Monday, August 1, 2016

Christmas Without Debt -- August Challenge

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

Christmas always seems to be a time when people struggle.  Either there isn't enough time or money -- or both -- to go around.  This series is an attempt to get control over that so that when Christmas (or the holidays if you celebrate something else) arrives you will be able to look at it, and say, "I'm ready,"  then you can sit back and enjoy all the festivities without the stress of last minute preparations.

For August, I want us to focus on stocking stuffers.  This is a perfect time of year.  School supplies go on sale at this time lower than they will be all year (except maybe the leftovers come September.)  So, buy plenty.  If you usually tell your children that they have to have plain notebooks, wait until notebooks go on clearance and buy fun ones to sock away as stocking stuffers.  Don't underestimate how these will be received.  Usually by December or January notebooks need replaced, and having colorful, funny, or pretty ones can actually be a good stocking stuffer.  Crayons, markers, pencils, pens, and craft supplies such as glue are also a good thing to stock up on at this time.  

But plan on having all your stocking stuffers (except for edibles) bought this month.  There are so many great ideas out there.  For adults, you can pick up some scratch off lottery tickets, those are always a hit.  Dollar Tree and other dollar stores can be a great place to find stocking stuffers, but don't underestimate other places.

Amazon has a number of "add on" items that make wonderful stocking stuffers as well.  A few I have put on my wish list for Christmas shopping next time I make an order are:  a 25 count set of oil pastels for $2.00.  Bags for making grilled cheese in your toaster.  Dover always has a nice selection of inexpensive things such as sticker books and activity books.

Don't forget that health and beauty items make great stocking stuffers.  Cartoon bandages for children,  toothbrushes, and hair accessories are usually hits.  One bonus is if you are buying for your children, you likely have these things in your budget anyway and for just a small amount extra by buying something fun, it feels as if they got a gift instead of your normal plain bandages.

Inexpensive jewelry is also a great stocking stuffer.  Paparazzi sells nothing over $5, and all necklaces come with matching earrings.  There are also lanyards, earrings, head bands, hair clips, rings, and more.

Don't overlook freebies.  Kellogg's and Coca-Cola both have collect points and earn programs.  With Kellogg's you either need to set up your store card or snap photos of receipts to earn points you can redeem for things such as gift cards, books and more.  Also, keep an eye open for specially marked packages this time of year.  In the past I have found offers where if you buy one box of cereal, for example, you can get a free children's book.  Coca-Cola you enter points and then redeem them for various items.

My rule of thumb is anything that is useful that is a bit more fun than usual makes a great stocking stuffer.  One reason stocking stuffers tend to break the bank, in my opinion, is they are often the last items purchased and it's a rush to fill those stockings and so many times a gift card ends up in there, which tends to throw the budget off.  But thinking ahead, planning now, and shopping for the fillers can really be a huge savings come December!

What are some of your favorite items to stick in stockings?


  1. This is an awesome idea I'm totally going to do! Since we homeschool we don't need many supplies anyway. I always buy operation Christmas child stuff during August and September anyway. I also usually buy easter basket stuffers with summer clearance. Thanks for the idea.

  2. This is a really fantastic concept. I have a Christmas savings that I trickle money into throughout the year but by the time December rolls around I usually still come up short, not to mention the undignified shopping frenzy that I usually resort to the week before Christmas, lol. This is a great idea because this way you're actually *done* everything by the time Christmas comes and it's done in a stress-free, debt-free manner.

    I usually get little plushies/stuffed animals to put in stockings, I guess because they were my favourite when I was growing up. <3

    1. Corrie, I started this series some time back and never finished it when my mother got sick and passed away. Be sure to stop by each month for another idea on how to prepare for Christmas. I always loved stuffed animals, too. :) I might do a post sometime on claw machine tricks as I love playing claw machines. :)

  3. These are good ideas. I've started shopping at target and walmart's toy clearance already for some stuff for Christmas. Thanks for sharing on Family Joy Blog Link-up. Please come back and join us again!

  4. What a great idea! I've been thinking about Christmas, but haven't actually started doing anything about it yet haha