Home Christmas 10 Ways To Save On Your Children’s Christmas Presents

10 Ways To Save On Your Children’s Christmas Presents

written by Shelley Marsh 23/10/2013
Save Children's Christmas Presents

Can you believe it?  Christmas time is creeping up!  I was stunned when on a trip to my local Woolies, my daughter picked up pink tinsel and put it in the trolley.  Really?  Christmas stuff already?   After a bit of debate, mainly consisting of me saying the words “put it back”, she insisted it was on my shopping list.  I told her that despite wearing glasses, I was sure I could see the list clearly and that I was sure that pink tinsel was not on the list.  Oats, yes, milk, yes, eggs, yes and even bread but pink tinsel, no it was definitely not there.  Welcome to Christmas!

This unexpected run-in with Christmas made me realise it really isn’t that far away, so I had better get organised.  A Peppa Pig play house is the main request in our household.  They are not particularly cheap so here are some ideas on how to stretch Santa’s toy budget further….

  1. Draw up a budget and stick to it!  It is hard to resist the temptation to overspend when it comes to your children and it is even harder at Christmas time.  The best way to avoid a big Christmas financial hangover is to figure out what you can afford to spend and stick to it.  I note good ideas for gifts as they come up so that I am not struggling for ideas right before Christmas and end up spending too much money.
  2. Stock up in the toy sales throughout the year.  Make sure you are on the email list for all your favourite stores so that you don’t miss a sale.  I have done an epic fail on this one so far but it is something I will be keeping in mind for next year!
  3. Buy overseas.  The Australian dollar is holding strong against many other currencies such as the US dollar and the British Pound, making it cheaper to buy toys overseas.  Check out the overseas prices before making your purchases, just remember to include the shipping costs.  Many people focus on buying from the US but don’t forget the United Kingdom (UK), they have great websites that often ship to Australia for free.
  4. Use Frequent Flyer points to purchase gift cards.  Nowadays you don’t even have to put your bum on an airline seat to get frequent flyers.  You can get them all over the place; using your credit card, shopping at the supermarket, getting certain brands of insurance and paying your mobile phone bill.  Now I am not saying you should change your shopping habits or buy unnecessary things to get points, but if you do have them maybe you should look into using them to help fund your Christmas toy purchases.  We quite often convert our points into gift cards, which gives us a bit of choice as to how we spend them.  However, according to the frequent flyer gurus, this is not actually the most efficient way to spend your points.  But it works for us because with a 3 year old it is unlikely we are going to do an around the world trip anytime soon!  Also, according to the gurus, buying vouchers is better than buying goods directly at the frequent flyer store (Click here to learn about how to spend your points in the most efficient way)
  5. Re-gift to your own child!  I suspect that this one only works when your children are small but it is a loophole I am going to exploit while I can! 🙂  Miss Money got an excessive amount of presents for her birthday, especially from her grandparents, so I have put a few aside to give to her again at Christmas time.  Cheeky, I know but for the moment it works!
  6. Check out places that you might not normally look for toys in like The Reject Shop, Daiso (where everything is $2.80) and your local $2 shop.  Miss Money’s favourite doll cost me $7 from The Reject Shop.  After 6 months of hard use the arm fell off, so I went back and brought her another one, without breaking the budget.
  7. Sell old toys to raise some cash to fund your Christmas toy purchases.  We are in the process of selling some of Miss Money’s baby toys and her pram that we no longer use.  We use the Kids Size Living Facebook page, which lets you list and trade goods in our area for free but there are many other sites that let you do the same.  It is a great way to de-clutter the house before Christmas sends more toys our way! 🙂
  8. Buy second hand.  When you are listing your stuff to sell check out what others are selling – you could pick up a bargain!  We also regularly stop by our local op shop and have been surprised at what we could find.  We have picked up some toys in perfect condition at a fraction of the retail price and we have brought her a pile of books for $3 in great condition.  Not only are you saving cash, you are helping a great cause and recycling, all at the same time.
  9. Enter competitions.  I had never paid much attention to the giveaways being run by other bloggers until a couple of weeks ago when I entered a competition and won a new t-shirt for Miss Money.  It was quite a score!  Going into Christmas, I expect there will be some great giveaways happening.  Entering is usually pretty easy so it is definitely worth doing.  You have to be in it to win it as they say!  Stay tuned to my Money Mummy Facebook page as I will be putting all the good giveaways I find on there.
  10. Make presents.  If you have a crafty streak make some of the gifts yourself such as dolls clothes, bags of sweets or small activity packs.  Some of my friends do treasure hunts for small home made gifts in the backyard adding some extra fun to the process.

Christmas with children can be lots of fun but also a time of stress.  It is hard not to want to give your children everything, but deciding on an amount that you can afford to spend and sticking to it is the key to keeping your finances on track and avoiding a big New Year financial hangover.   So, get started early and think about how it is best to fund Santa’s Christmas visit to your house.

If you liked this post you might also like:

How I raised An Extra $910 To Pay For Christmas

5 Financial Tips You Should  Know Now You’re A Parent

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

Is Costco Membership Worth It?

How To Teach Your Children About Money

 

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.  Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

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33 comments

Emily 24/10/2013 at 9:40 pm

Great list. With some sneakiness included! Bonus!

Point 2. I live by it. Everything goes on layby in July and I pick it up in December and send it home with the in-laws (we head up to their place Christmas Eve). Sometimes it even gets wrapped for me while up there! Magic!

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Shelley Marsh 26/10/2013 at 7:38 am

Hi Emily! Awesome system! I love the fact that they wrap it for you! I am not a huge fan of wrapping pressies!

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Karen 24/10/2013 at 10:16 pm

Great ideas i.e. planning, but it definitely gets more difficult with teenagers! Gift cards and buying overseas probably the most helpful for this age group. Thank you.

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Shelley Marsh 26/10/2013 at 7:36 am

Thanks Karen! I am glad you liked it 🙂

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Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me 25/10/2013 at 7:44 am

Great tips. I really need to get some frequent flyers set up. I always try to make the most of the toy sales too!

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Shelley Marsh 26/10/2013 at 7:35 am

Hi Renee, yes setting up frequent flyers is worth it as long as you were going to buy the good/service anyway. p.s the line of credit piece is in the works – should be out early next week.

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Lila 25/10/2013 at 8:06 am

Love #5 we restrict how many gifts and once I’ve bought them all we stay away from the stores.

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Shelley Marsh 26/10/2013 at 7:32 am

Hi Lila, yes once you are done staying away from the stores is definitely the way to go!

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Wendy Parks 25/10/2013 at 9:34 am

Such good advice. We set budgets for Christmas presents and have no problem sticking to them with the relatives, but it’s harder with our children. I try to finish my Christmas shopping by the end of October so I avoid the Christmas rush and the temptation to spend more.

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Shelley Marsh 26/10/2013 at 7:30 am

Such a great idea Wendy! Finishing by October definitely takes the pressure off! I got caught out this year and Christmas crept up on me, so hopefully next year I will join you and finish early too!

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Aroha @ Colours of Sunset 25/10/2013 at 9:58 am

Great tips, but I would add “Don’t buy so much freaking stuff!” It always amazes me seeing parents walking around Target and Toy stores at the mid-year sales or close to Christmas and they have 1, sometimes TWO, trolleys overflowing with TOYS. Seriously? I hope you have 20 kids or a very large extended family, because if not, then you’re kids are way too spoiled! Nick is getting 2 pairs of PJs, 3 books and a new bike. That’s it! Back in my day we’d have probably just got the bike! (sorry – rantypants here today apparently!)

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Shelley Marsh 26/10/2013 at 7:28 am

Yes Aroha, I totally agree with you on the don’t buy too much freaking stuff!! It is crazy!! My family always buy Miss Money tonnes of toys, I have tried to limit them but let’s just say they don’t listen. So we will only get her a couple of things, otherwise it is completely out of control! Your rantypants self is always welcome to stop by 🙂

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Author Bek Mugridge (@bekmugridge) 25/10/2013 at 2:43 pm

Fantastic tips here!
I have to very savvy this time of year as both my kids birthdays are right before Christmas too!

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Bec @ The Plumbette 25/10/2013 at 4:32 pm

This post got me excited for Christmas! I have bought and won toys and gifts that have been put away for Christmas for my girls so I don’t need to go shopping for them which is one less thing to worry about this Christmas.

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Shelley Marsh 26/10/2013 at 7:21 am

Hi Bec! Yes I am envious of your organisation! I am going to start much earlier next year. Luckily I have my list of a couple of ideas so at least I know what I am after 🙂 Not to mention a little person constantly reminding me that she wants a Peppa Pig house!

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Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me 25/10/2013 at 5:04 pm

I’m definitely printing this one out – I think I’ll go second hand – or we are in fact going to say no presents and gather money to buy a nice outside cubby! Great tips!

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Shelley Marsh 26/10/2013 at 7:19 am

Hi Emily! What a great idea to do a trade off for one large present that everyone can enjoy together!

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Kimberley 26/10/2013 at 7:37 pm

Great list MM! We do most of these things – I’m a massive fan of the sales during the year, particularly for 3 year old who is too young to request sh*t from Santa a month out from Xmas! Kx

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Shelley Marsh 27/10/2013 at 5:31 pm

Hi Kimberley! LOL! Yes I guess that is when it does get tricky when one month to go they completely change their minds!

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Mums Take Five 26/10/2013 at 8:26 pm

Great ideas.
I’m currently trying to get the time to make my little miss a fabric alphabet for one of her presents and her cousins are getting their presents in library bags (to save their mums some money)
Second hand is always good we’ve bought swing sets and things second hand that have been fabulous
Good post all great ideas 🙂

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Shelley Marsh 27/10/2013 at 5:30 pm

Thanks Bel! I am so jealous! I wish I was crafty and could make more presents. I am thinking of baking biscuits and getting her to do some art work for the relos to keep the costs down.

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Bronnie 26/10/2013 at 8:47 pm

Great tips. I’m a great one for buying on sale and stashing away during the year – only the kids are on to that now and know to search the house. Also, now they are older, they are likely to be onto something else by Christmas. Entering giveaways is a goodie – you never know when you will get lucky, and they all make a difference.Dropping in from the Weekend Rewind.

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Shelley Marsh 27/10/2013 at 5:28 pm

Hi Bronnie! Glad you liked it, thanks for stopping by.

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Emily Morgan 26/10/2013 at 10:59 pm

Great post, I am making plans for what to get my not quite two year old for Christmas – she’s too young to understand or care about presents still, so I’m getting her a paddling pool and will rely on the grandparents for something she can open on the day. When I used to work at a children’s bookshop, I saw a fabulous idea: a regular customer of ours had two little girls and every time they pointed out something they liked, she’d tell them to write it on their Christmas lists, and they would obediently get out little notebooks and pens and note it down. What a great idea! They could add to their lists throughout the year, and the parents have a great range of things to choose from.

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Shelley Marsh 27/10/2013 at 5:27 pm

Hi Emily! A paddling pool is such a good idea! My friend got one for Miss Money for her first summer. We recently cracked it out for our third season and she still loves it! I love the idea of getting them to note down ideas throughout the year, it is so much easier if you have a list to choose from!

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Fiona 27/10/2013 at 7:48 am

I need to follow point one! Budget goes out the window…! But I will be buying lots of consumables – things that they use a lot of… Paper, play dough, bubble bath, toothbrushes etc. Saves money after Christmas!

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Shelley Marsh 27/10/2013 at 5:23 pm

Hi Fi! Yes that is a great idea to get them things that you would have to get anyway! I think I will using your idea too!

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Alison @ The Thrifty Issue 30/10/2013 at 11:49 am

Great ideas Money Mummy! It can be such a tough time of year, all tips are much appreciated. We are lucky to be the only ones in the family with children, so the grandparents and aunties/uncles spoil the kids … hence we only need to buy one/two gifts for our kids. However, we’re still buying for all the adults too!!!! Cheers, Alison

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Maxabella 30/10/2013 at 1:44 pm

Regifting to your own child is Christmas gold, Shelley. x

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Shelley Marsh 30/10/2013 at 10:08 pm

LOL Bron! Glad you liked the suggestion! I am going to play that one for as long as I can! 🙂

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Larissa 10/11/2014 at 11:29 am

Some great ideas here! Another idea, if you have something specific in mind, might be to try a price comparison website such as Lasoo. You can type in the product you’re looking for, and the site searches for the best price in your area.

OzBargain can also be good – at the moment they have a post up about a sale eBay is holding, with 20 per cent of all toys on a particular day. Good to keep an eye on!

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