Money Talks, So Should You

Spent Mama: Last-minute holiday budgeting

Erin Guerrieri
by Erin Guerrieri , Dimespring 30 (@scoutingjoy)

I realize I’m behind the ball on this as “plan your holiday budget” posts were all hitting the internet months ago, but here I am. It’s just a few weeks before Christmas and due to a number of other events (baby showers, company soiree planning, etc.), I’m just now getting to the holiday shopping list. For someone who loves a plan as much as I do, this late planning makes me anxious, but I have a feeling I’m not alone.

Having a lot of kids can make for an intimidating Christmas list, but l’m looking at holiday shopping in a new light this year, and I think it will make for easier (and more affordable) holidays ahead. Going in, my goals are to save money and make meaningful purchases, so here are my thoughts:

READ: Top eight gifts that hold their value over time

“Used” is the same as “new-to-us”: There are a lot of items that are just as great used as they are new. Last year, we spent $30 on three perfectly sized scooters at a consignment store. We’ve also purchased birthday present bikes for my son and daughter on Craigslist. Shopping this way really wasn’t that much leg work, and we’ve saved a ton of money.

Group presents: I haven’t tried this yet and I can see some issues that will arise, but I’m considering buying some gifts for all of the kids to share. For example, I know they’d all love a play kitchen or a trampoline. This seems like a great way to cover a lot of bases without having more stuff.

READ: Blended Family Finances: Untangling holiday gifting as a blended family 

Waiting for the deals: I clearly missed the boat on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but that doesn’t mean that the deals are gone. I get e-mails every day about ongoing sales, and if I put items in an Amazon shopping cart, I get e-mails as the item prices change. And, there are a lot of ways to avoid shipping charges so I rarely pay for that.

Buying with intention: My kids already have more toys than they need and we strive to avoid excess so I really aim to buy gifts with intention, which means buying from local vendors and/or organizations who give back to the community. This isn’t always the cheaper way to buy gifts so sometimes it means I buy less, which doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

Are you a last minute shopper? How do you budget for your children during the holiday season?



Erin Guerrieri, aka Spent Mama, is a mother of four children (all under the age of 5) who blogs regularly about her journey as a mom on a budget. Erin is a member of the Dimespring 30, a community of bloggers sharing their thoughts, experiences and perspectives on personal finance.