Well, the busiest shopping week of the year is upon us. On Friday, millions of people will brave the crowds in the wee hours of the morning, just to score a deal on Christmas gifts.
Me? I’ll probably be shopping in front of the computer in my PJs, having stuff delivered directly to my home, so I can avoid the traffic and the crowds of the Christmas season.
Regardless of how you shop, it is the season to start thinking Christmas gifts. And I thought it might be fun to look at a few gifts that could enhance a frugal lifestyle.
A Crockpot. We all know that the truly frugal don’t like to spend money on eating out. But for those of us with school aged kids, sometimes afternoon activities make it difficult to find time to cook. For those people, a crockpot is a great gift! I use mine all the time. In fact, I use it so much that the handle fell off the lid. I’m too cheap to buy a new one though.
A Bread Machine. Last week I baked all my own bread. My bread machine has been a lifesaver. I used to do all the kneading in my kitchenaid mixer, but now that I’m homeschooling, I don’t have time to mix, let rise, punch down, and let rise again. I just let the bread machine do it all for me. And we have eaten fabulous, whole wheat bread with no preservatives or corn syrup every day.
Netflix/Roku. My favorite frugal discovery in the entertainment realm has been a Netflix membership and a Roku box. For $13.99 a month, I get 2 DVDs in the mail at a time, and the number of DVDs per month is unlimited. I can also watch an unlimited number of direct stream movies a month.
This is a perfect gift for the homeschooling family, as I have used Netflix a ton in conjunction with homeschooling. I also use Netflix for favorite movies, television series, and workout DVDs. The Roku box comes in handy for direct streaming to your television. If you have a laptop that connects to your television, though, you don’t even need the Roku box.
A Programmable Thermostat. We don’t have one yet, but I would love a programmable thermostat! I’m pretty good about remembering to turn down the heat at night, but I would love to set the thermostat to warm up the house a bit before I get out of bed. Call me crazy, but I’d love a programmable thermostat for Christmas.
A Down Comforter. Down comforters go a long way toward keeping you toasty warm on cold winter nights, so you can keep your thermostat lower at night. Properly cared for, they last a long time, too.
The Money Savvy Pig. I love this piggy bank. Each of my kids have one. It’s a fairly good sized piggy bank with four chambers: give, save, spend, and invest. From an early age, you can teach your kids to budget their allowances, so they meet their financial goals!
The Game of Life. We rediscovered this game a couple of months ago. It’s not always completely true to life, but playing the game with your kids can spark some good, and important, discussions on topics like debt, choosing to go to college, the cost of having children, and more.
YNAB Pro/YNAB 3. If you’ve never kept a budget before, why not make 2010 the year to start? YNAB is a great budget tracking system for beginners, and it works well for budgeting veterans, too. I bought it as an after-Christmas gift for myself a couple of years ago, and I’m glad I did. It really made tracking my budget easier than tracking with Quicken, which is what I was using before YNAB.
Those are my gift suggestions for the frugal person in your life. Do you have anything to add?
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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