Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Gymboree Friends and Family Sale: Great Deals on Holiday Outfits!

Starting today and running through November 4, Gymboree is having a Friends and Family sale, giving you 30% off your entire purchase.  PLUS if you are a rewards member (or sign up to be one), you'll get an additional 5% off!  This makes for some awesome deals!  The 5% comes off automatically once you enter your rewards card number and for the 30%, use code GYMCIRCLE at check out.  It's free shipping over $75 (after coupons) or $5 flat shipping on orders under $75. 

I have been eyeing the above dress for my daughter to wear for Christmas.  1.  Because it's adorable and 2. because it has a coordinating outfit for my son that is also adorable.  It was $64 - way out of my price range. 

My patience paid off - I bought this dress today for $21.27 (before tax)!  It's on sale for $31.99, minus 30%, minus 5%! 

I also picked up the coordinating outfit for my son.  His outfit was more expensive than my daughter's dress!  And I didn't even buy the pants because I know I can find khaki's cheaper somewhere else!  But how cute is this?

Vest = $13.63 (was $32.95)
Shirt = $10.97 (was $26.95)

Besides cute outfits for the holidays, they also have great deals on fall clothes (which, let's be honest, can be used all winter long too) and summer clearance.  If you can predict what size your child will be next summer, you can get some steals!

Here are a few cute things I found:

This adorable pumpkin shirt will only be $3.98 after Friends and Family discount!

These sweet shorts for baby boys will be only $7.97 after Friends and Family discount!

As with any great sale, sizes may be limited, so I wouldn't recommend waiting until the last minute if you really have your eye on something. 

Happy shopping!

Happy Halloween!


Have a happy and safe Halloween!  Enjoy all your trick-or-treaters!

Five Easy Ways to Free Up Money in Your Budget

I have some ideas and suggestions on ways you can trim your spending from now until the end of the year to help free up some extra money to spend on the holidays.  Not every idea will be for you, but hopefully you'll find one or two that may help!

I really tried to come up with ideas that wouldn't be hard to incorporate in to your normal routine.  Keep an open mind as you read on...

1.  Hair maintenance:  I've already talked about the free haircuts at JC Penney, but there are other ways to save on hair maintenance for your family.  If you don't have a very short hair cut, you could try going a little longer in between hair cuts.  If you normally would have gotten two haircuts between now and Christmas, could you get away with just one?  If your husband has a buzz cut, could he cut his own hair?  If you dye your hair all one color, you could dye your own hair with a kit from a pharmacy.  They also have highlighting kits that they sell at pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens; if you're adventurous, you may try one!  Someone I work with has her daughter highlight her hair with a CVS kit.  Her daughter has no hair dresser training at all, she just follows the directions.  Whenever this woman told me her daughter highlights her hair, I couldn't believe it!  It completely looked professional!

2.  Groceries:  Can you spend just $5 less per week on groceries from now until Christmas?  There are eight weeks left until Christmas, that is $40 that you can either put towards a present or your holiday grocery bill.  $40 can go far when you're buying baking supplies and other holiday groceries. 

3.  Recycle bottles and cans:  If you live in a state where there is a deposit on cans and bottles, don't just put them on the curb for the garbage men to pick up; put them aside and recycle them!  They are worth $0.05 each!  We religiously recycle in my house and in my experience, three garbage bags full of cans (not bottles, as they take up more room) nets me about $20.  It takes 15-20 minutes to feed all the cans in to the machine, but $20 in 20 minutes is like making $60 per hour!  I'll take that any day!  Also, the people in my husband's office knows he recycles, so they regularly give him cans and bottles to recycle.  Every day my husband comes home a few extra cans and bottles to recycle - all those nickels add up! 

4.  Save the ones:  I've heard of people who put aside every single they get back as change.  If you use cash often, this could be a great technique for you to build up a little extra cash.  From the testimonies I've read about this technique, the people say they don't even miss the ones - it's an effortless way to save a little money!

5.  Eating out:  Depending how often your family eats out, can you skip just one meal out in both November and December and put that money towards your holiday expenses?  Conservatively, if you spend $30 on an average meal out and you skipped just two meals out between now and the end of the year, that's $60 to put towards a gift, travel expenses, entertaining, outfits for the holidays, etc! 

Even trying one idea should save you anywhere from $20-$50!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Clearance for Stocking Stuffers

I was in Target recently and they had a lot of alternate options to handing out candy for Halloween.  A few things that I saw were:

- Small containers of Play-Doh (a pack of about 12)
- Squinkies
- Lego packets

None of the items I listed above were halloween-themed, so they could easily be used as stocking stuffers.  So keep an eye on your Halloween clearance at Target (and probably Walmart too) for little items that aren't Halloween-specific that could be used for stocking stuffers.

Also, candy could be used as stocking stuffers as well.  Most Halloween candy comes in a large bag that may be Halloween-themed, but inside are individually wrapped, generic candy.  Keep that in mind as you're looking through the clearance.

Right now Play-Doh is offering a $1.50/1 coupon for those Halloween packs.  The coupon expires on 11/3, so you may be able to combine the coupon with clearance.  If not, I believe they were $4.99, so they would be $3.49 after coupon.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Yankee Candle Coupon: Buy 2, Get 2 Free

I love this coupon!  Yankee Candle is offering a coupon for buy 2 candles, get 2 free.  Yankee Candles don't go on sale often, so this is a good deal on these candles.  The coupon doesn't expire until November 25, so you have a while to use the coupon. 

If you'd rather shop online, you can use the code 2FREE at check out. 

Thanks, My Frugal Adventures!

Gift Idea: 100 Piece Mega Blocks for $10!

Right now, Walmart online has a 100 piece Mega Block set on sale for $10!  You can have it shipped to your local store for free. 

What a nice gift to give a child on your list!

Thanks, Money Saving Mom!

FREE $10 Gift Card (Facebook Offer)

Today is offering a FREE $10 Gift Card on their Facebook page.  Just click this link to request your gift card (it will be emailed to you). 

Use this $10 to help off-set your dining out budget over the next two months and use that $10 to put towards your holiday expenses!

Thanks, Money Saving Mom!



Swagbucks is a website/search engine that awards you with "swagbucks" for searching, doing surveys, taking polls, printing and using coupons among other things. You accumulate your swagbucks then you can turn them in for rewards.
My favorite reward is the $5 Amazon gift card for 450 swagbucks.
Once you sign up, you can refer your friends as well and you'll earn 1 swagbuck for every swagbuck they earn, up to 1000 swagbucks per person. You can also have more than one swagbuck account per household. So you could sign up, refer your spouse and when your spouse earns swagbucks, you'll be earning his/hers as well!
There are a ton of different ways to earn swagbucks, but my favorite (and least time consuming) are:
- Daily Poll: it takes 2 seconds and you earn 1 swagbuck
- NOSO: stands for no obligation special offer. Just click through them all clicking either skip or next offer and you'll get 2 swagbucks at the end. This takes under 30 seconds
- Searching: I look up some of my favorite websites through the search bar and after a few searches, I usually win. I tend to win anywhere from 7-12 swagbucks when I win, but I did once win 56 swagbucks - I felt like I had won the lottery! Ha. You can win once in the morning and once in the afternoon for searching.
That's all I do to earn swagbucks and I'm able to accumulate enough swagbucks to earn a $5 gift card about every month. I then use those gift cards to either buy Christmas presents on Amazon, or I'll buy household items we need from Amazon, then take that money out of our household budget and put it in our Christmas budget. Either way, the money earned from Swagbucks goes towards Christmas gifts :).
Give Swagbucks a try, you may be able to earn a few extra dollars to put towards gifts! You can sign up HERE.

Hurricane Sandy - Please Stay Safe

If you are in the path of Hurricane Sandy, as we are, please stay safe in the coming days!

Since power outages are quite likely in my area, postings here on Holidays for Less could be quite sparse until the power comes back on.  I have a few posts scheduled to go up though, just in case! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why I Love Carters

I read a lot of blogs about couponing and frugal living. I've read, on more than one occasion, that the way to save money on your children's clothing is to shop at consignment stores. I know that prices vary across the country, but I can tell you that the consignment stores in CT aren't cheap!

What I have found is that when you hit a good sale, paired with a coupon (there's always a coupon) at Carters, you can get brand new clothes for less than what you'd pay at the consigment store!

I love Carters!

And I love Carters not only for their great sale prices, but also because it keeps little kids clothes looking like little kids clothes. So many stores make adult clothes for little kids - especially for girls. So I love that Carters keeps the clothing age-appropriate.

Tonight I did a little shopping at Carters and boy did I do well! I bought the above three pieces of clothes for my son. Each outfit was only $5.59!

I then bought these Halloween pajamas for my daughter. I know they are Halloween, but since they are pajamas, she can wear them long after Halloween. And they have a tutu - need I say more?!

These were only $5.85! (PS - all Halloween stuff is currently 70% off. They didn't have a ton left, mostly pajamas, but if you're near a Carters, it may be worth checking out).

So that is my tip for the day - if you're looking for affordable, age-appropriate clothes for your children, head to Carters. And don't forget to bring a coupon!

If you do regularly buy children's clothing, I would recommend signing up for emails from Carters. They regularly send coupons via email. And you don't even have to print them off if you have a smartphone. Just bring up the coupon on your phone and read the cashier the numbers in the barcode and they will take the coupon off your purchase.

Also, right now (through 10/31), they are offering 25% off a $50 purchase or 15% off any purchase - just go to their website and print out the coupon (at the top in pink).

And... through the end of the year, every time you spend $50, they will give you a coupon at the bottom of your receipt for $10 off a $10 purchase! So if you buy a $10 item with the coupon, it's free!  You can also collect them and stack them together. The coupon starts the day after your purchase and runs through the end of the year. I earned one tonight, so I will be returning to find something for free or almost free!

Carters didn't sponsor this post at all - I just really do love shopping there and thought I'd share!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Why You Should Never Buy Themed Cupcake Liners

Yes, I'm going to devote an entire blog post to cupcake liners, but my point can be applied to all paper goods.

I once went to a birthday party in the middle of the summer where the cupcakes served had "Merry Christmas" wrappers on them. And no, it wasn't a Christmas in July party! I get that the host was just trying to use the supplies she had on hand, and I respect that, but Merry Christmas at a summer birthday party? It just doesn't fit.

This little story leads me in to why you should never by themed cupcake liners:

When you buy cupcake liners, you never end up using all the liners in the package, so you have a lot left over. What do you do with all those left over liners? Make 60 more cupcakes? Probably not. Save them for the same holiday next year, sure, but now you have cupcake liners that only serve one purpose. So when you go to bake birthday cupcakes, you'll be stuck buying more cupcake liners! And yes, cupcake liners probably won't land you in the poor house, but if you are trying to pull off a party or holiday for as little money as possible, saving a few dollars on the cupcake liners could make a difference!

So here's what you do instead:

- Buy polka dots

- Buy plaid

- Buy Gingham

- Buy solid

- Buy stripes

All of these can be used over again (just a caution on the plaid and stripes - make sure they are not specific to one holiday).

Here's an example:

For my daughter's 2nd birthday I threw a Candy Shoppe themed party. I bought these great polka dot cupcake liners in four different vibrant colors. They are adorable! Here's all the times I've used them:

1. For the aforementioned 2nd birthday party

2. The pink ones were used again on Valentine's Day

3. The green ones were used on St. Patrick's Day

4. The pink ones were used again for her 3rd birthday party (a pink Minnie Mouse theme)

5. The pink ones were again used for her 4th birthday party (a princess theme)

6. The blue and purple ones have been used on occasion as well for random times that we make cupcakes, where color doesn't matter

Now apply this theory to all of your paper goods and you'll soon have a wonderful supply of paper goods that can be used for multiple holidays, thus saving you on having to go out and buy new paper goods for every event you host!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bath and Body Works - Free Mini Candle this Weekend

From today through Sunday, Bath and Body Works is offering a FREE mini candle - no purchase necessary!

Go to the Bath and Body Works Facebook page and like them. You should see a recent posting from them announcing the freebie that says "claim this offer". When you click that, it will automatically send the coupon to you via email to the email address you have linked to your Facebook account.

You can either print the coupon or just show it to the cashier on your phone.

This is a great freebie! Here's how you can use it for the holidays:

- pick a nice scent you can burn while entertaining

- use it as a stocking stuffer

- use it in a gift basket you are making as a gift for someone

- donate it to a family in need/shelter

Update: I went to Bath and Body Works this afternoon to pick up my candle and it was easy-peasy! The candle was all I purchased - all I had to do was show the cashier my phone and I walked out with my candle! They had great scents for the holidays! I bought the Fresh Balsam pictured above.

Using Your Credit Card Rewards to Pay for Gifts

If you own a credit card with reward points, the holidays is a great time to use them!

Now, before I go any further, I want to clarify that I only think you should use a credit card if you can pay it off in full each month, otherwise everything you charged that was a "deal" is no longer a deal. And please, don't charge just to earn points. If you can't be trusted around a credit card, that's OK. I can't be trusted around chocolate (no, seriously), we all have our weaknesses. So if you don't use a credit card, just skip right over this post. :)

So back to the points... in my opinion, the gift cards that you can purchase through your points is the best bang for your "buck". I would recommend using your reward points in the following ways:

1.      Redeem your points for a gift card to a store that you know you'll be shopping at for gifts this season.
2.      Redeem your points for a gift card to a store and give that gift card as a gift (the gift card looks no different than the ones you get right in the store, the person receiving your gift will have no idea that you didn't get it directly from the store).
3.      Redeem your points for a gift card to a store that you do normal shopping at, so you can use those gift cards to off-set normal items you buy each month, therefore freeing up money in your budget to purchase items for the holidays.
Each credit card has different stores that you can redeem your points for, so take some time to check out your options. I would also recommend that once you decide you're going to order a gift card (or two!), place your order early. I find that the closer we get to the December holidays, the longer it takes to receive the gift cards.

Here are some ways I've used my credit card rewards in the past:
·         Last year I ordered $10 Starbucks gift cards to give to my daughter’s teachers
·         I’ve ordered gift cards to Kohls, Home Depot and Pottery Barn to give as gifts
·         I’ve ordered gift cards to Bed, Bath and Beyond to purchase new towels and even a Dyson vacuum (we had a lot of points accumulated at that point)!
So look through your reward options, look at your list of who you need to buy for this year and see if you can’t cross some of those names off your list by using gift cards through your reward points!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Shutterfly: $20 Off a $20 Purchase

Wow! Shutterfly is offering $20 off a $20 purchase from now until the end of the year! I don't see any restrictions on the code and I tested a few items and they all worked with the code.

Think holiday cards, photo books, personalized iPhone cases, photo mugs - the list goes on!

Head on over to Shutterfly and look around! I would recommend putting the item in your cart first and testing the code just to make sure it will work before you spend a lot of time personalizing something.

The code should work until the end of the year, however, if a deal gets an overwhelming response, they do reserve the right to end the promotion early. So don't wait until the last minute if you're going to order something!

Totsy: Melissa and Doug Blowout!

Have you ever shopped at Totsy before? It's a deal-a-day site like Groupon or Living Social, only it focuses on kid apparel, toys, etc. I'll be honest, I don't shop here often (even though they have great stuff) because their shipping is kind of high.

But great news... right now they are offering FREE shipping with any Melissa and Doug purchase! It looks as though the Melissa and Doug sale will be going on for the next four days. I would purchase early though, because once something is sold out, it's sold out, they don't usually re-stock.

They have a couple of different categories of Melissa and Doug stuff to look through. I saw some really great deals. The little dress up dolls above are a good deal at $10 shipped. My daughter has the ballerina one and she plays with it all the time. It's like magnetic paper dolls!

Totsy is free to sign up for if you haven't before, you just need an email address. So sign up and look through the Melissa and Doug items to see if there's anything for a child on your list!

Huffy Bikes only $34.99 Shipped Today!

Wow! Today Amazon has this Huffy 12-Inch Girls So Sweet Bike (Candy Pink/Bubble Gum) for girls or Huffy Boy's Pro Thunder Bike (12-inch, Silver/Blue) for boys for only $34.99 each with FREE shipping!

If you have a child on your list that could use a bike, this would be an impressive present! These are normally $64.99, so it's a $30 savings!

Amazon has been known to change prices quickly, so if you are interested in this, I would recommend to jump on it. Just make sure it's within your budget and it's something a child on your list could really use.

Remember, it's not a good deal if you don't need it!

Thanks, Couponing to Disney!

I've Made My Budget - Now Help Me Save!

So you've made your holiday budget and you're looking at the final numbers a little nervous about how you're going to do it all, right? If this is the first time you've ever put all the expenses of the holidays down on paper, it can be a little scary! The good news is that you are way ahead of most people - you have a budget for the holidays. The really good news is also that you have Holidays for Less to help you afford more this holiday season on less!

Here are some tips on how to make your money stretch a little further this holiday season:

1.      Keep an open mind. Be willing to try new ideas, new products, new ways of approaching things.

2.      While you've written down ideas of gifts for the people on your list, don't be married to those ideas. Be flexible. You may see a great deal posted for a product that would be perfect for someone on your list, but you would have never thought of it before!

3.      Cut corners where you can (there will be a more detailed post coming on this soon), where your family and friends won't even notice.

4.      Remember that a great deal is only a great deal if you truly need it. If you have no use for an item, even if it's a phenomenal price, it's no longer a great deal!

5.      Follow Holidays for Less for all the latest tips, tricks, ideas and deals!

a.       Also check out a few of my very favorite money saving blogs that focus on all the grocery store and drug store deals:





b.      I won’t be able to post every single deal out there, but if you check these ladies blogs, you’ll catch even more deals!

And remember, above all else, the holidays are a time to enjoy your family and friends, to make new memories and to honor traditions!  All the “stuff” that comes along with the holidays is second to the time you’ll be spending with those you love!

Ebates: Get Paid to Shop Online

If you aren't familiar with Ebates, it is a website that actually pays you to shop online! Once you sign up, you go to Ebates and then type in name of the store you are going to shop at. Ebates will bring up the store name and a percentage that they'll give you back on your order from that store. The percentage will vary from store to store.

Just today I bought a Christmas present and went through Ebates. The total of my order was $51.21 and Ebates was giving 6% back. So I'm getting just over $3 back just because I went through Ebates!

Ebates sends out their "Big Fat Checks" once per quarter as long as you've accumulated $5.01 or more in your account. If you don't have the $5.01 minimum, they will just roll that money over to the next quarter for you. There have been quarters where I don't shop online much, so they just roll over my amount in to the next quarter. It's very easy to use!

You're going to spend the money online anyways, you may as well get some money back on your orders! So sign up with Ebates today and start earning cash back on your online purchases!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

JC Penney: Free Haircuts for Kids Starting in November!

Starting November 4, JC Penney will be offering free haircuts for all children grades K-6 on Sundays! I would definitely book an appointment early, as they offered this during August and they were very busy!
Go here to find a JC Penney salon near you.
If you normally get your child's hair cut before the holidays at $15 plus tip, you've just freed up $15 in your budget!
Even though the hair cut is free, please remember to still tip your child's hair dresser!

Making a Holiday Budget - Part 2

Yesterday we talked about narrowing down your list of gifts to purchase this holiday season and establishing how much you were going to spend on each person on your list. Today we're going to talk about the rest of the money spent during the holidays and how to budget for it.
You will probably spend the most money this holiday season on the gifts you give, but there are still a lot of other expenses that come up during November and December that many people don't think about... until the bills start rolling in!
Here are some other areas that you'll likely spend money this holiday season:
1.     Travel - whether it's by car, plane or train, if you're traveling at all during the holidays, you'll be paying extra money. If you have to buy a plane or train ticket, write that expense down. If you are driving extra miles, write down an approximate cost for gas. You'd be surprised how easily you'll go over your fuel budget during November and December with just an extra trip or two visiting family that is just out of the area.
2.      Entertaining - are you throwing any holiday parties or hosting one of the major holidays? If so, you'll want to budget some extra grocery money for the months that you'll be entertaining guests. And don't just factor in extra money for food, you'll probably need to factor in extra money for alcohol as well.
3.      Baking - Do you bake a lot during the holidays (I do!)? If you just go out and buy all the ingredients for a certain recipe at once, you'll pay top dollar for most of the ingredients in the recipe. However, if you spend a few minutes now to figure out what you want to bake (I'm sure you have some staples that you bake each year!) and write out what ingredients you'll need, you can start to pick up the ingredients as they go on sale and save yourself some money. For baking, you'll need to decide if you think you can just absorb the cost of the ingredients in to your normal food budget or if you think you need to add some additional money to the budget in November and December.
4.      Decorations - are you in need of new decorations this year? Lights for the tree? Lights for outside? Wreaths? Make sure you factor this in to your holiday budget.
5.      Christmas Tree - if you celebrate Christmas, do you buy a live tree? Where I live they run about $40 if you buy a pre-cut tree or $60 for a tree you cut down yourself. Add this to your budget if you put up a live tree.
6.      Electric Bill - if you put up lights and other electric-powered decorations outside or have lights on your Christmas tree, you will want to budget higher for your electric bill in December. Remember, the more lights/electric decorations you put up, the more you'll have to budget.
It can be overwhelming to think about all the extra money spent during the holidays, huh? This is where Holidays for Less comes in - I will be posting deals, ideas and tips that will help you reduce those expenses. My hope is that by following the information I post, you'll be able to have a memorable holiday season with a much smaller price tag than you've ever had before!
If you've enjoyed the content on this blog so far, I welcome you to follow me (on the right hand side) and stick around for a while! Once I hit 25 followers, I will have a give-a-way!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gift Idea: Photo Calendar for $5.99 Shipped

Now through October 26, MyPublisher is offering a FREE 12-month photo calendar to all new customers! Just sign up through this link and you will be emailed a code for your FREE photo calendar. You will just need to pay shipping, which is $5.99. That's an excellent price for a personalized gift for someone on your list!

Thanks, Money Saving Mom!

Gift Idea: Aeropostale Clearance

Aeropostale has a pretty good clearance going on right now and to make it even better, they are offering free shipping!

I found these sweatshirts for just $12.99, t-shirts (for both boys and girls) as low as $5.99, accessories under $5 and more!

Head on over to Aeropostale and see what deals you can find for the tween or teen on your list!

Thanks, Hip 2 Save!

Gift Idea: Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Right now on, you can pre-order the Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy - Fellowship of the Ring/Two Towers/Return of the King on Blu-Ray (Widescreen) for only $12!!!

Your order will be available for pick up at your local Walmart on November 20th. This would be a great gift for someone on your list!

Thanks, Couponing to Disney!

Making a Holiday Budget - Part 1

This will be a two-part post about making your holiday budget. Yesterday we discussed making a list of who you need to buy presents for and what you want to buy them. Today we're going to discuss setting a budget for how much money you will spend on gifts... and sticking to that budget!

So you've made your list - you have names of family, friends, neighbors, teachers, etc that you'll be buying presents for this year. Now I want you to look at that list and ask yourself two questions:

1. Did you buy a present for this person last year?

2. Did they give you a present in return last year?

The reason I tell you to ask these two questions is that many times we get in a routine of giving certain people gifts around the holidays; it's become a ritual, but you don't know why. Maybe it's a friend that you're not really in touch with any more. Maybe it's a neighbor that you've never really been close to. If this person didn't give you a present last year for the holidays, it means they are OK with not exchanging gifts and they would probably actually prefer if you didn't give them a gift this year.

I have an acquaintance that gives me a gift every year, even though I've told this person we do not need to exchange gifts. In the past I've given them a token gift in return, because I've felt obligated, but last year I finally decided I was going to stop. I wanted to send the message that I really meant it when I said I didn't feel we needed to exchange gifts any more. It just isn't necessary for the type of friendship that we have.

So listen to the messages that people are trying to send you. If someone didn't give you a gift last year and they are currently on your list, cross them off. Chances are you were buying them something they probably weren't going to use, so it is a waste of money all around.

Next I want you to look at the people on your list that are teachers, school bus drivers, mailmen, etc. What do you have written down as ideas for presents next to their names? Your gifts to these people do not need to be extravagant. I would recommend either giving something really practical or something edible. Don't buy them something just for the sake of buying them something, it's a waste of money.

Let's say you have two teachers, one mailman and two bus drivers to buy for this year. You could make quite a few dozen cookies for around $10, buy a festive plate at the dollar store, split up the cookies five ways and have a nice gift for each of them for only a few dollars per gift. Make sure to wrap up the plate of cookies nicely in cellophane with a festive bow - great presentation can make any gift look impressive!

Now lastly, I want you to look at the rest of the people on your list - probably your family and close friends. What ideas do you have written down next to their names? Are they realistic presents for your current financial situation? I want you to look at your finances and determine exactly how much you can afford to spend on each person.

Here's what I recommend doing: look to see if you have any money left over in October and how much you can budget for holiday gifts in both November and December. Let's say you have $50 left over in October and you can budget $100 in each November and December. This means you'll have $250 to spend on gifts this year.

Now continue backing in to this budget - write down how much you want to spend for each person on your list. Keep in mind, your budget for each person may vary. You may decide to spend more money on your parents than you do on your siblings. That will be up to you. But your dollar amount that you plan to spend for each person on your list needs to total to no more than that initial number ($250 in our example). Once you have your budget per person figured out, talk it over with your spouse. Agree on the numbers. This will be key to sticking to your holiday budget.

As you look at the list of family and friends to buy for, is it a really long list? Did you find that you couldn't afford to spend as much as you'd like on each person? Do you buy for a ton of nieces and nephews or cousins? If that is the case, I would recommend you suggest to that grouping of family that you do a secret santa or pull names and everyone just buys for one person. By doing that you may be able to spend more on that one person than you would have if you had to buy for everyone. This way everyone gets one nicer gift instead of a bunch of smaller gifts when budgets are spread thin.

And remember, the budget you set for each person is a goal to stay below, it's not a goal to hit. So for example, your budget for your sister is $50 and you want to buy her a set of Alex and Ani bracelets that will run about $50. But then you see a great deal on Holidays for Less on Alex and Ani bracelets and you get them for $35! This doesn't mean that you then have to spend another $15 on your sister so that you spend $50 on her. You're still giving her a $50 item. You can then allocate that $15 to another area of your holiday budget, if needed, or just save it!

Tomorrow we'll talk about everything else you'll need to factor in to your holiday budget!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gift Idea: Free Subscription to LEGO Club Magazine

If you have someone on your holiday shopping list who is a big LEGO fan, do I have a deal for you! You can sign up for a free 2-year subscription to the LEGO Club Magazine!

It will take between 4-6 weeks to get the first magazine. So sign the LEGO fan in your life up for the subscription now, snag the first magazine that comes in the mail and stick it in their stocking! A free stocking stuffer! Or if you're giving LEGO's as a gift to child, include this on top of the package!

This is a pretty cool freebie!

Thanks, My Frugal Adventures!