So many of you shared so many GREAT money saving tips, I’m still wading through all (750+) of them! I’m excited to post my top ten (who were chosen by random.org…one day when I have a staff of assistants we’ll actually go thru each one…) because not only do each of them have awesome tips, they are winning a small consolation prize as well. I’ve also chosen the winner, and she’s been contacted, and I’m excited to hear about all the winners of the ElevenMoms contests, and so thrilled that so many families will be blessed by this prize thanks to Nickelodeon and WalMart.
So much effort was put into this, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the giving nature of all of you (and my own commiseration of the great need so many of us have). Without further adieu:
“Hey Arianne ~
Just like so many others, our expenses are going UP and since my husband hasn’t rec’d a raise in two years, we’re kinda sorta going backwards (are you as thankful as me that gas prices have dropped like a hot potato??!). We’ve never been extravagant at Christmas, trying to avoid the excessive consumerism…this year, even more so.
One of my favorite gifts I gave was last year, when I gave every family in our extended family a Thankful Box (& poem that explained it). Evey box was unique, and I bought them when they were 50% off at Hobby Lobby :). Here’s a link to what I’m talking about; remarkably, people google “Thankful Box” year ’round and land at PENSIEVE :).
Thanks for the opportunity to win; IF I was so lucky…I’d use a small portion for us and have FUN sharing it with those who are in great need…:)”
2. Joyce Miller
“I have always been as frugal as possible even when it was easier. but for my son to go shopping for me and his grandma I give him 40.00. but 5.00 of that he has to give to the charity of his choice in all of our names. he learns that giving is most important at this time of year. this year he chose to help abandoned and neglected animals and he asked us if he could do 15.00 of course we agreed and were happy to see him find a need to fill his heart.
we also make our own gift tags out of old cards we got from last year and cut them up, we always personalize them with lots of love.
also we use the handled brown paper bags some grocers have and we paint or stamp them and use them for gift bags.”
“During the holidays, I like to dye newspaper and use it as wrapping paper. It looks really awesome and vintage. All of my relatives love it.”
“One of my sisters is newly married. The other has been married for a while, but just moved across country to a new job. Neither seem to be in a routine of cooking meals regularly in the evening. (And who am I kidding — I’m barely there myself. If it weren’t for the 22-month-old wanting regular meals, I’d still be eating cereal in front of the tv at 8pm.)
So for Christmas, I’m going to go through some of my recipes that are yummy and easy — I’m pretty lazy and like recipes with the fewest ingredients possible! And I’m hoping to put together a months worth of evening meals for them, complete with weekly shopping lists and prep instructions (ie – put chicken in fridge to thaw before bed tonight so you can use it tomorrow evening). I hope they like it!”
“I always do a Google search before shopping online. I search in the blog category of Google for the particular merchant I am shopping at (i.e. Target, Old Navy…ect..) and look for “Target coupons” or “Old Navy coupons”. Bloggers are always offering the best deals, and I end up saving 5,10,15 sometimes up to 50% off!”
6. Shelley M.
“We have a very large family (that is growing quickly) so we have come up with a new tradition of only buying gifts for the kids and then we all bring one $20 gift that we wrap and put into a pile…and we play a game and each person goes home with a present. It is fun and we just enjoy each other – there is always laughing and board games and card games and good food. It is all about family.”
“I think Christmas is extremely difficult in our culture. Every time you turn on the tv, open the newspaper or listen to the radio you are told of all the things that you need that will make your life better, fuller and your children smarter. And if you don’t buy said item then your children are destined to a life of being “dumb as rocks”. I know so many people that have gone in to debt at Christmas (and we are talking big debt year after year) because of feeling the need to give big gifts.
So last year we chose to give our kids just three gifts. Something to play with, something to read and something to wear. We warned them several months in advance of the change so that they weren’t devastated. It was amazing to watch them carefully edit their lists to the things they really wanted vs everything they saw. We were hoping to teach them a lesson about how Christmas isn’t all about gifts and greediness and ended up saving money in the process. Both my husband and I felt great after Christmas with no holiday debt hangover.
We are doing it again this year! It is fun to carefully find one special gift instead of buying just to buy!”
“I had a life lesson placed before my childs eyes just this past Saturday at the grocery store. There was a homeless person with a backpack and sleeping bag on his back and he was fumbling through his pockets to come up with enough change to pay for just a loaf of bread.
This was a great lesson for my daughter to see that there are so many hurting people and that we are so blessed.
All of that to say that I think it’s great to actually use some of your Christmas money to help out a charity and show your children what the real meaning of the season is. If they see it with their own eyes I think they will want less and that in turn will save money.”
“I absolutely love to pick out the perfect gift for my friends. It brings me such joy to give gifts that I have put a lot of thought into.
Unfortunately, this year has been a difficult one for my family. Not only has the economy been tough, but our 2-year-old daughter will be having her third open heart surgery at the end of December. Needless to say, money is TIGHT!
I thought and thought and thought about what gift I could give my friends this year on our budget. My dear, sweet friends who have been there for me through good times and bad. The ones that I could not live without. This is what I came up with. I am writing each one of them a personal letter detailing how much I treasure their friendship. I have counted on these ladies so much over the last few years and though they know I appreciate them, I don’t think they realize just how much they mean to me.
I have recently received such a letter and it meant the world to me. It is a letter that I will alway keep tucked away in my bible so that I can pull it out anytime I need to be reminded that someone loves me. This means much much more to me than one more trinket to take up space in my already cramped house.
I hope this helps. I wish you a very Merry Christmas!”
“Amongst a few close friends, we did a clothing/toy swap.
We picked nice clothing, in excellent condition that the kids have outgrown and toys that they either didn’t play with anymore (or sometimes never played with) or outgrew.
All items had to be clean and look really nice and we didn’t worry about prices of items, just to get rid of things you didn’t need in your house and perhaps finding nice stuff to use as gifts for yours. Last year I was able to regift a gorgeous crystal vase for my mother in law.
It’s free gift-giving and a cleaning extraveganza at the same time.”
All such great tips, right? Nine of these ladies will be receiving a little something from me in the mail, and one lucky winner will receive the $500 WalMart gift card. That person is:
Number 5=Carrington! Congratulations!