Top 3 tips for saving money on kids’ Christmas gifts

Warning: This post is not suitable for Santa believers. ūüėȬ†

Hello friends! Christmas is right around the corner (as if you didn’t know). If you’re anything like me, I’ll bet you’re already thinking about the three Ws: Wallet, Waistline and Watching Hallmark movies …

Today I wanted to give you my top three tips on how to save BIG money on Christmas gifts for the kids.

I know our family tends to overspend in this area, even if we go into the season with the best intentions to stick to a budget. We blow it every.single.year.

But not this year! We are committed to being smart with our money and making good gift-buying decisions, so we can start the new year off right, in a healthy financial place.

Are you ready? Lets do this!

1. Don’t have the kids make a list of what they want.

Say whaaaaa? No list? What will we do? How will we survive without THE LIST?

Well, you will, I promise, because THE LIST creates a couple problems:

  • It guilts us into getting every.single.thing (or close to it) on THE LIST, and invokes a sense of loss in our kids when they don’t get a particular thing on it.
  • It prompts our kids to think materialistically and brainstorm more stuff that they don’t need, just to create THE LIST. Is that really a value we’re trying to promote? “Hmmmm. Let me think of some more stuff I would really like … well, I have a lot of stuff already, but this is my chance, so I’d better come up with something or I’ll be left with coal in my stocking … what does little Johnny down the street have that I should have, too?”¬†
  • It does not factor in a spending limit. Kids just rattle off what they want without particular thought to price, quantity, space in the house, etc. What’s a loving parent supposed to do with that? Cave in and go over budget, right? Or get something completely impractical because it is the only thing left on THE LIST that is reasonably priced. This may not be the best formula for Christmas-buying success.

2. Set a spending limit.

Yes. I know. This is probably an obvious one. The hard part is sticking to it! Consider setting a spending limit (or gift limit) for each child as well as an overall limit for family and friends in general.

This allows us to exercise our creative muscles. It can actually be fun to brainstorm ideas for gifts that don’t cost a lot, but are meaningful.¬†These thoughtful, lower-cost/handmade gifts can often become the most cherished ones by extended family members and friends.

3. Don’t start buying gifts too early.

If I didn’t tick you off by killing THE LIST, I’m probably going to do it with this one …

There have been years when I worked really hard to get out ahead of the Christmas firestorm by buying a lot of gifts ahead of time … like way ahead of time.

The problem with getting gifts early is that, by Black Friday, I’ve lost the memory of the spending I’ve already done. I’m cranked up and ready.to.shop! … even though I don’t have much left that I need to buy.

So what’s a girl to do in that situation? BUY MORE!

I have this sneaking suspicion that early-bird shopping causes us to spend more overall. Check out this article with the statistics.

Regardless of what Christmas gift-buying strategy we choose, I hope this holiday season, we all remember to cherish what’s important … to cling to our faith and our family, and to help elevate all that’s good in the world.

Let me leave you with a link to this hilarious video of kids getting some unexpected gifts at Christmastime and their unlikely reactions …

Thankful kids react to ridiculous gifts

Have a blessed holiday season!

Gadgets I’m loving right now

Hello friends! The flip house project is nearing its finish line, so I thought I’d take a step back briefly (i.e. I need a break, people!) and share with you¬†a few gadgets I am totally crushing on right now.

1. SnapPower Guidelight

Snap-Power-Guidelight

I just installed this¬†SnapPower Guidelight in our son’s bedroom and I’m installing another one in our downstairs hallway.

Snap-Power

This nightlight is built into the cover plate of an¬†outlet, so it always leaves both outlets open. It only took me about one minute to install. It looks just like a standard cover plate, so the kiddos aren’t tempted to mess with it.

Snap-Power-night-light

2. SnapPower Charger

Snap-Power-charging-port

I installed a SnapPower Charger where my husband powers up his phone and I’m going to put another one where I charge¬†mine.

This USB charger is built into the cover plate of the outlet, so both outlets are always open for other stuff. Again, it took me only about 60 seconds to install it. I like that this gadget keeps the room looking less cluttered and more organized. That makes me smile. ūüôā

3. Purdy¬ģ Contractor 5 in 1 Tool

Purdy 5 in 1 tool

I don’t think there has been one single day I haven’t used this tool in some capacity at the flip house. If you don’t have one of these, run to your nearest home improvement store and pick one up. Seriously … so many uses!

4. Kobalt 7-inch End Cutting Pliers

Kobalt pliers

If you need to pull staples from flooring or remove/cut nails from hard-to-reach spots, these pliers are your tool. This tool saved me a ton of time and made light work of the dirty task of removing millions of staples from hardwood flooring.

So there you go, a few gadgets I’m loving – and using – around my house and the flip project.

Special thanks to SnapPower for providing, at my request, the SnapPower Guidelight and SnapPower Charger featured in this post. As always, all opinions and projects are 100-percent mine. 

DIY beadboard shaker peg coat rack

I am thrilled to report I am done with my beadboard shaker peg coat rack! I am so proud of this project because I did it all.by.myself without asking anyone for advice or help. AND I used scrap lumber for most of the build. Plus I learned how to use a new saw. Yesss! 

Beadboard-shaker-peg-coat-rack

This two-tiered coat rack is super functional for our family because it has¬†a lower rack that is within reach of the kids, an upper rack for adults, and tons of pegs for all our coats. Plus it’s located in our garage right where we enter our home, which is really convenient.

CU-shaker-peg-coat-rack

Below are step-by-step instructions for how to build your own two-tiered beadboard shaker peg coat rack.

Step 1: Start by adding a swath of beadboard wallpaper on the wall that is the width and height of your project. (Tip: Be sure to place your wallpaper so the framing boards will overlap the edges slightly, preventing the seams from showing.)

Beadboard-wallpaper

Step 2: Install two shaker peg coat racks over the wallpaper Рa higher one for adults and a lower one for the kids. I ordered mine very inexpensively from this Etsy shop. (Tip: Be sure to screw your racks into studs, so they will support the weight of a lot of coats.)

Step 3: Attach boards on the left and right sides of the coat racks. Attach a bottom board to serve as the baseboard. I used leftover 1×3-inch pine boards for this, screwing them into wall studs. (Tip: A counter-sink drill bit pushes screws slightly below the surface of the wood, allowing for easy coverage with filler¬†and paint.)

Garage-pegboard-coat-rack

Step 4: Rip a piece of scrap plywood for¬†both the top shelf and the board above the top coat rack. I used my new favorite tool to do this, the¬†Ryobi¬ģ 10-inch portable table saw.¬†I’m happy to report no fingers were lost in the process. ūüôā

Using-Ryobi-table-saw

Step 5: Make your own shelf brackets out of the remainder of the plywood. I cut mine out on my¬†miter saw. I attached the¬†brackets using screws, but there is probably a better way. ūüėČ

Plywood-corbel

Step 6: Use a brad nailer to attach a piece of window/door casing below the top shelf and to attach the top shelf to the brackets and back board.

Step 7: To hide the unsightly, raw edges of the plywood (and the screws in the shelf brackets), iron on a strip of birch veneer.

Iron-on-birch-veneer

Birch-veneer-over-plywood

Step 8: Sand the rough spots, caulk the holes, and prime and paint.

I used my favorite Purdy¬ģ brushes* to prime and paint all the raw wood, paying particular attention to the knots. Pine knots can bleed through paint, so be sure to prime these areas very well before painting.

Purdy-paintbrushes

(Tip: A quality paint brush can make ALL THE DIFFERENCE when cutting in around edges, helping paint glide on smoothly and providing a straighter line.)

After priming and painting the boards, I taped off the whole project and spray painted it the same color as our window and door trim. I used my beloved HomeRight¬ģ Finish Max sprayer¬†to do this. Enter to win your own here.

Taping-off-for-sprayer

HomeRight-FinishMax

Done! A flawless paint finish on my new coat rack.

CU-beadboard-shaker-peg-coat-rack

Beadboard-peg-coat-rack

What do you think of the results?

* Affiliate links provided in this post for your convenience. 

Special thanks to Ryobi and Purdy for providing, at my request, the table saw and paint brushes needed to complete this project.