7/17/08

Nifty Thrifty Thursday: Christmas In July Part 1




Celebrating the birth of our Lord should be a time for peace, family and celebration. Unfortunately, Christmas is one of the most stressful holidays for many people.





I hope to ease some of that stress for you by giving you as many ideas and resources as I can possibly squeeze into two posts. Wouldn't a debt-free Christmas be so much less stressful? A debt-free Christmas is possible, but it takes some early planning to make it happen. By no means do you have to start this right NOW, but DO start early. Let's get to it!



PS- I really tried to keep this short, but I get excited about Christmas! :o)

PLANNING FOR THE BIG DAY
~Start by setting your budget- yes, you have to have a budget. It doesn't have to be so tight it squeaks, but you at least need to write down a ballpark figure of what you want to spend. Having it in writing will help you solidify your commitment and make it more real.

If you don't have a Christmas club, you might want to divide your total budget amount by how many weeks left until Christmas and put that much away each week until the big day. For example- as of today, there are about 23 weeks until Christmas. If you put away just $25 a week, you'll have about $575 by Christmas! Put away $40 and you'll have $920!!!

Have trouble saving the cash? Buy gift cards or buy one to two gift(s) each week to label and store away. To help even further, wrap it and tag it before you store it! Just be sure to keep a list of what you bought for whom, keep the receipt in an envelope just for Christmas gifts and most importantly, WHERE YOU STORED IT! :o)


~Commit time each week to do a little Christmas prep. Take the time to do something each week that will save you time and stress later on. Some ideas:
-Find those Christmas cards you bought on clearance last year.
-Start addressing Christmas cards a few at a time when you have a minute or two.
-List all of the gifts you've collected in your gift closet or tub.
-Go through your wrapping supplies and figure out how much you'll have to buy this year.
-Work on gifts and cards you want to make.
-Make a batch or two of cookie dough and freeze the dough or the cookies!
-Gather stockings in a storage box and have them ready to fill.
-List and/or buy stocking stuffers.





~Go through your lists from last year. If you haven't kept them or don't have one, grab a small notebook you can take with you easily and start a new one.

If you want a ready-made, free printable organizer:
OrganizedChristmas.com
Flylady Holiday Control Journal
Mint Printables
Family Fun


Here are some of the lists I make in mine (or use the links above as a guideline):
People to buy for- include family, friends, service people, coaches, teachers, etc.
Who to stuff stockings for
Travel plans
Parties & events we usually attend
Foods I usually make


Menus for parties we host here
Gift checklist (bought or made/wrapped/where stored)
Attach an envelope for receipts!


THRIFTY HOLIDAY TIPS
~Buy a gift card for the grocery store you use most often. Put an extra $5 (or the amount you save with your coupons!!!) on it each time you go grocery shopping and by Christmas, you'll have an extra stash for baking ingredients or Christmas dinner!

~Make reusable gift bags out of fabric. Simple straight-line sewing and some pinking shears are all you need to make large and small fabric gift bags that can be used over and over. Make them plain or fancy them up by adding drawstrings or tie them with ribbon, yarn, cording or twine! What a great way to use your ribbon and yarn scraps! You might even find holiday print (or holiday colored) fabric at yard sales and thrift shops.

~K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Sweetie)! Don't worry about totally knocking the socks off of every gift recipient. The gift isn't as important as what the gift says. If the gift relates to a hobby or a moment you share with the recipient, it will be more of a hit than a random item that will just collect dust.
-Buy or make practical or consumable gifts if you aren't sure what to give.
-Give car wash or oil change certificates. Who wants to wash their car or change their oil at home in the winter?
-Give cash or gift cards, but do it in an unconventional way. Attach it to an ornament, give rolls of coins in a cool box, holiday cup or homemade fabric gift bag.
-Sign up for giveaways or freebies and use what you get for stocking stuffers or gifts! (BTW-Next week is the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival!)

So there you have Part 1 of Nifty Thrifty Thursday: Christmas In July. Be sure to come back next week when I'll pass on some more great tips to help ease the strain on your wallet and mind this coming holiday season.


PRODUCT COUPON LINK$
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Click here for a $1.00 off coupon for any Baskin-Robbins® Sundae!
Click here to visit a page with 4 coupon offers for Dawn Dish Washing Products!
Click here for a $1.00 coupon off of Chinet Casuals.

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BARGAIN$
Zwaggle is a great online consignment shop.
Websquare offers many of the latest online coupons and deals from stores like Dell, Office Depot and 1-800-Flowers!
Bradsdeals.com is a site that is full of coupons, coupon codes and the latest deals on the web!

FREEBIE$ (new additions to the freebie list are listed first)
Click here for a FREE sample bottle of Clorox2® Colors - Color Safe Bleach!
Click here for a FREE sample of Greenies Pill Pockets- an easier way to give pets medicine!
Click here for a Free Sample of Zostrix arthritis cream!
Click here to visit the FreeSamplesBlog!
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Click here for a FREE sample of Purex!
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Click here to sign up for a FREE sample of Sunsilk shampoo!
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Click here to sign up for a free sample of Tide with Dawn® StainScrubbersTM!
Get FREE magazines at lowpricesubs. No kidding!
Click here to visit Walmart's Free Sample page.
FREE sample of Aquaphor here! (This is one of my favorite products!!!)
Check out VistaPrint. They have monthly freebies listed under "Free Products" in the left hand column.
Please notify me of any broken, expired or non-working links. Thanks!

Join me every Thursday for more thrifty tips and links! Now get out there and $ave $ome money!!!

4 comments:

Jody--Zwaggle said...

Heather, thanks for mentioning Zwaggle.com today! And I wanted to add that when you register at Zwaggle, you receive 50 bonus Zoints that you can use immediately to acquire the items you want and need. Pretty nifty--and thrifty, yes?

Heather said...

Thanks Jody!

Hear that everybody? 50 bonus Zoints for signing up at Zwaggle! Very Nifty AND thrifty! :o)

Sandi said...

Heather, I found your post while searching for fabric gift bags. Thank you so much for all the helpful tips. I've bookmarked your post so that I can come back read it at leisure.

Heather said...

I'm glad you stopped by, Sandi! Thansk for the bookmark and nice comment. I'm also planning on doing a how to make fabric gift bags post in the future. Thanks for stopping by!