Thursday, November 1, 2012

Saving Money around the Holidays and Salt Dough Recipe!

Christmas is suddenly the big thing! We haven't even done Thanksgiving yet and Christmas everything is already out in full force. I want my children to grow up thankful for the things they have and with a sense of frugality. So here are some tips from the perspective of a lower enlisted military spouse. If you aren't military, don't worry, these things can apply to you too!

1. Be sure to instill in your children that the greatest gift of all was the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ in a stable in Bethlehem. No gift can ever measure up to that one and it isn't our job as parents to try!

2. Set a budget ahead of time and let your kids pick items that fall within that price range. Don't ask them to give you a list of everything they want with the expectation that they'll get it all. Otherwise, you'll have a child asking you where their new ipad is!

3. For military members and spouses, check the airman's attic for toys or clothing in good condition. Things don't have to be fresh out of the store to be special. Everyone should also check thrift stores for these things as well. I got a pair of $98 jeans at a thrift store near my house for $3! You won't always find a deal like that, but you'll almost always find something worth the trip.

4. Buy leftover Halloween candy to use as your stocking candy! And be sure to check your local dollar stores and the dollar section at Target to get little knick knacks for the stockings. My mother actually used to buy the toiletries that we would be needing soon to use in our stockings, too.

5. Instead of using layaway for everything, save the money you would be paying on gifts over the course of the year so that when the holidays come, you can just purchase your items outright. Sort of like an at-home layaway program.

6. Make gifts for family and friends. Instead of buying cards last year, we made ornaments out of salt dough, painted them, and wrote a message on each one. Not only is it cheaper, our families were so excited because it is a gift they can display every year!

Salt Dough
1 cup salt
1 cup flour
1 cup water

Combine all the ingredients,adding the water last until it is doughy but not sticky.

Roll out the dough and let your kids use cookie cutters to make shapes.

Poke a hole at the top with a straw so you can thread a ribbon through it later.

Cook on your oven's lowest heat setting for 2-3 hours (until they're totally dried out). Be sure to put these on a baking dish lined with parchment paper so they don't stick.

Let them cool for about 30 minutes.

Paint with acrylic paint. Any paint will work but acrylics produce the best results.

Write your message on one side. For example: We love you! Merry Christmas from the Cross Family!

Finally, thread a ribbon through the hole so it can be hung.

Be sure to mail these wrapped in newspaper or bubble wrap so they don't break in transit.

7. Buy gifts that won't go out of date and that can be shared. It's always good to know that when one child has outgrown a toy, another child will be excited to play with it. Classic toys like train tracks, hot wheels, and doll houses are good in that respect. I have boys, so I honestly don't know what toys little girls like!

8. Stock up on gifts when the prices are good! At the end of summer, lots of toys go on sale. Buy them then instead of paying more in November or December. And always check the discount racks at book stores if you have an avid reader. At Books A Million some books are as low as a dollar!

That's all I can think of! If you have any more tips to add, please comment and let me know!

Blessings, Miranda

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for joining in the fun at the Thursday Favorite Things hop. Happy Tuesday wishes xo P.S. sorry I'm so late visiting :-)