EASY Last minute Christmas gifts

Today is December 17 – Christmas is roughly one week away! And believe me, I do enjoy my plotting and planning when it comes to gift giving for the holidays.

361px-Dr.Evil3.jpg

Photo courtesy MBisanz via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

It’s all in good fun, of course, planning what to buy and what to give, and maybe even sneaking in a gag gift here or there.

But sometimes the days just sneak up on you and before you know it, you’re in a position where you’re trying to figure out what to buy at the last minute. Maybe you’re not even buying a last-minute Christmas gift – maybe you’re celebrating Hanukkah a week or so late – pushing out a get together after the actual celebration has passed, and you STILL haven’t bought your gifts!

So, if you’re in a pinch trying to figure out what to buy, check out these easy last minute Christmas gifts that could work for several people on your list.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

A Few of My Favorite Dollar Store Things

It’s Christmastime and your days may be filled with various festivities. Whatever you’re doing, hopefully you’re feeling some holiday cheer. Perhaps you’re decking your halls, or making preparations to entertain guests. Maybe you’re doing some Christmas shopping to give gifts for an office party or family get-together.

With all this hustle and bustle that’s bound to be on your calendar, I’d love to share with you a few of my favorite dollar store things. This might help you save a little bit of money while you’re out and about doing your standard holiday shopping.

Dollar Store Cough Drops/Throat Lozenges

793px-Ricola_Bonbons

These are truly a must-have given the beginning of brutally cold weather and the inevitable cold and flu season it brings. I personally prefer a Vitamin C throat lozenge rather than the traditional “cough drop” that has the expected medicated taste. Regardless of what you use, you can stock up on a few bags of cough drops or Vitamin C throat lozenges at the dollar store for around a dollar a bag before anyone in your house gets sick, saving you a trip and the added cost the grocery store will charge you.

Dollar Store Tissues

SONY DSC

Again, not a “fun” item, but fighting a cold or flu is never fun, and these things tend to circulate during the colder months. While you’re out and about doing your normal shopping, it doesn’t hurt to stock up on a box or two, especially if you’re having visitors over who may need them. Tissues are another item that the dollar store beats out the grocery store on – for one box, you can normally pay about a dollar or $1.25, without having to watch for sales.

Gift Bags for Christmas Gifts

bag-3836460_960_720

I haven’t done as much early Christmas shopping as I usually do, but I lucked out at the dollar store with cheap Christmas bags – 50 cents each! Look for gift bags in solid red or green or even plain brown, as these are “plainer” and they don’t have the embellishments found on Christmas bags – you probably won’t pay as much because you won’t be paying for a logo, glitter, writing, etc. Depending on the size, unless it’s a large bag, you can get gift bags at the dollar store for $1 each. And, after the holidays, you can start stocking up for next year! After the holidays, I watch for prices on gift bags and wrapping paper to drop so I can put some aside for the next year – so I’m shopping in January for NEXT Christmas because the prices are so good. I can pick up some gift bags or wrapping paper, put them in a storage container, and forget about it until next year!

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

Staying on Budget at Christmastime

christmas-234105_960_720.jpg

Did you go shopping on “Black Friday”? Do you plan to look for deals on “Cyber Monday”? Either way you look at it, it’s official: the Christmas shopping season has begun.

Each of us is different when it comes to how Christmas spending impacts our wallets. Maybe for you, Christmas is a time of great fun and you don’t mind going into debt for Christmas spending. Or, maybe you do mind – and you mind greatly – so much so that Christmas shopping stresses you out!

Regardless of where you stand on Christmas spending this year, my hope is to give you a tip or trick here or there that you can use not just at Christmas, but all year round. Take what you want, and leave out the rest. Because I remember all too well a Christmas working in retail – with a great employee discount – and before I could wrap up all the presents, I had to instead decide which I would take back. I had gone overboard. It was so much fun picking the presents, but I couldn’t afford them! I had to return many gifts, before they were given.

There can be so much pressure with Christmas. Pressure to show how much you care with how much you spend. So, in general, here’s the strategy I use to have fun, without going overboard:

  • Before spending on anyone, decide the dollar amount you’ll be spending on everyone. If you have one gathering for immediate family, and a different gathering for extended family, and your spending is very different for the two groups, that’s fine, just decide before you buy what you’re spending on everyone. Write it down if you have to. For example, you might decide that spending on your immediate family is $100 per person, or that spending on your extended family will be $200 for the entire group.
  • As you look at how many dollars each person “gets”, think about the number of packages. I’m not saying this counts, but I know some people that are really bothered if one child gets two gifts, and the other gets four… even if the monetary value for both people is the same. If this is you, think before you buy so you don’t stress yourself out.  The holidays are supposed to be fun, and they’re not supposed to make you feel guilty because of your gift-giving skills.
  • Write down a list as you make your purchases and next to each item, write down how much was paid, so you can keep track.
  • If you go overboard like I did my year working retail, it’s ok to take some items back before you give them.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

How to Pay Less for Christmas gifts

9084-a-beautiful-young-woman-with-a-christmas-gift-on-a-white-background-pv

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. For all the pretty packages under the Christmas tree, there can be quite a price to be paid. When you’re trying to live within your means, Christmas can be a unique challenge. Christmas is lots of fun but from a financial point of view, it can lead to lots of spending because many of us are trying to show our loved ones how much we love them by spending lots of money on them.

So, in order to snag some deals, you have to be intentional. Retailers know that lots of us love this time of year and we’ll throw in extra purchases like socks, hot cocoa, wrapping paper… anything really if it’s got a snowman slapped on it.

You don’t have to get in over your head this Christmas… You can pay less for Christmas gifts this year, enjoy yourself, treat your family to some gifts they will enjoy, all while coming out with your wallet still intact.

How to be Charitable When You’re Broke

 

Dealing with job loss, unexpected bills, or other tough financial times can make Christmas a trickier time to navigate, financially speaking. As you look ahead to your budget, it might be awkward when people ask you to be charitable. The warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you help other people could conflict with the fact that you could use some extra money. But the good news is that if you’re between a rock and a hard place, there are ways to be charitable when you, yourself, are broke. There are three charities that I believe are doing great work, year round, not just at Christmas, that you can support even when you’re broke.

Goodwill

Goodwill_Industries_Logo.svg

The catchy slogan used in some of Goodwill’s commercials has been “good deals, good cause, Goodwill”. And it’s true – Goodwill operates thrift shops that fund programs for homeless veterans and people with disabilities. By providing job coaching services to people those with disabilities in a job search, Goodwill helps people achieve their full potential. The stores in my area offer special discounts every week, typically a half off everything weekly (some exclusions apply). Goodwill even holds auto auctions if you’re brave enough to take a chance on a car you’ve never drove. So whether you’re shopping for household items or just purging your closet of some clothes that no longer fit, you can be confident that you’re funding a good cause.

The Salvation Army

Salvation_Army_Thrift_Store,_Santa_Monica,_CA.JPG

This distinctively Christian organization has a very practical, relevant mission. Long before the heroin crisis gained national attention, The Salvation Army has understood how addiction can ruin lives. That’s why The Salvation Army supports people on a journey of recovery out of drug and alcohol addiction. If you or a loved one could benefit from free alcohol or drug treatment services, The Salvation Army may be able to help. When you donate goods or shop their stores, you are funding positive change in someone’s life. What better feeling than knowing that your donation or purchase can help give someone a better life?

St. Vincent DePaul

The Society of St. Vincent DePaul is a Catholic charity that works for the poor. Similar to Goodwill, you can donate goods to their thrift shops, and they also hold auto auctions. St. Vincent DePaul’s mission is to “end poverty through systematic change”, and they operate different programs in different states. In my area, one amazing program they operate is the Charitable Pharmacy, a safety net for people who have no other means of obtaining essential medications. So, if you’re upset about the state of healthcare, why just complain? Donate your junk to St. Vincent Depaul, a great charity that is doing something about it and helping people.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.