How to Win at Christmas on a Budget

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year …

Unless you’re a parent who’s stressed because money is tight and Christmas is around the corner.

Ladies and gents: I feel your pain and I’ve got your back.

No, you won’t be receiving a check from me to cover your Christmas costs, but I do have five tips to help you get the most for your money, as well as a list of 10 awesome toys for a total of $200.

First, let me say that your little one will probably be as excited about the lights and sounds as the she is about the presents under the tree. You don’t need to spend oodles of money on toys, so don’t stress out if $200 sounds (or is) impossible.

If you smile and are excited on Christmas morning, Little One will be, too.

Now to those tips:

  1. Don’t worry about trying to get the hottest new toys. If your child is as young as mine (a 12- to 24-month-old), she doesn’t have a clue what a hot toy is. Focus on toys that can grow with her over the next year. You’ll feel better about spending the money if you see she’s using her Christmas toys throughout the year.
  2. Don’t forget about consignment stores. We have some amazing ones here in Pittsburgh that carry clothes and toys. Everything has been sanitized and repackaged, so you won’t have anything to put together on Christmas Eve!
  3. Consider trading in your child’s unused toys. My experience has been that consignment stores offer you more in store credit than they do in cash. If that’s the case in your area, take the credit and use it toward gifts.
  4. Don’t shy away from layaway. Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, and Kmart, among other stores, offer the service, and some require deposits of as little as $5.
  5. Don’t forget about stores like the Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and Goodwill. You can get so much for your money, and the stores have a wider variety of toys (and books) than you might think.

Now to the 10 toys. As I said, if you follow my list, you’ll end up with 10 awesome gifts to pack under your tree for a total of $200!

 

5 Tips to Have Your Best Christmas on a Budget

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