3 1/2 Books To Help You Have A Thrifty Christmas


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I know what some of you are thinking, “It is not even Halloween yet, why are you talking about Christmas?”

3 1/2 books to help you have a thrifty Christmas

Here is why–I want you to be financially prepared for Christmas this year and to do that you have to start early.

If you have read my blog for any length of time you know that my favorite way to grow in knowledge is through reading books.

Books can help you grow in any area of your life–including curbing your Christmas spending so that you stay within your means, yet still are able to give something to those you love.

3 1/2 Books To Help You Have A Thrifty Christmas

1.  31 Days Of Living Well and Spending Zero: Freeze Your Spending. Change Your Life.

31 Days Of Living Well and Spending Zero started out as a series of blog posts on the blog Living Well Spending Less. Ruth sent me the book version not that long ago and all the way through the book I kept thinking, “People who are searching for Christmas cash need to do this.” Not only will 31 Days Of Living Well and Spending Zero help you find the cash you need for Christmas, it will also help you prepare your home–there is a whole week on cleaning and decluttering–and find your inner creativity to create gifts from craft supplies you already have on hand (there is a whole week devoted to this topic).

You could just hop on over to Living Well, Spending Less and do the entire challenge there for free, and if money is super tight, I suggest doing just that. However, what is nice about having the book in hand is the convenience of being able to refer to it whenever you wish.

Ruth is currently going through the challenge again with her readers. They started October 1st. Don’t worry though–you can start your own 31 Day spending freeze any day you want; especially if you have the book to guide you.


2. Keep The Happy In Your Holidays: 21 Ways To Save Time, Money, And Your Sanity This Christmas Season

Keep The Happy In Your Holidays is only available in Kindle format, so you won’t find a copy at your local library; but it is totally worth the current price of $1.99.

I don’t think I can say what I like about this book any better than I did in my original Amazon review…

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3.Debt-Proof Your Christmas: Celebrating The Holidays Without Breaking the Bank

I read the original edition of Debt-Proof Your Christmas years ago and found if full of great, practical advice that will help you stay on track financially during the Christmas season.

psst…my favorite way to pay for books is by using Amazon gift cards earned through Swagbucks.

The Half a Book

You probably read the title and went, “How can you have half a book?” Well, the answer is I wrote a mini eBook of just under 6,000 words and a set of 8 printables that will help you find the cash and items you need to complete your Christmas list when money is tight. I call it my Christmas On A Zero Budget: Printable Plan. It was inspired by my most popular post on my blog, Christmas On A Zero Budget, but takes the topic even further. I added 4 more ways to create cash for your Christmas budget when you have zero and gave you 8 printables to help you plan and achieve each of the steps.

subscribe and grab your Christmas On A Zero Budget Printable PlanBest part–you can have a FREE copy when you sign up for my weekly newsletter!

Follow Victoria @Snail Pace Transformations’s board Thrifty Christmas Tips on Pinterest.

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10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Children’s Toys


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My children are all teenagers  so I currently don’t buy many toys anymore unless they’re for baby shower gifts. However, I still remember all the tricks I learned through my years as a mom of little ones for saving money on toys and today I thought I would share them with you.

10 ways thrifty people save money on children's toys10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Children’s Toys

1. Buy Less

The number one way to save money on toys is to make sure that you don’t over buy. Children don’t really need that many toys. In fact, in my years as a daycare provider I often found that having too many toys caused stimulation overload in children, making them cranky and unable to really concentrate on playing with anything.

I suggest setting physical limits on your child’s  (children’s) toy collection. Perhaps no more than can fit in one toy bin, or a small book shelf with bins. You decide what works best for your family.

2. Buy Quality

Inexpensive toys break fast and simply are not worth the low price tag. In fact, I think you can find quality name brand items on sale or gently used for the same or lower prices than inferior toys. You just have to know how and where to shop.

Good quality toys are not just well made, they also stimulate the imagination of the child. They usually don’t do all the work for the child–meaning they require imagination instead of batteries. Wooden block sets, Lego’s, and quality molded plastic animals are just a few examples.

3. Buy Gently Used

Another benefit of buying quality toys is that they are long lasting and therefore you can find them on the secondhand market. My favorite place for finding gently used toys for my own children when they were younger was yard sales, but you can also find them in thrift stores, on eBay, in Facebook Buy & Sell groups, consignment stores, and more.

I would suggest you study up on the sale prices of new items first before you search the secondhand market as I found some sellers wanting prices that were as high as the items went for when they were new on clearance.

4. Buy On Clearance

I found that the best time to find awesome markdowns on toys was after Christmas. When my boys were into Lego, every January at either Walmart or Target I would find Lego sets marked down to as much as 50% off. I would stock up on them not just for gifts for my boys but as birthday gifts for their friends.

5. Trade or Borrow Them

Especially in the infancy stage, little ones go through toys quite quickly. The rattle they used in the first 3 months of life becomes boring and they are ready to play with something just a bit more developmentally advanced. If you happen to have family or friends who have children just a bit older, they might be okay with you borrowing their children’s outgrown toys, especially if they are planning to have more children and you keeping the toys a while means they don’t have to find a place to store them in the mean time.

A toy swap could also be done with friends who have children similar ages. Especially mid-winter when the kids are suffering from cabin fever and playing with something new would ease the crazy that sometimes comes with being stuck inside during weeks of freezing temperatures.

6. Use Discount Gift Cards To Purchase Them

If you are planning to buy a birthday gift, or Christmas gift new you can save yourself a few dollars by buying a discounted gift card from Cardpool before you go shopping. It does take a bit of advance planning but the savings can add up, for instance Cardpool frequently offers Toys R Us gift cards for 7% off, Build A Bear gift cards for  up to 21% off and American Girl Gift Cards for 7% off.  You can then stack the gift card savings with sales and coupons to save even more.

7. Buy On Sale

Department stores typically run big sales on toys during the Christmas season. Amazon often runs toy sales not just at Christmas but through out the year on various brands. You can increase your savings by combining the sale with a coupon and paying with a discounted gift card.

8. Use Coupons

I  often see printable coupons available for toys, card games, and board games. In general I see them most often during the Easter or Christmas season but I have seen them at other times too.  The site Money Saving Mom often lists them, as well as what sales to combine them with to increase your savings.

9. Use Cash Back Programs

Cash back sites offer you money back on your online purchases when you go through the links on  their site to the site you want to shop at (providing they offer a cash back deal for that store). I think it is best to be a member of a few different cash back sites as it increases the chances of getting a cash back for the store you want to shop at.

Here are a few cash back sites I am a member at…

  1. Ebates: Offers a huge selection of stores. I like Ebates because it offers fairly high cash back offers from time to time.
  2. Top Cash Back: I like Top Cash Back because it doesn’t have a minimal cash out limit which means you can cash out your rebate the moment it hits your account regardless of the size of the cash out.

Here are a few point programs that offer cash backs the I am a member of…

  1. Swagbucks: With cash back being one of 24 ways to earn SB points you can easily top off your account to the 500 SB needed to get a $5 e-gift card by doing things online that you are already doing, such as doing web searches.
  2. My Points: What I love about My Points is that currently they still offer physical, hold-in-your-hand gift cards as a cash out option for points. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer these to paper, print-out ones.

10. Make The Children Save Up & Buy Their Own

Once my children were old enough to start doing a few basic chores I started paying them a set amount for each chore they did. I also had them set a savings goal. When they were little that goal was often toy based. As the children got older the goals got bigger, with my daughter saving up for her very own American Girl Doll at age 8 and my eldest son saving up to buy an Xbox 360 at age 14.

We still buy them Christmas gifts and Birthday gifts, although as they have gotten older they have often asked for cash instead of a gift so that they can combine our money with their savings to buy a bigger item than we would have bought. I am okay with that. It thrills my thrifty heart to see my children reaching their saving goals.

For more information on how to save money on toys check out:

10 Toys With Excellent Play Value & How To Save Money On Them

15 Family Favorite Board Games & 7 Ways To Spend Less On Them

Follow Victoria @Snail Pace Transformations’s board Saving Money Tips on Pinterest.

If you found this post to be useful, make sure you don’t miss my latest posts! Have them delivered to your inbox by signing up for my weekly newsletter. Get to know the blogger behind the blog by following me on Facebook or Instagram.

subscribe and grab your Christmas On A Zero Budget Printable PlanSubscribe to my weekly newsletter to get your free copy of Christmas On A Zero Budget: The Printable Plan.


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Christmas On A Zero Budget: Free Mini E-Book & Printable Planning Pack


Last November I opened up and told our story of how broke my husband and I were one Christmas season so many years ago and how it caused me to use my creative thinking skills to fulfill our Christmas list with very little money.

Learn how to complete your Christmas list even if you have nothing saved right now.

I had no idea how well received the post would be. Honestly, all the traffic left me feeling like I should do something more for all those struggling financially like we were that Christmas. Something to guide you through each of the 10 steps the first post mentioned, plus 4 more so that you can find the funds you need to provide gifts for those you love on Christmas day.

Something to help you not just create a plan, but work the plan and actually succeed–to wake up Christmas morning with gifts under the tree, stockings filled with care, and the ingredients to make a Christmas dinner in your fridge without taking a cent from your regular day to day budget.

All of this led me to creating my new, free Christmas On A Zero Budget mini e-Book and printable planning pack. Christmas for zero will still take work…I can’t do that for you…but I have done most of the brainstorming for you and provided you with planning sheets to help you achieve each step.

I have poured every last creative, out of the box thinking, thrifty thought into a free mini e-Book and a printable planning pack that will guide you through the 14-step, two month plan that you can use to successfully create your own Christmas On A Zero Budget Plan.

Grab your free mini eBook and complete your Christmas list ...no matter how little your Christmas fund may be.

The mini e-book contains the original 10 ideas for creating Christmas from zero but takes them further. Plus, I added in 4 new ways to help you create Christmas on a zero budget.

Christmas On A Zero Budget 8 printables to help you complete your Christmas gift list even when cash is tight

The printable pack contains 8 printables to help guide you through the 14 points, including plans to help you earn $175 in gift cards in 60 days as well as 2 or more books that you can use as gifts.

I am offering both the mini e-Book and the printable planning pack completely free to those who subscribe to my blog.

In return for subscribing you not only get the free Christmas On A Zero Budget mini e-Book and the printable planning pack, but as a subscriber you also get a weekly newsletter from me that contains a personal letter from me each week, a homemaking tip, a deal so good I had to share, and the links to the past weeks blog posts that I wrote.

If you want to say thanks for the free gift you can…

subscribe and grab your Christmas On A Zero Budget Printable Plan

To grab your free copy of Christmas On A Zero Budget: Printable 14 Step Plan mini e-Book & Christmas On A Zero Budget: Printable Pack sign up for my newsletter: click here. Thanks!

psst.. if you recently subscribed, don’t worry. The link to your free copy should be coming to you soon. Also, if you get my posts delivered automatically to you inbox but don’t currently receive my weekly newsletter, that means you are following me using Feedburner and are not officially subscribed to my email list. You need to sign up to get your copy.

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