On Saturday we finally made a start on the Christmas shopping. We chose this weekend as the Christmas lights had been switched on two nights earlier, so we could combine the shopping with viewing the lights. We normally attend the Christmas lights switch on and it has become a bit of a tradition over the years, however, rather than taking place on its usual Sunday afternoon, the City Council had decided to change it to mid-week, which meant we couldn’t go.
We had already followed my 10 Tips to Save Money on your Christmas Gifts post before we went, so we had a plan as to which shops we needed to visit and what we were looking for before we got there.
At the ages of 15 and 11 the kids have grown out of toys etc and this year had asked for clothes. As we were unsure as to exactly which items they wanted (it seemed to change daily J) we decided that we would present them with the cash on the day of the shopping trip and let them choose their gifts, which we would then wrap up and they would receive on Christmas Day. They didn’t take the cash with them but they had actually seen and held the cold, hard cash and knew the amount of money they each had to spend. Do you know what? This worked really, really well.
Now I can assure you my kids aren’t spoilt. They try to keep up with their peers but unfortunately, our income doesn’t seem to keep up with them – ha! I would like to add that, apart from a mortgage, we are lucky not to be in debt and we only ever spend what we have saved or have planned, so we are regularly saying ‘no’ to many requests that are made, particularly when it comes to certain items of clothing or games consoles when what they currently have is perfectly acceptable. It is hard sometimes though!
Now picture this, we walk into the first shop where both kids actually had items that they wanted to look at and try on. Eldest son finds a Nike hoodie that he has coveted for months. He tries it on, it fits perfectly, the next stop would usually be the checkout – not this time though. He took a look at the price tag (£85) and in a tone reminiscent of me said ‘HOW MUCH! I’m not paying that for one item of clothing’ and promptly put it back on the rail. He did eventually get a Nike hoodie but he found a different design, in another shop, which was almost half the price, so a happy mum and a happy son.
That scene was played out a number of times during our shopping trip, with both kids. All in all, a successful day and a lesson in the value of money at the same time – now that is good value!
How is your Christmas shopping going? Have you started yet, or do you like to leave it until the last minute?