Five Tips For Saving On Your Holiday Shopping!

Hi guys! Chantelle here, I must say, it’s been quite the summer. We camped, we swam, we vacationed, we rode roller coasters and we soaked up the sun! My kids have returned back to school this week and so for us summer is now the past. Are you still enjoying summer? I’d love to hear how your summer went or if you are still enjoying it, what will be your last “shabang” before school starts? Click here to let me know!

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With the transition to “Back To School”, and retail stores beginning to bring in Halloween costumes, sweaters and jackets for cold weather … I couldn’t help but think to myself that Christmas, my favorite time of year, will be here before we know it. Yeah sure it’s August, but in a blink of an eye … we will writing out our holiday to-do-list and shaking our heads on why we didn’t properly budget for the holiday season. So in this blog post, I will be giving you 5 tips on how you can save, plan and prepare for your holiday shopping! It’s never to early to get started! Here we go …

Tip #1: 

Lists & Strategy Planning for Each Month

If you are like our family and you have to stick to a budget each month, then you know making a list or putting a strategy together on how you will achieve everything you need to, starts with budgeting. If you split out holiday shopping from September through November, then you won’t feel like you wiped out your savings all in December! After your normal budget is complete, come up with 2-3 gifts you would like to purchase for that month. Put a specific dollar amount aside for those gifts. This may take some creativity if your normal budget doesn’t allow much wiggle room, but better 2-3 gifts or even 1-2, then 10 all at once.

Tip #2:

Be Resourceful, check your wallet for gift cards or coupons that are sitting and waiting to be used!

If you were gifted a gift card, but never used it – this can be a great way to save yourself the cash and use that gift card to purchase a gift for someone on your list. I know, it’s sort of re-gifting, but in a way, it’s smart. How many coffee mugs do you need from Starbucks? Instead, wouldn’t you be able to purchase your student’s teacher a nice coffee mug or use the balance of a Target gift card or Old Navy card towards your nieces and nephews or your own children? Movie tickets for a Secret Santa Exchange? Crate and Barrel for your sister-in-law? Take advantage of rewards points, Cartwheel coupons at Target, Promo sales where possible, but only where it fulfills the purpose, not for extra shopping! This is key! What’s in your wallet?

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Tip #3: 

Get Creative With Gift Giving!

This can mean a number of things, from being super crafty and making gifts, to deciding to bake something for someone. Making gifts are many times often less costly and are usually more personal. I tend to feel more special when people actually take the time to make or create something for me. If you have a gift of baking, bake a pie or cookies! If you crochet, make a blanket, beanie or scarf for a loved one! Own those God given talents and use it for good! My sister crocheted my two boys elf hats last year and I absolutely went crazy for them! These are gifts that can be done at home, meaning you don’t have to deal with the hustle and bustle and your material costs is really the main cost, some of which you might have already!

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Tip #4 

Consider Shopping Online For Loved Ones Far Away

I learned this the hard way. Last year I bought things in a store and then shipped them myself for my friend’s little boy. Big no no! The shipping cost was almost more than the gift itself! When gifting for those who are not local to you, it’s smart to utilize the convenience of online shopping. Shop on a Monday, and many online retailers have additional discounts. The best Monday to shop would be “Cyber Monday“, the Monday after Thanksgiving but retailers even have some discounts on any normal Monday as well. Retailers use the Cyber Monday idea to drive sales because typically it is a slow day for shopping in general as people shop more heavily on the weekends. You can find discounts from 30%-40% off usually! If you hit a certain dollar point, you can also score free shipping. If you are a Amazon Prime member then you know the free 2 day shipping feature and also Walmart also has the same benefit now too! Happy online shopping and again straight from your home without the hustle and bustle! Do not shop for yourself, stay focused and remember your purpose and budget!

Tip #5: 

Do Something for Humanity! 

Okay so this tip is a little bit different. I’m inspired this year to do something that gives back to the community! Volunteering doesn’t cost money so why not give your time to something that matters this holiday season? I recently volunteered for Open Heart Kitchen where I helped to serve food for the elderly. It felt good to give back. How have you volunteered lately? This year, I am inspired by a good friend of mine, my dear friend Lacey and owner of Pleasanton House Cleaning Co.  Lacey runs her business by day but her heart is truly with the homeless and giving back. Every holiday season, she partners with a local church, gathers up volunteers and feeds a large part of the local homeless community by providing a warm Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. It’s selfless, it shows the grace and love for others and I bet she makes an impact that lasts a lifetime on those families each year. So what will you do to make a difference this holiday season? I would love to hear! Shoot me a note here.

I hope you find these tips helpful! Now, let’s do some planning, saving and shopping! For tips on Back To School, click here. To read about my Christmas last year, click here. To read about Easter, click here. Thank you for reading my blog! Xo, Chantelle

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Back To School Frenzy!

Hi all,

Chantelle here! How are you all dealing with the fact that summer is ending? How are you all preparing for Back To School? As a Mom of two boys, a second grader and a TK-er, I thought it would be fun to give you my tips on how to deal with Back to School, summer work (what?!), back to school clothes, supplies, meal ideas and more!

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5 Tips for Dealing with “BTS” (Back To School)

Tip #1: Summer Work – First of all, it’s summer and why do we need to do any work? Let me explain. For children who are learning to read, it is important to make sure they keep up their reading during the summer break. Speak with your child’s teacher prior to the school year and ending and find out what DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment) level they are at. Purchase books from an educational source or use your local library to help you find books that are at your child’s DRA level. Since it’s summer, pick just a few nights a week for your child to read. By reading over summer break, this helps keeps their brains active and they won’t have a slow re-start once school is back up.

Tip #2: School Shopping Prep – This is a fun one! As a child growing up, I really only remember school shopping as a teenager. I remember my mother taking my twin sister and I to our favorite clothing store, and letting us go wild on the cutest trends! As a parent myself, I tend to ask myself, is back to school shopping really necessary? Especially if you are on a budget? My answer to that is yes, but there is always a balance. For me, I tend to shop more for my oldest because of obvious reasons, they are biggest and the younger brother gets the hand-me-downs. So that’s where I start! There are multiple steps in this tip so bare with me as I break them down. I just did this in my household so I know this will be super helpful!

Steps to School Clothes Prep: 

  1. Clear out dresser and closet of clothes that do not fit, as a good rule of thumb, you should do this at least every six months, but ideally each season is good. If you can do it four times a year, you will eliminate clutter and you will function more efficiently.
  2. Make a list of what is needed to be replaced, basics like underwear, socks, then fashion like pants and shirts etc based on how much is being thrown out. Do this for each child.
  3. When ready to shop, put a budget together. Plan to shop during Back to School sales, or look up consignment shops (and sell your gently used clothing). Another good ideas for extra cash for new clothes shopping is to have a yard sale. If you live in a high traffic area, you can make a good dollar amount off clothing that is still in good shape!
  4. Be creative, for my boys, I cut their old jeans that are getting too short into shorts. The beginning of the year is still hot, so the extra pair of shorts carries them for a month at least until I really need to buy new pants. This is a big cost saving tip for the beginning of the year!

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Tip #3: Ask Questions at Enrollment or Email Teacher Prior

Ok so I had a parent failure on this one. My little one started Transitional Kinder this year and I didn’t THINK I needed to pack him a snack. I was wrong! My poor baby was the only child without a snack and though he was fine, he admitted to me he was a little sad. Though, the school and his teacher did not give out any information about providing a snack for your child, I take full responsibility for not asking. I should have assumed he needed one or just right out packed him a snack just in case. I apologized to my son and he forgave me. Never feel like you can’t ask a question, better to be over prepared than to have your child feel left out. Big lesson for me!!

Tip # 4: Get Information on Supplies Needed At enrollment, if the school has a supplies list, make sure to grab that for your child’s grade. I have two children and I spent about $30 on supplies. Keep in mind, one of my boys is in TK, so the amount of supplies needed goes up as your child gets older. It’s good to budget about $50 for supplies just for a little extra cushion. If you have extra from that amount, put it towards school clothes. At many schools, the supplies are asked as “donation” so each family does not need to feel pressured to purchase if it is not in their budget to. Your district may not have this at all, the key is, get the information ahead of time so you can donate or provide if you would like too! Extra Tip – check dollar stores first, then hit up the big retailers afterwards. 

Tip # 5: Save Money & Time By Participating In a Meal Train for Dinners

This is a great idea for both parents who work. If you gather up a few families and coordinate a meal train, you could have a wonderful cooked meal ready in minutes every night! The idea is, each family cooks on one night of the week in bulk. You hand out portions to the other families and in return, you get their portions of what they cooked. Then, freeze them! Each night you just defrost one of the meals, and voila! A yummy home cooked meal. And… if you live in a melting pot like I do, chances are you will have food from all over the world! It’s a pretty cool idea!

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Back To School prep includes so much more like coordination of schedules, pick ups, after school care, etc etc. I hope that these 5 tips help to ease some of the madness! To learn more about me or read about my Christmas and Easter, visit this page! 

Thanks for reading my blog! Xo, Chantelle

 

 

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