As an Independent Mother you may sometimes feel like you need to overcompensate and buy lots of presents for your child(ren) when in reality you do not ned to do this at all. Material things are just that – material, they do not replace love and attention. Your child(ren) require these things to thrive, but of course having a treat here and there is also a nice gesture.
For Bella’s first Christmas I bought her a ton of toys, for me it was not so much about over compensating, but rather just "oh she will love this! or "oh my gosh, I have to buy her that!" Child(ren) get bored easily and tend to move on to the next thing pretty quickly, this is why this year I have decided to purchase only what she needs and less of what she wants. It may seem mean, but my daughter has a bedroom FULL of different toys. She has Barbie’s, dolls, three bookcases packed with books, electronic toys and wooden toys a plenty!
Every time she sees a new toy she asks, and I usually buy it for her, but I want her to appreciate the toys she has rather than just seeing them as a here today, gone tomorrow kind of thing. I have decided to purchase only one toy for her this year, possibly two and these are 2 toys she has been asking me for, for a long time. The rest of her presents will be essentials; clothes, shoes, books and learning materials.
Below is a list of tips to help us both to survive the Christmas shopping without spending too much!
1. Christmas is once a year, you can make it special without putting yourself in debt.
2. If you can buy one big/main present and over small presents such as essentials as I stated above.
3. Invest in lifelong things; books, learning resources, flashcards and so forth. Education is paramount and will stay with them for life.
4. Do not overcompensate for their absent father, do your best and only your best. You cannot continue to overcompensate for someone who is not present. Sadly, that is on him, not you.
5. Prioritise and do not put unimportant things over the important things.
6. Create a list and stick to it, nothing more and nothing less!
7. Check your account and ensure that all of your bills have been paid/will be paid and that you have enough money to get the presents on your list.
8. Shop for bargains and do not feel bad about doing so. There are a lot of 3 for 2 offers this time of year in various shops such as Boots, Superdrug, etc.
9. Use your points to help to pay for purchases. I mean you have been saving them up for the whole year, you may as well use them unless you are saving them for something else.
10. If your family/friends are into it, then maybe suggest doing a secret santa. With my family we love to buy each other gifts, but as we have all grown up Christmas is more for the children than us.
11. Remember the reason for the season and do not get overwhelmed because you have not managed to purchase everything requested – you are human, you can only do what you can manage.
12. If you co-parent with your child(ren)’s dad, then maybe you can work through their Christmas present list together and find out what he will purchase and what you will purchase for your child(ren) – it saves money and will save time. Teamwork makes the dream work!
13. Quality over quantity; if you really are on a tight budget then purchase one main present for your child, one that you know they will be really happy with. They will get presents from other family members/friends, so it should even things out.
14. Try to make Christmas special, not just for your child(ren), but for yourself too. Christmas is not all about buying and giving but remembering the importance of Christmas; Jesus will always be the reason for the season.
15. Focus on your blessings and all that you do have rather than what you have not got and what you still need. God will take care of the rest.
16. Ask for help and do not feel ashamed to do so, if you are all having a family dinner and you have been asked to cover a certain item, but you cannot stretch to that amount, then ask someone else in the family if they will be prepared to help you with it. If you do not ask, then you will never know. That is what family is for, so ask and do not suffer in silence.
17. Once you have reached your budget then STOP! You will be grateful that you did, trust me.
18. Do not buy anything on credit – if you do not buy it using cash, tell yourself that you cannot physically afford it.
19. Opt for making presents too, handmade gifts are the sweetest because so much thought and consideration goes into them. I love receiving these kinds of gifts.
20. Put together a gift basket or a gift hamper, it is the thought that counts and when you know the person and know what they like it makes it even more special. You can put a little bit of everything in there without breaking the bank.
21. Shop small! A lot of small shops and businesses have some amazing products on offer, but of course because they are not as big as the other larger companies, not many people may know about them. Look out for them on social media, in particular Instagram. Try a hashtag search or even asking your followers if they can tag some cool small shops to your post.
22. Gift cards are another great idea for presents because they allow the recipient to spend them as they wish.
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