I have always, always, always loved this time of year.  I could go on and on again about all of my wonderful childhood memories of Christmas, BUT, I won't!!! LOL  What I can tell you... is shopping with my grandma as a youngster and then young adult are some of my very favorite memories!!

I love to shop!  LOVE IT!  However, being the frugal woman God has made me, I don't always like to spend money!  And sometimes it is not that I don't want to spend it, the extra money just may not be there to spend.  I am sure you all can relate to that one!  

So Christmas can sometimes be a stressful time of year for people not because they don't love the festivities but because of the extra money involved.  And it does seem that every which way you turn this time of year, there is a hand reaching in your wallet.  I get that!  So today, I am going to share with you some of my favorite ways to save money at Christmas as well as my current favorite stores to buy thrifty but nice and meaningful gifts!!!

1. I try to shop early!  Now, I know this is kind of a moot point since it is almost December, but this is one thing I do try to do.  I attempt to spread out the spending so it does not hit me all at one time!  Now, that I am doing the cash system, this coming year I will be WAY more diligent in putting money away for Christmas each pay period.  I have always pondered doing this but never followed through.  Mark my word.... I will be doing this for 2017!!!  The one downfall to shopping too early I have found, is sometimes this backfires and I end up spending more money as I continue to see more and more deals and can't resist! Which leads me to number 2.....

2.  SELF CONTROL!  If you have a giving heart and love to give gifts this can be a very difficult one this time of year.  Set a budget on what you want to spend TOTAL for Christmas gifts and then distribute that among those you give to. We don't necessarily always play the "fair" game around here.  For instance, my 3 year old will never know understand or know how much money we spend on her and her gifts are relatively inexpensive, whereas, my teenage son thinks we are printing money in the basement!!!  Don't get caught up in having to spend the same on each person or child..... let God lead your gift giving and teach your children gratefulness.  Of course as they are older and are able to recognize more who got what, we make sure there is balance but we don't stress over dollar amounts.  We have our kids make a list with their number one thing on top and we try to get as many things as financially possible on that list.  If we can't get them, we pass them on to family members.  

3. Sales/ Coupons!  There truly is never a reason to pay full price for anything this time of year!  There are sales virtually everywhere!  I get coupons in the mail for a zillion different stores and I make sure I utilize them if they apply to what I am needing to buy.  Once again, if you are able to get something cheap or free for someone though sales and coupons, that is awesome!  Don't feel like a scrooge because you didn't pay much for their gift!  Count it as a financial blessing!  There are terrific websites that have offers for next to nothing for beautiful photo type gifts!  Utilize them and praise God for it!!!

4. Put heart and meaning in your gifts!  This is probably one of the best tips as it can save you money and make your gift giving even more enjoyable!  This is a little more difficult with kiddos as they often have a list they started on December 26th the prior year, however, with other adults and family members this is a powerful way to save money and bring more joy to gift giving!  Don't just buy gifts to be buying gifts, take the time to really think and pray about what that person would like.  Sometimes God will lay a homemade gift on your heart or something you know would be meaningful to them that may cost very little.  Last year my mother in law helped me make memory pillows for each of my sisters, my mom and aunt out of one of my Poppy's old suits.  They were so precious and my family LOVED them!  That probably meant more to them than any store bought gift could!

Here is some adorable tissue paper, wrapping paper, little gift boxes and the best smelling peppermint vanilla hand soap I got from TJ MAXX!!!!!
So... here is my list of stores that are my CURRENT thrifty, fun favorites for Christmas shopping!

1. TJ MAXX-  Oh my.... I LOVE TJ MAXX!  Let me tell you.... I really, really dislike going there with anyone who doesn't like to shop, (ahem.... my spouse!!) because I can literally spend 2 hours minimum in there looking around!!  They have EVERYTHING.... name brand or not for pretty inexpensive prices!!  They have adorable seasonal items such as; wrapping paper, pillows, hand soaps, lotions etc. I seriously love this store!  It is a VERY good thing that the closest one to me is in DesMoines, which requires me to drive over an hour if I really want to go there.  That is like my dream "Missy time."  To literally have as much time as I want to wander around TJ MAXX!  LOL  I shared a photo of some of my favorite recent finds there.  It is a great place to find odds and ends gifts for people.  GO THERE!!!  REALLY!  

2. BATH AND BODY WORKS- Now, this is a favorite for many but they truly have some of the best deals ever with coupons.  You can get items free often and I can leave there with a bag full of gifts for five people for under $50 using coupons!  Almost everyone loves bath and body stuff and they also have candles, hand sanitizers, lip gloss and other cute gifts!!!  You can give someone a bottle of their favorite lotion and a pair of comfy, fuzzy socks and that is an adorable gift almost anyone would love!!

3. OLD NAVY- Once again... they have awesome coupons and sales and if you have an Old Navy or Gap credit card you will earn amazing monetary rewards as well.  Yes, you have to be disciplined in using the card and paying it off but it is well worth having one if you are disciplined and like to save money.  You can get something for everyone there and their prices are great during sales!!  I just placed an order online and saved over $60 using my rewards and super cash!  I bought, 10 different items, including a pair of adorable boots for Audree and a pair of FREE fuzzy socks and spent under $50.  

4.  DOLLAR TREE- This to me is hands down the BEST place to buy gift bags, ribbon and gift wrapping supplies!  Every bag is a dollar, big or small and they have some adorable stuff to choose from!!!!  I refuse to pay and arm and a leg for gift wrap that gets torn through and thrown to the side!  This is my go to place for gift wrapping supplies! I also bought some gift wrap at TJ MAXX this year as they have adorable, heavy duty paper for only $2.99 a roll and heavy duty works well for us as we travel with all our gifts and they often get tossed around! Cheap paper tears too easily!

So... there you have it folks!  These are my favorite ways to save money and my favorite places to shop to do so!  I hope this helps take a little of the stress out of gift giving this year because in the end.... that is not the focus of Christmas anyway!  It is the heart behind the gift giving that is most important and if your heart is weary..... it takes the joy out of it.  Focus on God's guidance and give as He leads not as YOU feel you need to.  

I promise... it will be more meaningful for everyone!!


Peace and Blessings
Your Friend