Monday, 17 November 2014

Penny Lane

As we continue our quest to provide the minions with a fun and somewhat fiscally responsible holiday season, we are looking everywhere for ways to save a bit of moola.  This is the second part of my holiday spending series featuring a lot of ideas that can help all of us stay on track.  To read part one click here

Christmas 2011

Have you bought used toys, books or clothes for your kids as a gift? 
Only about half of the people I spoke to have already incorporated or were open to the idea of purchasing used items as a part of their holiday gifting.  That being said, those who embrace the spirit of recycled or pre-loved gifts had some great feedback on getting value.

"One year we bought a big Fisher Price castle set with all of the little people from a family that had posted it on Kijiji.  We spent a lot of time washing and drying everything, giggling and wrapping it up.  The kids thought it was amazing and didn't notice at all that it was used.  We would totally do that again." said Needs a Nap.

"Yard sales are DA BOMB!" said Uyen.  I've personally seen a lot of near new, or never used items at garage sales, so they're a great option if you're willing to start your gift planning really early.

This year I made a wish list of classic books, personal favourites and ones that received great reviews online that I can't wait to read to Molly and Jack.  I'm taking that list to our favourite used book stores and Good Will stores to see what I'm able to find to give to the minions from mom and dad!  Jack wanted some wooden puzzles for his birthday this year and a lot of used children's apparel stores (Once Upon A Child is one of my favourites!) also sell VERY gently used toys, books and puzzles, my mom was able to grab three puzzles for under $12 to give to Jack.  This stuff is in such good shape I know that there is no way that they'd ever accept any used goods from us, since the minions are typically pretty rough on their toys.

What are some of your money saving holiday tricks that you have found most effective?

"I like to bake for some people that normally I wouldn't buy for." said J.

"Use cash.  If you don't have it, don't spend it." said KM.

"Start shopping early.  That way you get sales and all the bills don't come in at once." said Needs A Nap.

"Using PC points for groceries, not paying for shipping for presents for my family in another province. Buying through and anywhere else I can get free shipping (saves me money)." said Plover.

Chris and I have used air miles before for gifts or gift certificates to purchase holiday gifts, we've also set a family rule of only doing stocking stuffers for adults (gift maximum of $15-20 per adult). This lets us to get a little silly and/or go together on a gift with other family members for someone if we see something really special.  This is the second year we've had this rule for shopping with my in laws (and about the fifteenth year with my family).  All together it saves hundreds of dollars every Christmas. November is also a prime time to find some deals.  There are a few toy stores that offer gift cards back for every $40 or $50 you spend, we used our Mastermind Toys gift card from last year to buy some birthday gifts for our nieces and nephew this year.

Where do you like to shop to save some money or buy used gifts?  What are your best money saving tricks?  Please share!  If you'd like to answer any of my holiday surveys drop me a line: - subject line Holiday Surveys.

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