So last year we skipped Christmas. Well, not totally. Santa still came and brought presents for the kids, but Hubby and I didn't exchange gifts. And we made the tough decision not to participate in gift exchanges with our extended family.
It was the right decision for us last year, even though it was tough. I enjoy shopping for and picking out gifts for everyone. I like trying to find something that each person will enjoy and get some practical use out of.
But. I'll be honest and say that it was just a little awkward on Christmas day watching our extended family exchange gifts, while we sat there. We did get several unexpected gifts, which was nice. And of course, our kiddos got lots of gifts from everyone.
I guess I just felt left out a little bit and missed seeing each person open something that I had picked out for them. Don't get me wrong, we enjoyed Christmas and most of all, enjoyed time together as a family and certainly enjoyed seeing our extended family.
I was fine with our decision and I certainly don't regret it. There was no way we could afford it all at that time and I was not going to go deep into debt to do it.
Luckily, through lots of hard work, we're in a somewhat better financial situation so we've decided to go ahead and DO Christmas this year. To do this, we started shopping months ago, to spread it out and pay for it gradually. Just because we have more to spend this year, doesn't mean we have alot. And it doesn't mean I want to go in debt for it.
I've been trying hard to spread the purchases out, buy sale and clearance items when I can, use coupons, snag free shipping, and I try to use one of our rewards credit cards to get some cash back. With the credit cards, I'm being sure to keep up on them and pay them off each week, so that we're not carrying a balance and certainly avoiding any interest.
Also, to purchase gifts, we've used Amazon.com gift cards that I earned from using the Swagbucks search engine. Oh and I earned a few from survey sites and the Winster game site, that I'm addicted to.
So far we're right on track with our Christmas purchases, all done without carrying a credit card balance. Now I'm just hoping we have enough money in the next month to finish up our shopping. We may have to live lean for a little while to make up the difference. I really don't want to be stressing about credit card bills or any of that nonsense after Christmas. Kinda takes the fun out of the holidays, doesn't it?
How do you make this holiday season affordable on your budget?