I’m happy to welcome another guest writer to the Good Enough Mother fold and boy, is she talking about some timely stuff. Worried about how to get from Halloween to Christmas with your wallet in one piece? Here are some ideas (and yes, Shelley is MUCH more organized than Good Enough Mother). And if you’d like to submit a guest posting for Good Enough Mother, click here and we’ll see what we can do!
Now that the summer break is over and back-to-school shopping is but a memory, how’s the health of your wallet? Hope it’s still good because now you have to run the financial gauntlet known as Q4. Halloween-Ch-ching! Thanksgiving. Ch-ching! Christmas. Ch-ch-ch-ching! Retailers with their enticing ads will take aim right at our cherubs, who, in turn, will take aim for the cash we worked so hard to save.
But don’t worry you can survive. As a work at home mom of three, for years I was struggling to make more money and find more time in my life. After many years of uncontrolled spending (I’m talking about me here, not the US economy) I have finally found a way to be in control. It’s really quite easy, no “secret” recipe here, you just need to plan ahead and be organized.
WRITE IT DOWN. IN ADVANCE! Most people just put dates on their calendars and then don’t start to panic until that day arrives. You know that Halloween is on 31st October each year so get your act together before then. Write it down a month in advance and with it, something of a mini-plan that includes details on party décor (are you hosting or going to a neighbors?) costumes (after taking stock of what you have) and treats. Write in detail, GEMs, DETAILS!
MAKE YOUR PLANS ACTIONABLE: Sounds good, right but what does this mean? Honestly, I could never quite grasp why such an avid list-maker as myself, still managed to fail miserably at things I had planned. See, it’s not enough to jot down “Party food” on your mini-plan; you need specifics. “Halloween treats” is a vague statement. “Buy 4 packs of Halloween treats from Wal-Mart” is an actionable command and builds off the “details” point above.
BECOME A SAVVY SHOPPER: Most moms are savvy shoppers anyway since we’re the ones with a keen eye on the budget. But even if you’re good, you can still be better and one of the best ways to do that is by learning the ins and outs of shopping online. You can comparison shop online, search for coupon codes and have it all delivered right to your door, in some cases, with free shipping. Think of the gas and headaches you’ll save!
FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU! I have 3 kids, I am a work at home mom and therefore I NEED to be organized otherwise I become swamped by events and overwhelmed. I used to wait until the last minute before buying gifts. Not only was rushing out to buy a gift for a friend’s child inconvenient, but I’d often end up paying premium prices too. So you know what I do now? I shop AFTER Christmas. I buy a few “spare toy gifts” and usually qualify for free shipping too. Now, whenever my kids are invited to a friend’s party – I already have an assortment of gifts at home and they think I’m amazingly organized!
Trust me, this really ends up saving you lots of $$$$ and you’ll find you enjoy the end of year celebrations even more, knowing you have made some great savings too.
What about you? What’s your secret to surviving the fourth quarter of the year? How will you plan to keep the season Merry while not dipping into your retirement savings?
Shelley Kim is a work at home mom of three, amazing children and owner of www.1st-toys-online.com, which is a website she put together after the birth of her second child. Knowing a lot more about fun toys for kids, toy safety and educational toys, makes her an expert when it comes to running this website, in her opinion!