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Christmas Plan


I have really struggled with Christmas spending this year. Not overspending as you would expect, but not wanting to spend at all. What a change in mindset for me!

But the debt numbers going down and the larger debt payments lately have really been inspirational. And I keep wanting to push harder.

That being said, I really appreciate the recent reader advice on Christmas presents. While Princess and Gymnast are pretty easy to buy for, the twins are much more challenging. But I have finally come up with a plan!


Gymnast will be spending Christmas with his dad this year. Don’t get me started on the emotions that rile up anytime I think about this. But with that being said, I have finished shopping for him early and am getting a box in the mail to him next week so that will be done.

I spent right around $50 on his presents and while shipping will bump that a little bit, I feel good about what I am sending and hope he enjoys it. (Can’t reveal what I got him as I’m not sure if he has ever stumbled upon this site.)

I do realize this is less than I am spending on the other three, please don’t crucify me for it. There are two reasons for this: 1) he has been quite spoiled since moving to his dad’s and wants/needs little to nothing and 2) the other three kids just have me, while he will be getting presents from his “new” family as well. I did put thought into this. Any parents who have dealt with this know what I mean. In no way am I trying to “short” my youngest son.

New Christmas Tradition

Last year was our first year in our home, in our new state and I really wanted to create some new Christmas traditions after the years of hardship. With my dad’s sponsorship, we played the Saran Wrap Ball Game, it was so much fun!

I have decided to add that as part of my Christmas budget, not tied to a particular child. As you can see from the video above, the items don’t have to be expensive. I’m budgeting $40 towards the creation of our “ball” this year.


Stockings are one of my favorite Christmas traditions from my own childhood. I have debated on what to do about Gymnast in this regards and have finally decided that this is one tradition I will not be able to share with him from a distance. I am keeping his stocking here in hopes that he will be home again someday. But I’m sure his dad and girlfriend will have some traditions that will take it’s place this year.

As for the three oldest, I am budgeting $5 10 per stocking (had to revise this number after some browing and idea gathering,) but am also putting some of the presents from their uncles and aunt in their stockings as they are gift cards. This serves two purposes, it will bulk up the stockings a bit and more importantly, keep me from losing the gift cards that came back from Texas with us!

Christmas Presents

I have decided on a budget of $100 per child. And as mentioned previously, I feel pretty good about what I’m going to get Princess, but the twins are still a mystery. I hope they reveal some needs/wants that aren’t over the top in the next couple of weeks.

I know they are all going to get cash from my parents so I will not be giving any cash or gift cards (other than the saran wrap ball.) I love this time of year. I love giving gifts. And I’ve been trying to think of a way to implement the “gift a month” idea one commentor posted recently – maybe a stack of “coupons” by month. I don’t know, I’m still thinking about it.

Christmas Total

This brings my Christmas gift total to $350 plus shipping + stockings $30 + saran wrap ball $40 = $420! Yikes, that adds up quickly. And now I’m back to wavering on these numbers again. Well, let’s say this will be my max, but I’m hoping to spend less than this. I will let you know how it goes!

RueBucks – Christmas Present


I mentioned earlier this month that I budget $150 to get Princess some winter clothes with the weather getting cold. On our drive back from Texas, we spent the night in Baton Rouge and ended up being across from a large mall on Black Friday evening.

After a day in the car and some hours to kill, we decided to hit the mall. And lo and behold, Princess’ favorite clothing store Rue21 was having a sale and she hadn’t spent any of her clothes money.

An hour later, she walked about with 1/2 new outfits for right at $80 – score!

Christmas Present on the Frugal Side

When I paid for the clothes I was informed we earned, 2 RueBucks. Which essentially means, if she shops again between December 26 and January 2, she can get $20 off her $40 purchase.

I got to thinking, I could buy her a gift card with $40 of the remaining clothes money I previously budgeted and then add these two RueBucks into her stocking, essentially giving her $20 extra dollars to spend. Is that a bad Christmas idea? To give someone something that is essentially is free.

I know she enjoys shopping at this store. She shops there every time she gets a chance (there is one an hour from us here in Northeast Georgia.)

I haven’t created a budget for Christmas presents. I know I should. I have begun picking up little stuff and it was all inside our trip budget so I haven’t used any extra money. But I really am focused on paying off debt and getting into a better financial place. I’m having a hard time balancing my desire to provide a Christmas for my three eldest and being as frugal as I have been the last few months.

Do you have a Christmas budget? How much do you spend on teenage children? I guess one of my challenges is that they don’t really “need” anything and their wants are pretty expensive…new computer, etc. So I have to find a middle ground I am comfortable with. And it’s not coming to me easily.