A Modern Day Fairy Tale

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Christmas on a Budget

It's the most wonderful time of the year... but it's also one of the most expensive! From decorations to travel to gifts... all of these expenses can add up quickly!

So, today I wanted to share just a few of my tips for surviving the holidays without breaking the bank.

Start Early.
Okay, so it might be too late to accomplish this one this year, but in the future beat the holiday rush by shopping throughout the year. Many toys actually go on clearance right after the holidays...and again towards the end of summer to clear out for new toys for the holidays!! I personally start checking for sales come January. I shop for birthdays first (my kids' birthdays are in August), and once I've finished shopping for that, I immediately move on to Christmas. By looking throughout the year, not only are you able to find great deals, but you are also spacing out your spending so your budget is taking less of a hit at one time.

Enter Giveaways.
Giveaways can be a great way to have the chance to win some amazing holiday gifts. I personally love gift card giveaways for this, as they allow me to purchase whatever we need, but have found many great toy/dvd/book giveaways that make amazing gifts as well. It's not guaranteed, of course, but if you're lucky enough to win, this can be a great way to stretch your holiday budget further!

Black Friday.
I like to try to have the bulk of my holiday shopping done BEFORE Black Friday, but let's be honest...the sales are WONDERFUL! If you're brave enough to fight the crowds, it's certainly a great way to get great gifts and a great price! Don't want to brave the stores? Some stores offer Black Friday prices online as well!

Price Match.
Find a great deal, but your store is out of stock? Price matching at a different store can be a great option! Walmart and Best Buy are both great for this, and can reduce your gas usage by allowing you to shop in one store as well. Personally, when possible, I love price matching at Best Buy...we get great prices AND earn points as reward members! Which leads us to...

Rewards Programs.
Best Buy, Sears, KMart, Toys R Us...these are just a few great stores that offer great rewards programs that allow you to earn money back for the purchases you make!

While most of these tips focus on getting the best deals in store, making your own gifts can be another great money saver- and a great way to show someone how much you care! Not crafty? That's okay! Bake cookies, buy an inexpensive mug and add a hot cocoa mix, take a photo of your little ones and frame it for the grandparents! The possibilities are endless!

Check Dollar Stores.
Now, my dollar store of choice is the Dollar Tree and admittedly their toy selection is not that great. However, things like stocking stuffers? They're ideal! They also have a really good selection of decor items as well. Stockings, ornaments, candles... these are all great items you can pick up for a fraction of the cost. This is especially great if you're like me and enjoy mixing up your decor each year.

Shop Thrift Stores.
No, I don't mean shopping for gifts at the thrift stores- although it can certainly be an option. Goodwill often gets toys that have been clearanced out and gone unsold from stores like Target, so you can actually find brand new toys! But really this tip is directed more towards decor and holiday outfits! Yard sales are also great for this, and because they are typically help during the summer when people aren't in Christmas shopping mode, you can usually get some amazing deals this way.

Watch Deal Sites. 
Coupon blogs and deal sites can be an excellent resource to keep up to date with all the deals. There are many great ones out there, but my go to lately has been Dealspotr. It's a very social site with deals uploaded by users, so there seems to be a wide variety and easy to find deals... like these:

What tips do YOU have for Christmas shopping on a budget?


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