Sunday, May 30, 2010

Frugal Weekend

Well, maybe not so much as the Hubs did some last minute "supply getting" for the Relay For Life which included a bunch of stuff I would never buy. But such is life sometimes. We had a great time on Friday! Then yesterday I took all the kids to a movie and we watched the UFC pay per view at my sister's place with most of the family {we are such rednecks LOL}. And now today the Hubs wants to car shop and we have a birthday party. Such a full weekend! So when you have a weekend like this when do you fit in last minute shopping for the birthday present? I don't. And that's the frugal tip I have for you today.

I don't shop just to shop. That can get you into a lot of trouble. But when I am out on my weekly missions I do keep my eyes open for anything I can stow away in the "Gift Closet". I have a cold storage room in my house and I reserve some of the highest shelves for extra things I pick up through the year. This actually serves 2 direct purposes. 1) It eliminates the last minute over-spend when you are faced with "That party is today???" and 2) it really helps around Christmas time with staying on budget. So throughout the year I watch the flyer sales. It has to be really, really on sale for me to pick it up but when I do find some good scores it always gives me a sense of satisfaction! For instance, I was at Toys R Us the other day for one item. I can't just browse in that store LOL I have to go in with a plan or I bust the bank! On my quest for the one item I saw a large bin with 50% off all ages and types of ColorWonders. THAT is a great deal. So I got one for each of the kids including nieces and nephews. That's half their Christmas gift right there! Woo Hoo!
Other ways I augment the gift closet is by re-gifting. Yes, I do this but in a tasteful, considerate way. The only way a gift to us makes it into the gift closet is if we already have that item (I almost never return items to the store in this case) or if it is not age appropriate for my kids and will take far too long for them to grow into it to be worth saving. A good example is this past Christmas my 5 year old got this really cool juggling set. It wasn't your conventional juggling. It was metal balls attached to the ends of colourful strings and you swung the balls around and around in different patterns. There was even an instructional DVD and glow in the dark strings. It was a really neat set, no kidding. But more appropriate for a teenage only child. Could you imagine if I let the 5 year old open that? It would be an instant concussion for the 2 year old. I am just looking into the future here people. So when your kids are opening gifts, don't let them take them out of the package unless you are sure this is something you want in your home. On that same note the 2 year old received a set of Little Tikes toys that we happen to already have. I love Little Tikes, they are fabulously durable and well worth the money! So I tucked that away in the gift closet and will be thrilled to give it to another little munchkin somewhere down the line. And not all the gifts I set aside from my kids birthdays and Christmases are given away to other people. How many gifts do your children receive? And how many do they actually play with at once? Kids will inevitably cling to one or 2 of their immediate faves and that's that. So I gather up the others to be pulled out on the next rainy/snowy day. "Remember? Grandma gave you this for your birthday!" And all of a sudden a toy that probably would have gotten lost at the bottom of the toy box has become a new favourite and will get far more use. It's all about thinking ahead. As I've said before, ongoing instant gratification is NOT a good thing. If something is worth having, it is worth working for. And the same goes for our kids. One of the biggest mistakes we could make as aspiring frugal parents these days is teaching our children that instant gratification is normal. Especially in this "All about me" generation. It's the little steps that make a big difference.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

I have a gift closet, too, and I love it! I always have something on hand for birthdays, housewarmings - even weddings! And by snapping up nice items when they're on sale and I'm already out shopping, instead running out every time something comes up and having to pay full price, I save both money and time.