If you haven’t been keeping up with the Budget Christmas Challenge then feel free to check back at the previous posts. The Intro will let you know what it is about, Challenge #1 gets you started on your Christmas list, Challenge #2 asks you to organize and find all the gifts you have bought so far this year! Challenge #3 showed you how you could earn Amazon gift cards in order to help pay for specific gifts.
I also post a Budget Christmas Roundup of all the gift deals I found that week! You can save a lot of money at Christmas time, but you don’t have to get “cheap” gifts to do it 🙂
SWAPPING TO SAVE MONEY
Swapping can be one of the best ways to save money. The key is to know who you are swapping with. One very good swap sites is Diaper Swappers (no, they do not only swap diapers – but it is geared towards moms). You can also swap with friends, family members, your church, etc. When swapping for Christmas gifts you just need to make sure you do not swap with somebody you are going to give a gift too 🙂
I am involved in a monthly swap and it is always a “special” swap at Christmas time. Only new items are allowed. I managed to get a few more things for people on my list!
UPDATE ON MY LIST!!! (If you are on my list, please do not read this)
I make a natural “Vicks” cream that I swapped for a little girls dress up fairy dress. I make a natural migraine cream that I swapped for a new “Eco” water bottle and a wooden ketchup/mustard play set. Finally, I had a new Elmo computer game that I swapped for a custom set of Unpaper Towels. This allows me to cross out one more person on my list and add partials for three more!
I also bought six custom coin purses to add as partials to peoples list. That cost me $11.97.
Finally, I bought a wooden play kitchen from USToys on sale for $37.87 (from $89) and a wooden play refrigerator for $33.55 (from $79) for DS along with a bike from Toys R Us for $37.88 (from $50). I think his grandparents want to get him one of those, but for now I am going to keep it on our list just in case they change their mind.
The following gifts are only the ones that are completed:
Gift #12 – I always go overboard for my son and I will probably buy some more, but I really enjoy shopping for him. He has the wooden play kitchen (last year we got him the homemade kitchen, which he loves but is outgrowing – I do recommend that one if you are trying to save money though). The wooden play refrigerator, the bike, a wooden pizza set (I got this in a trade), 3 Baby Signing Times videos (I bought these in a coop for $14.40 each after shipping/fee), Chutes and Ladders (leftover from last year), two books (trade), Melissa/Doug wooden ABC 123 blocks (free from an Amazon deal), 7 hot wheels (trade), 3 Clifford books ($0.10 at a garage sale), Wild Animals 3D puzzle (from the zoo with our discount – $1.29), 5 workbooks and coloring books ($0.20 each from a sale earlier in the year), 3 coloring/wipe off teaching mats ($0.10 each from a sale earlier in the year), a wooden kitchen/mustard set, Polar Bear 123 game, and a VTech game we bought in a set a couple of years ago, and a personalized Christmas book (free from a deal last year, I missed it when I was wrapping).
Total cost = $155.39 (retail value $427.70)
Gift #13 = A custom dress up fairy dress (trade)
Total cost = $0 (retail value $10)
I now have 13 gifts done and 14 to go. I have partials done on two of those. I have spent $180.45 on the gifts I have done and the retail value is $732.02. That is a 75% savings so far. I had $210 budgeted for the people I have bought for so far so I am up $39.55 – which is wonderful because as I get to the end of the list it gets harder!
I was hoping to keep it at $150 for my son, $85 for my hubby, $40 for the bigger gifts (parents, etc), and $5 for everybody else (Aunts, Uncles, nephews, etc). That gives me a total budget of $500 (27 people to shop for is a lot!).
The retail value for “everybody else” should at least be $10, but I like to shoot for $25. The “bigger gifts” retail value has to be at least $50, but I like to shoot for $100. I just try to get good deals for my son and hubby.