend time with those you love. That is what the Holiday season is all about, anyway!
Even if you’re not able to buy them the most expensive gift out there (or you’d simply prefer to save that money for a long-term goal that will benefit everyone in the long run), remind yourself that kids see the world pretty differently: they can find joy anywhere and the most expensive items at the toy store aren’t necessarily what they’ll spend hours playing with.
Something as simple as a made-up gingerbread house DIYs with boxes can turn into their secret hideaway, and perhaps they’d rather play with PlayDoh than get that Barbie Doll everyone has been gushing about lately.
Have you ever done Christmas shopping on a budget? What are some other great tips you’ve used to save money when Christmas shopping for kids during the Holiday season? Let me know in the comments section below!