Just in time for Black Friday! Are you heading out to brave the crowds? Flexing your budgeting muscles? Turning from the temptation to overspend? How will this season be affected by the dreadful state of the economy? Here's a good article for those of you who like to read about that sort of stuff-- I never really did until I wrote a book about finances, and now I am drawn to this sort of info! Go figure!
I thought that I would post a few links today for those who are needing some ideas as the official shopping season begins. Already done all your shopping? Well, good for you. Really, I applaud your organization and propensity for being prepared ahead of time. But for those of you non-overachiever types, here's some info you might need.
There are several gift guides circulating out there in the blogosphere. If you are like me, guides like these are great because too often you have NO idea what to buy! But I want a guide written by moms, for moms-- people with real budgets, not Oprah's idea of a great gift! I have found a few links you might want to check out by two of my friends from the Disney Mom Blogger trip:
Check out the Parent Sphere Holiday Giveaway Guide-- you might win some good gifts! Wouldn't that be nice?
And this one from Musings Of A Housewife had some neat suggestions.
Finally, I loved this link for gift ideas for giving books. I love to give books to kids and this list inspired me to think outside the box a bit! Books make great gifts and are relatively inexpensive. I usually hit my the Scholastic warehouse in my area for a bit of holiday shopping. If you are a homeschooler and don't know about this great resource, go to this site to see if there is one in your area, get registered and make time to go. Usually everything in the warehouse is half off. It's a great place to pick up stocking stuffers and gifts for the cousins!
Above all, over this weekend traditionally devoted to shopping, shopping, and more shopping, really think through what you are going to buy and why you are going to buy it. Does the person really need the item or are you just buying them something to say you did? Could that money be better spent some other way? Do you need to be honest with people this year and just say, "We love you and we are thinking of you, but this year we just can't give like we have in other years?"
I am even doing this with my children-- really thinking through what we buy them and evaluating what we cart into this house before I make suggestions to the folks who love them and want to buy for them. My kids, to be honest, rarely play with toys so spending money on toys for them is a waste. Clothes, craft supplies, dvd's and computer games are better uses of money. Those things will actually be used. I feel bad when I look at the broken and discarded toys littering their closets and forgotten under their beds. Why add to that?
I think that you will find that there is no shame in being honest this year and cutting back-- because so many people are in the exact same boat. Being the one to take the lead and tell the truth might just release someone else to do the same. And there is really no sense in going into debt to buy one more thing that someone doesn't really need in the name of saying you did. That's just my thoughts on the issue. If you want to give, give a donation in their honor. It will go a lot further than a pair of spa therapy socks or a touchless soap dispenser! I think this Christmas is going to be about assessing what we really need versus coveting things we merely want. And that is a change for the better.