Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas on a Budget

I am not working (not something I am very excited about) and the funds for Christmas are...well, not even here yet!  My fiance is a sub-contractor in the construction business.  He used to have a partner, but he took a job back in August with the local power plant (a job my fiance is still trying to get) and since then, my fiance hasn't quite had the work we are used to.  As with any other "small business" construction worker, we live job to job (kinda like paycheck to paycheck....only a LOT more unpredictable).  When it's on, it's great! but when it is off....we struggle like poverty strickin' families.  We manage to keep the lights on and the rent paid....of course, not always when everyone wants us to.  We have NOT been forced to tell our children they can not participate in something at school or athletically because of a short fall in cash.  However, we have ZERO savings!  I mean, ZERO!  We spend every last dime he brings home, sometimes before he gets it home.  With me out of work since March of this year, stretching our dollars has proven to be VERY difficult.  But, like every other good financially aware couple, we DO have a plan!  That plan includes a big job getting started and FINISHED before the big December day!  Between now and then, he is picking up every small job he can find and I am loading companies up with my resume like it is going out of style.  The biggest worry during the holiday season for us, is not figuring out how to make it happen for four school age's keeping in mind that half of them have a birthday within 30 days of the big day!  Our middle son and only daughter have birthdays 12 days apart, the first coming exactly three weeks after Christmas! This makes the season a little more stressful, especially when we have to decide what we get for Christmas and what waits for the upcoming birthdays.

We are blessed to have kids that are grateful for every single thing they have.  Being the product of a teenage mother who married a very bad man; my kids have truly seen worse days.  So, when we broke the news that the one thing they really wanted wasn't going to be under the tree this kids responded with comments like "Mom, it's not that big of a deal; we do have a lot of stuff anyway," and "We can keep playing Dad's Xbox and wait for a better time to ask for our own." (Yes, an Xbox 360 with a Live membership for each of them is the one thing that topped their lists!)  Now I have free rein, with no lists and a super tight budget!  We are expecting to have $1,000 to spend (sounds like a lot...but that four kids, four stockings, four Santa provided gifts, wrapping paper, tags and bows).

BLACK FRIDAY! was a total wasted weekend for me....with the exception of the amazing deals on towels at Walmart, Target, and Kmart....and the items that although they were slashed in prices were still out of reach....NOTHING on sale fell within the desires of my children.  I will be a last minute shopper, that's for sure!

Tips for others on a budget!
TOYSRUS is doing an "ad match" deal, much like the ever famous Walmart situation...except that Toysrus ALWAYS have a better selection of toys.  They also have FREE layaway.  There are restrictions and such so be sure to check those out before making the decision to use it!

Kmart also has layaway, with a certain percent down but they will guarantee the price of the item at the time of layaway (good to know when they do a really good sale on an item you want but can't buy for a week or two).

Walgreens has several toys that are 3 for 13.98.  THIS is huge for me because when it comes to the boys...I tend to buy three of the same item when I know it is something they all will like!

Dollar General should not be underestimated!  I went to my local store to get some tuperware for the Thanksgiving dinner we were attending and like all normal children, mine wanted to venture down the small toy section.  They found several items that they were like "this is cool!" 

Tips for figuring out what your kids want!
I do this every year for birthdays and Christmas.  I take my kids, and the camera, to the stores (all of them because there are items that exclusive to Walmart, Target, Kmart and ToysRUs) and I take pictures of my kids holding an item they would like to have.  It makes shopping TONS easier and if you are needing to send a list or wish item to a relative (especially those who are on the up and up of having little ones), this makes THAT a lot easier too!

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