Monday, December 14, 2009

Free $100 Gift Cards!

Head over to Money Saving Mom and check out her post on how to win a free $100 gift card to the store of your choice! Perfect for that last-minute shopping or snagging some sweet after-Christmas deals!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Few Words on a Beautiful Thrifty Christmas

I almost titled this post, "A Few Words on a Frugal Christmas" to pattern after MSM's blog, but I realized that I just don't like the word "frugal." It sounds too much like "frumpy" to me. "Beautiful" and "thrifty" are much better words to describe Christmas!

Anyway, I have been quite preoccupied lately with things like laundry, babies, and of course, Christmas! But I thought I'd post briefly to let you know a few things I've done so far this Christmas to save some money.

1. Photo Christmas cards FREE from This was using a coupon code that was good a couple of weeks back- I only paid for shipping!

2. Christmas letter on plain white paper with just a small Christmas tree graphic at the top. Usually I splurge for the holiday stationary, but this year I decided to just keep it simple and inexpensive.

3. Family gifts rather than individual gifts. As those of you with large families know, it can get awfully expensive when you have 10 or more people to buy for! I won't go into details on the gifts, but let's just say that they're partially homemade, partially store-bought, and I used a lot of creativity!

4. Thrift store gifts- I am SO blessed to have a Goodwill outlet right near my house where everything is "pay by the pound" except books ($0.25 for paperbacks, $0.50 for hardbacks). I have been able to buy most of my children's Christmas presents from there, and they will be completely spoiled- and I've spent less than $30 on all of them! Some of my best finds include- 3 puzzles in like-new condition with all the pieces, a Dora the Explorer doll, a way cool dinosaur that roars and stomps its feet, a foldable vet's office playset complete with accessories, and a talking/singing Elmo phone. Not to mention a bunch of fantastic books (I even found a science book with a pop-up microscope!). We also found 2 bikes at another Goodwill store and paid $20 for the pair. My husband had to put about $10 of parts and some elbow grease into them, but now the kids will have "new" bikes under the tree on Christmas morning!
I must mention, I am very picky when it comes to thrift store shopping. I once had a cashier start chuckling when I went to check out and she said, "Oh girl, you knew what you were looking for!" because I had a cashmere sweater, Steve Madden shoes, and an Ann Taylor shirt. I look for quality items that have been gently used. If it's for the kids, I make sure it can be cleaned and sanitized before I give it to them.

5. Homemade for family and friends- my husband's family is even larger than mine, and so for them I simply made a handmade ornament for each family unit. A friend showed me a great idea for an "I Spy" ornament. You take a plastic ornament ball (the kind that comes apart into 2 pieces) and use doll filling inside for snow, then put in pieces of confetti and other small objects for kids to look and find. Attach a list of the items on a tag attached to the ornament with ribbon. So easy to make, and so fun for a family's Christmas tree! I will also be making treats- probably these Easy Decadent Chocolate Truffles for everyone.

6. Using last year's sale items- Every year I participate in a "Secret Santa" gift exchange. After last Christmas and throughout the year I stocked up on small gift items that I found on sale at very low prices. By the time Secret Santa time came around this year, I didn't have to do any shopping! Very nice on my holiday budget. I am also using wrapping paper I got on a deep discount after last Christmas- probably the nicest paper I've ever had to wrap presents with!

I hope you have gotten a few ideas of your own for this Christmas- again, these are just a few things I've done, and I'll be sure to post more if I think of any.

What have you done to have a beautiful thrifty Christmas this year?
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