Professional thief makes Christmas "things to steal" list
11 Christmas Shopping Tricks to Steal From Moms With Big Families
You don't need us to tell you that holiday shopping can be stressful — and the pressure is really on when you've got a giant gift-shopping list, but a not-so-giant budget. These moms all have four or more (orwaymore) kids — and they've also got their Christmas shopping down to a science. Try some of their tips this year:
1. Set aside money all year — not just in December.
It feels silly to start thinking about the holidays right after they end, but make it a New Year's resolution to commit to saving just a little each month for Christmas shopping. This way, your wallet won't hurt as much when December comes 'round again (as it always,alwaysdoes).
"I budget 0 for the gifts we buy our children, which means we have to save a month from January through October," says Danielle Dyball, a pregnant mother of five. "We don't always spend all of this, but it's nice to have a little extra — especially since our oldest child's birthday is December 29."
It might be a little late to start saving for this year, but good news! January is literally right around the corner. Look at that, you've already got a jump on next year.
2. If you see the perfect gift at a great price, pick it up — even if it's April.
Spot something for your youngestandyou happen to have a coupon? Get it! Who cares if it's springtime? This way, you'll get the best deals on exactly what you want, says Lisa Pennington, who writes about being a mom of nine on a tight budget at The Pennington Point.
"I keep a couple of large boxes on the top shelf in my closet where I store the gifts that I buy all year long," she says."I also keep a list of what I've purchased on my phone under a secret name (I can't tell you or the kids will find it!) so I don't forget what I've bought."
To pair this practice with your year-round budget, keep a tally of how much you've spent on gifts on that list, too. It'll help you track on how much of your annual gift budget remains as the months go by.
3. Or, at the very least, shop as early as possible during the holiday season.
When we reached out to Erika Shupe, mom of nine and blogger behind Large Families on Purpose, in early November, she was already 90% done with her shopping. "If nothing else, it allows us to truly enjoy the season without crowded stores or inventory shortages," she says. All of her shopping will be done before Thanksgiving, she adds.
If you stick to a set budget, it won't matter that you miss Black Friday sales (and many sales aren't new anyway). You might buy a few fewer presents, but that's actually a plus: Your money will go to just the thoughtful presents you know your family will really love — not stuff you bought just because it was on sale.
4. Buy in bulk on eBay.
Items are often listed on eBay in lots — and Kelly Crawford, blogger at Generation Cedar, knows to take advantage. "I often buy this way and get gifts very cheap," says the mom of 10 with another due in January. "Last year, I bought a lot of five Spiderman watches for just a few dollars each. I gave one to each of my young sons and had a few left for nephews. I also bought a lot of 36 pairs of faux pearl earrings for 11 cents each! Packaged in a pretty organza bag, these made great gifts for the girls in the entire family and I got to keep a pair, too!"
5. Don't be afraid to pay a little on shipping.
Sure, free shipping is great, but don't balk at shelling out a few bucks for delivery during an online check out. "If the shipping is under , I'll comfortably pay it," says Tsara Shelton, who has four sons. "At that price, I'm still getting a deal because I save on gas money, and I don't have to struggle with the feeling I get in the store of wishing I could buy my boys everything."
Plus, you'll save one of the most precious things of all: time!
6. Give experiences — not stuff.
"Big families don't need more stuff filling the house," says Lisa Qualls, mom of 12 and blogger at One Thankful Mom. Instead of unnecessary toys and gadgets that just lead to clutter, consider tickets to shows, a weekend vacation, or a family membership to a museum or aquarium.
7. A group gift might be the one your family loves the most.
"We will often do a big gift that several of the children will enjoy," says Amy Roberts, mother of nine and blogger at Raising Arrows. Last year, that meant a motorized dune buggy that seats two — talk about fun for all! Other ideas that Amy has entertained include a trampoline, zoo memberships, a swing set, and Netflix or Amazon Prime subscriptions.
8. Give the kids coupons instead of money.
No, we don't mean gifting your kid a coupon for off toothpaste. We're talking about the bigger coupon offers you can almost treat like a gift card: "I love stores — like Kohl's and JCPenney — that give coupons for off when you spend ," says Sandy Christensen, who writes about life with her 12 children at Twelve Makes a Dozen.
Christensen will let her kids shop the clearance racks — using coupons, not cash. "My daughter just took my 7-year-old son and he got half a dozen presents," she says. That's not a bad haul for coupon-shopping — and helps teach kids the value of a dollar (without spending much at all!).
9. Enjoy family time by handmaking gifts together.
The perfect gift doesn't have to come from the store, finds Jennifer Swartvagher, who blogs about her eight children at Beyond The Crib. "We love making handmade gifts for extended family members and friends," she says. "We make time during our holiday planning to work on these projects as a family."
In the past, her family has made ornaments, Mason jar cookie mixes, and decoupaged boxes and jewelry. They're all inexpensive to put together, and Swartvagher can always find coupons for her local art supply store, which help to cut the cost even more.
10. Don't worry about making things even.
Julie Sabo, mother of 14, starts with a budget — around or — for each kid. The kids write a wish list and she'll be able to buy up to three things off each list. "We'll usually get them toys, movies, video games, or clothes," she says. The key? "We wrap everyone's gifts in one package each, so that everyone has the same number of boxes to open — even if one kid gets one item and another gets three."
11. Focus on traditions instead of presents.
Renee Bergeron, mother of 14 and writer of Little Earthling Blog, keeps the presents low key and puts an emphasis on family instead. "We try to carve out time for a lot of family activities, including a huge cookie decorating party and a special Christmas movie night with a hot chocolate bar." The kids still get a few small presents — like candy, small toys or games, and movies that the whole family can enjoy — so they have something to look forward to on Christmas morning.
Video: How to shoplift
How to Plant a Palm Tree
Lyft buys Motivate, the company behind Citi Bikes and Ford GoBikes
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spent their six month wedding anniversary at the Royal Variety Performance
How to Use Your Mom Skills on the Job
Eat to reboot both your mind and muscle
Geoglyphs are somewhat of a phenomenon
How to Do What You Love
How to Become EMT Certified
Sporting a Fade Haircut is Cool
How to Cope with Vog
Tips That Will Help You Take Off Every Type ofManicure
DIY Teeth Whitening: The Best At-HomeTricks
7 Effective Ways to Improve Your Relationship’s EmotionalIQ
Some clients wont take her advice — and she refuses to work with them