How to spend less this Christmas

Would you like to know how to spend less this Christmas? Are you overwhelmed at the thought of what you are going to buy your kids this Christmas?

This challenge is going to help you make a plan for your Christmas shopping which is within your budget, help you to buy useful gifts (therefore avoiding the ‘untouched’ pile), and reduce the amount of stress this Christmas.

Welcome to the first day of the budget Christmas Shopping challenge. The Christmas Shopping Challenge is on a mission to show you how to spend less this Christmas.

This plan is based on the ideas of the ‘minimalist Christmas’. This is where you have a plan or framework of ‘deliberate’ gifts that you buy to fulfil various categories. The purpose of this plan is to:

  • spend less on Christmas gifts
  • reduce the overwhelm of too much ‘stuff’ for you and your kids (so they play more)
  • reduce the amount of untouched gifts thereby reducing waste
  • make deliberate choices about the gifts you are buying and stop shopping for the sake of it.

If you haven’t seen the plan you can download it here.

This is not to say this is the ‘answer’ to spending less on Christmas gifts but I used this for the first time last Christmas and we had a significant reduction in the amount of money we spent, the amount of stuff we had in the house, and the kids played with their gifts more because they were not overwhelmed.

Each day in this Challenge we are going to shop for a different category on the plan.

I have three children: an 8-year-old boy and nearly 4-year-old twins girls so I will be shopping for all three of them on the same day.

1. Spend less: Work out your budget

Now there is no right or wrong answer here but you need a budget for each child before your start.

I am going to keep things easy and say £50 each. This is not meant to be ‘showing off’ or ‘scrooge like’, it is the budget I am happy to spend. For you, this may be less or it may be more. Each family has different circumstances.

Remember what our mission is? To spend less this Christmas!

For my £50 each I have a deliberate plan of what I am going to buy. I could buy 50 items for £1 each and they would have a mountain of things to open. I guarantee you this approach does not work. These items will not be played with and most will make the bin by the New Year.

I have allocated a rough budget to each of my categories from the plan so will be looking to spend no more than this amount per category.

2. The something to read category

I have set my budget for this category at £5 each for the girls. They love books and are very easy to buy for.

I like to follow the Montessori principle of ‘follow the child’ so I will look for books which align to their interests. At such a young age they are like sponges and will find anything interesting. We have a lot of fiction books from their big brother so we tend to buy non fiction books from the Usborne or National Geographic Kids ranges.

I found these bargains on Amazon which fit my brief: book for less than £5 which aligns to one of their many interests.

Design by sharlene SMITH

Usborne Look Inside London – Lift the Flap Books.

So that’s one down, two to go.

I am trying to get out of buying identical things for the girls. They are starting to get their own minds and interests. It also saves a lot of money not buying the same thing all of the time!

I know that Space is a popular topic between them so go for this book about the planets. It is slightly over budget but I know they will love it.

Design by sharlene SMITH

My First Book of Planets.

Now the real challenge begins. What sort of book do you buy an 8 year old boy who finds reading a bore?

Sticking to the ‘follow the child’ principle I come up with these possible categories for a book:

  • Weather
  • Space
  • Sport
  • Cars

My ideal budget in this category is still £5, especially seeing as we have such a tough audience! I am hoping to find some other weather-related items to fill the other categories so decide to set the weather foundations with this book for a little over £5.

Copy of Untitled by sharlene SMITH

Meteorology Activity Book

I would love to buy the eldest a National Geographic Kids subscription but that will tip me over my budget. If I have any spare categories I think I will come back to this one!

As I mentioned we have a tonne of books already. If you are struggling for book ideas for your kids we have all of these books which are suitable for pre school age children. They are firm favourites in our house!

Montessori Animal Book Guide by sharlene SMITH

If you are looking for other budget ideas this Christmas, have a look at our Christmas on a Budget Guide.