Frugal Holiday Check-in

How are your #frugal #holiday plans going? Score some good tips and share your own -- from #free gifts to $20 Christmas trees!My son just reminded me that there are only 10 day until Christmas. To him, that seems like for.ever. To me, it seems a little too soon. I have been steady checking items off of my “to do” list and attempting to stay on budget.

Last year, I admitted to having some frugal holiday failures. Thankfully, I learned from those mistakes and won’t repeat them again this year.

First, I am done buying gifts. I have completed the shopping for everyone on my list. So now I have to stop. No shopping in stores. No shopping online. No browsing my favorite deal websites. Besides, I’m already $30 over my budget for Mr. Stapler’s gifts and $20 over Little Stapler’s budget. Gah!

Second, I’m not going to send the ornaments in fancy packaging in order to minimize my shipping costs. Another trick to saving on shipping (other than having the item shipped directly to the recipient) is to clip a coupon from the Staples circular and ship it from there. Staples ships USPS and UPS, and will compare the cost for you — plus take 10 or 20% off the top if you have a coupon.

Third, although I didn’t take advantage of the Target summer clearance this year, I was able to snag some free gifts using a $10 off $10 purchase coupon from Kohl’s, a “free book” coupon from a local used book store, a free book from Paperback Swap, and a free Jungle Book blu ray from Disney Movie Rewards.

I also took advantage of Staples’ Black Friday sale on holiday cards, and purchased 100 cards for $20 total. This is an amazing deal, but unfortunately there have been a lot of dissatisfied customers. I was one of them — at first. I tried a different Staples store this year and my proof was kind of “off.” So, I asked for it to be printed at a different store. That store’s printers were working well and my cards came out beautifully. It might have been more hassle than it was worth, but next year I know to have them printed at the other store.

For the third year in a row, we bought our tree at Lowe’s. Unlike years past, we didn’t make it on Black Friday weekend and get the $20 tree deal. Instead, we were a week late but saved $5 by using a competitor’s coupon!

What’s done? 

  • Holiday Cards
  • Gift Buying
  • Decorations
  • Gifts to daycare and kindergarten teachers (homemade cookies and Amazon gift cards)
  • “Wish tree” donation

What’s left?

  • Gift Making (I’m about 80% done with this year’s felt ornaments)
  • Mailing Homemade Gifts
  • Buying food for Christmas brunch
  • Wrapping
  • Assembling a train table (we try to do this before Christmas Eve, in case it’s broken)

How are your holidays going? Are you sticking to your budget? Are you enjoying yourself? 

Photo by OZPhotography via

5 thoughts on “Frugal Holiday Check-in

  1. Pingback: Why You Need to Stop Buying Gifts This Christmas | Stapler Confessions

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