Christmas is ahead and present plotting and planning are well underway for most families. When I was growing up Christmas in my family home was a pretty humble affair, there wasn’t any extravagance or excess.
Christmas presents never consisted of the hottest new toy on the market, but rather things that were practical and useful or encouraged learning or physical activity. Gifts were accumulated by my mum who hunted down bargains and sales and diligently put things on lay-by. As for any other gifts they were often second hand items like bikes, a see-saw and a basketball hoop that were freshened up or made by my very handy dad.
What were your childhood Christmas’s like?
Now as a parent myself I sometimes find it a challenge to prepare for Christmas with children who are lot more knowing about the world and what’s popular. I generally weigh up their needs and wants and try to give them a Christmas that is filled with things that follow this little rhyme: something they want, something need, something wear and something to read.
Surprisingly Christmas is the one time of the year that sees me do more retail shopping then any other time of the year, because quite simply not everything can be purchased secondhand and nor should it always be in my opinion. Not to mention that not everyone on my list likes vintage and retro items, and that’s perfectly fine it’s a personal preference. So in the months leading up to Christmas I go into super bargain sale hunting mode to get Christmas organised on a budget.
I use all my thrifty, crafty and bargain hunting know how to give everyone on our list something that is right for them. So if you’re looking at every way possible not to blow the Christmas budget yourself, here is my top five ways I shop, and things I do to make it a little easier:
* Buy gift cards in smaller amounts like $20 and $50 throughout the year when I have spare cash, for stores I know people like my in-laws like. Then closer to Christmas we purchase actual presents on the gift cards for them. For us it’s like a forced savings, as we don’t often shop at some of these stores for ourselves, so there is no threat of the money/gift cards being used for something else.
* Lay-by, lay-by, lay-by, I’m still old school and would much rather paying something off being held in a stores storage room then pop it on a credit card or blow the cash budget in one week. Putting on a lay-by when there is a sale can stretch your dollars further, but be careful with clearance items as often they can’t be placed on lay-by and need to be purchased in a limited time to gain the savings.
* Online shopping, I stalk online deals and sales websites like nothing else to buy items at far less then some physical retail stores. I often find that some of the major websites have flat rate shipping because of the volume and diversity of items they deal in, which makes it a cheaper way to shop.
* When and where possible I make gifts and or have them made for those who appreciate that type of thing, I also exchange services. I’m not the most proficient sewer and I can’t knit or crochet for the life of me, but I have loads of friends who can. Doing some trading of services with friends I can have lovely goodies made for my loved ones in exchange for handpicked and sourced vintage goodies for their loved ones.
* Share shipping and postage from other online retailers with friends and family. If you have friends with like minded interests and shopping habits and you’re intending on purchasing from the same online stores sometimes it’s worthwhile investigating shipping weights and charges. It can be far more affordable to place a bulk order and pay one shipping charge rather then multiples orders.
Finally for those who really do appreciate a thrifty approach or vintage treasures, I make it my mission to give them what they desire. In my crazy head I often think it would be so much easier to shop for everyone else in my life if they loved vintage as much as I do or a thrifty approach, but the reality is we all have our preferences and that’s completely fine. So I do my best to take as much care in buying all those I love and care for, things they truly would like whether it be retail, thrifted or vintage.
What does your Christmas shopping look like? Would there be outrage if you were to give a thrifted gift to a member of your family? If you shop retail for Christmas what are your approaches for making it an affordable Christmas?