Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Making your [frugal] family Christmas list

Christmas shopping is in full-swing. This year, as you make your wish list, make sure you check it twice for gifts that will help you stay within your budget (whether you're a family on one or two incomes)! Take a look at these suggestions:

- A bread maker. This appliance has been so helpful to us. We never buy bread anymore and homemade costs less than $1/loaf. Rolls are so yummy and can easily replace an expensive store-bought snack. The kids love 'em!

- Gift cards for dining out. If you're like me, you probably still enjoy an occasional night out but never want to spend the money. Having a few gift cards on hand will definitely be useful!

- Cloth diapers. If you've got a little one at home, a nice supply of good cloth diapers can do wonders for easing your budget. You don't have to commit to using them all of the time, but even just using them half of the time will save money.

Warm attire. This sounds kind of silly but the reality of it is that paying to heat a home is expensive! If you're keeping the heat a few degrees higher than you really need to for the sake of comfort but your budget is suffering, consider wearing an extra layer. If the kids have socks, slippers, pants, feet-y pajamas, turtlenecks and sweatshirts that should be a nice, warm assortment. You might also consider asking for heated blankets or sheets to warm your bed before you get into it at night. You don't have to leave it on all night, just use it for a little to get things warmed up. If you're not nuts about heated blankets than consider adding a down comforter to your list instead.

- Clothing necessities for the kids. If your kids need a new jacket, ask for a new jacket. If your kids need mittens, ask for mittens. If your kids need snow boots, ask for snow boots. If your kids need underwear, ask for underwear! (You get the idea.)

- Subscriptions or memberships. Ahh, gifts that keep on giving. Netflix, Amazon Prime, ShopRunner, HuluPlus and BJ's/Costco/Sam's Club are just a few wonderful ideas.

- Educational supplies for kids (workbooks, manipulatives, flash cards, paper, pencils, craft supplies). Having the right resources can make teaching your children at home a breeze. Kids enjoy sorting wooden clocks and playing with flashcards and don't even realize they're learning! Having these supplies on hand are also helpful for those "I'm bored!" times and can help deter the unnecessary running around wasting money on trying to amuse your little rascal.

Roku. This is another great gift for those without (or looking to get rid of) cable. The little device connects to your TV and allows you access to hundreds of channels for free. Some of the channels we enjoy include TheGymbox, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), Weather Underground and Sermon Audio.

You might be thinking, but asking for underwear is no fun. And, that's where you're wrong. If by receiving underwear for Christmas this one day a year means that the other 364 days of the year you will be able to spend more time with your children, then I say that underwear is the perfect gift! Happy list making!

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