Tips to spend less on your kids this Christmas!

*This post is brought to you by Shop A Docket

If you’re thinking of cutting back this Christmas you’re not alone.

Everyone I have spoken to is reducing how much they buy their kids, I know I am.

In my household it’s got to the point where mine open one present and then greedily ask for another – well ENOUGH I SAY!

I’m putting my big size 11 foot down this year and am determined to spend less and save money so we can enjoy our holiday away instead.

What I’m trying really hard to do is think about EVERY SINGLE THING I buy and then give myself 20 questions about whether it’s actually necessary.

By doing this I have not bought more colouring books, dolls my daughter loves but won’t play with and Lego my son isn’t old enough to appreciate yet.

It’s not easy to save money during the silly season because we all get caught up thinking that we haven’t got enough for one child so buy another one and then realise one has more than another so we buy ANOTHER present!

I’m no expert but this is what I’m trying to do this year to save money…

1. Stop buying because it’s a bargain!

Don’t go overboard and get them things they don’t really need just because it’s half price! You know you’ll end up wishing you’d never bought it a week after Christmas.

Here is my suggestion, actually it’s not mine. Someone WAY smarter than I thought this up and I just heard it or read it somewhere and I am sharing it with you.

xmas wish list kids1

Get the kids to fill this out and then use it as a guide for your shopping. It could also be useful to send to other fussy hard-to-buy for family members/friends/colleagues.

2. Give someone an experience not a dud gift they are too polite to say they hate.

In this day and age there’s no need to give a useless gift, why not search online for websites that sell experiences such as a weekend away!

I was trawling through theΒ Shop A Docket website and my eyes boggled at all the cheap meal coupons (and wine) but they also have discounts on massages, airport car parking, car servicing, carpet cleaning, cheap movie tickets and beauty treatments.

For those on the Gold Coast there is also heavily discounted entry into the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary!

Now if you’ve married into a very practical family then this is your best bet. Why buy them crap you know they won’t use but you buy anyway because you feel as though you have to give them something.

Be practical people.

images (1)

3. Always keep your receipts!

Find an envelope and remember to put in every single receipt you have so the giftee can exchange what you got them for what they really want!

The chances are the one time you think MEH it’ll be okay and biff the docket you’ll need it so don’t risk it.

My mum has this sorted, she knows that when she buys me nice sleepwear because she hates my old stuff that I’ll probably change it. She knows not to be offended now but it’s taken a few years of training!

Another reason to keep dockets is for the bargains on the reverse side!

While I’m more of an online coupon girl, Shop A Docket still print all their discount details on the back of most supermarket rolls for those older folk who aren’t that tech savvy!

So tell me your best tip to saving money and not spending redick amounts of Xmas presents?

Do you prefer to buy gifts or experiences for your loved ones?


  1. I like to buy gifts but I’m beginning to think that experiences are the way to go – with waste and also more fun….

  2. Yes! I think it’s really easy to get tempted to keep on spending, particularly with the kids. I like that 4 present idea. I have been trying to be a bit more conservative this year but then Mr Vick just went out and bought them a trampoline!!! Gahhh!

    With people who I know have everything or who are particularly fussy, I think buying experiences is a good way to go. We don’t need anymore STUFF!

  3. Lol, I’m totally old: I check the back of the docket after every supermarket shop:)

  4. The kids get one pressie from Santa between them and sometimes we buy them something else as well. Not always. They have plenty of aunties and grandmas to buy for them, so I don’t see the point of filling my house with more crap!!! It’s been the same since forever, so they don’t even care. This year, two relatives sent money so I used it to buy the bigger two a ticket to Wicked each. We all win!

  5. I love this idea and say I am going to use it every year… until i buy too many gifts πŸ™‚

  6. Oh I love the idea of buying “experiences” for people. It’s hard to find gifts for people who seem to not be in need or want of anything, but at least an experience is something unique and would “force” them to take the time out of their busy lives and mundane πŸ™‚

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  7. Now you’re talking my lingo Emily – put the money into a holiday.
    But seriously I here you. The last couple of years I have filled out the presents with a book, jigsaw, clothes and even a reem of coloured paper. OK they don’t get the same glees of joy as the one toy but hey he still loved unwrapping them so just remember to rap each item seperately πŸ™‚

  8. I have followed that for a few years , with a few extras.

    “Give someone an experience not a dud gift they are too polite to say they hate”…. did you see the video of the poor kid and the chopping board. I cried with him when he got the real gift.

    I feel a bit naughty wanting to surprise my kids with a few potatoes – mainly for my amusement and torn between teaching a lesson.

    Our local shop -a dockets are a bit dud – living in the dusty sticks but online can be useful.

  9. Great idea. I love buying an experience- even just movie tickets or ten pin bowling vouchers for kids πŸ™‚
    Also, I, too am a size 11 *hugs ecstatically* we are few and far between! us big-footed amazons!

  10. I’ve seen kids get more enjoyment out of a $2 bubble wand than an expensive gift! Young kids especially have no concept of how much things cost. We have so much STUFF in our house so I’m with you on the idea of experience gifts this year. I’ve bought an annual pass to Perth Zoo for Miss TT and entry passes with an experience feeding the giraffes for my nieces. Not being able to help myself though, I’ll put something small with the vouchers that they can enjoy on Christmas day. I do find shopping for kids stuff is more fun than us boring adults!

  11. This is so good, Emily! My sister’s husband traditionally gives her one gift for each of her five senses. I think that’s a pretty fun idea.
    I am totally one of those people who has to stop myself from buying something half price.
    Aldi has been my surprise gift destination this year. I love it!

  12. Up until we moved to Perth, we only ever did the one present from us and one from Santa for our three girls because we found that grandparents and aunts went overboard. Since moving, the massive amounts of gifts have stopped because it’s expensive to post, so it’s cash or vouchers. So I do tend to buy more gifts so under the tree doesn’t look so empty. They tend to be things the girls need that fill the gaps.

    This year, the girls are all saving up for one thing or another, my eldest (16) a $5k trip to Greece with school which she has almost paid for in full, so they are all asking for money or gift vouchers they can spend in the sales. I’m half tempted not to put the tree up at all.

  13. Yep we always go overboard and I’m positive that they don’t appreciate everything they get. The problem is we have now set a precedent and they have come to expect it every year. This year however I’m going to impose your philosophy with my older two, they at least understand where everything comes from…

  14. I love giving and receiving experiences! I’d rather have awesome memories with my family than a heap of stuff.
    We are desperately trying to limit our spending. I have a budget and when I reached it, I stopped Christmas shopping. No ifs buts or maybes.

  15. I was on that merry-go-round for many years too Emily. At one stage I just stopped. I’d buy them three good presents each and then wrap up a lot of presents they actually needed like books, socks, jocks, novelty pencil cases, backpacks, water bottles etc. Things they would need in the new year. They didn’t care because they got what they wanted and had a lot of presents to open.

  16. This year I did all the kids on one day and I think that saved us money. You spend so much in one hit, rather than $20 here or $50 there, that you don’t want to ever spend money again!

  17. I’m with you re: don’t buy it because it’s a bargain. Our present cupboard is permanently full with these kind of items – on the plus side there is always a stash of gifts for those birthdays I always seem to forget!

  18. This year I’ve been super strict on what I’ve bought. I knew what I wanted a few months ago and then bought it all when it was on sale throughout the last 2-3 months. I’m actually really proud of myself for sticking to it because I thought I’d just keep buying stuff.

  19. Love your points we’ve used the want, need, wear, read for years and are actually going even more minimal than that this year. It should be about spending time together not gifts, besides I want to save the money for our holiday next year.

  20. I so need to put all those dockets in an envelope. I always put them somewhere safe, which could be 1 of 20 places. Getting an envelope out now. x

  21. This is spot on! When I struggle to think of a gift for someone because they have everything then I always go for experiences. We are even doing that for our kids this year – obviously some gifts because Santa just cannot help himself – but experiences are an awesome gift!

  22. Definitely cutting back this year. Just a few important and meaningful gifts that I know they want. We only buy for the kids in the family, not adults, so it’s always important for us to think carefully. I just have a tendency to go overboard sometimes lol!

  23. I like the idea of kids narrowing down the list with your little rhyme. Keeping it specific and practical is awesome! Although ‘something I want’ would still be a pet unicorn for my Miss 6. Every year with the unicorn! I must have a look at the Shop A Docket site for some other options, especially for the grown ups. Did you notice any discount unicorns?

  24. The best shop-a-docket bargains I see are for local restaurants and play centres, which are both very useful, but I’ll have to have a look online to see what else is on offer.

    I always struggle with the quality present vs number of presents issue, although I think this is getting easier as the kids get older. They love seeing a pile of presents even if each one is very cheap, but then we end up with a pile of cheap plastic rubbish. So I usually buy them only one or two toys then get clothes/pyjamas/bathers/bath or beach towels, etc. Things that they need and I would buy them anyway.

  25. I’m guilty of going totally over the top but my little girl is only 2 and she doesn’t need – or want – all of the crap I am inclined to buy her. Thank you for the timely reminder!

  26. I’m very bah-humbugy about Christmas so it’s a time of year I’m relieved I’ve only got 1 brother and he’s only got 1 daughter. Although when she was little Christmas was all about her and so a tad exciting. As she’s grown though we’re all a bit #meh.

    I used to get a bit carried away when shopping for her – until she got to the age when she preferred I give her money to buy stuff she actually wants. I need to buy very few presents now!

  27. I’ve always loved a practical gift. I’m that boring aunty/sister!

    This year I have implored my family to go in together to buy the kids experiences rather than things. Because yes, I can’t handle the whole ‘open a present and then immediately say “where’s the next one”‘thing either!

  28. Em this advice is GOLD!! I can list a few things that I will be taking back after reading this. Mine kiddies are so spoilt and half the stuff I buy is just for the sake of it. Not anymore!!

  29. I particularly love the point about not buying just because it is a bargain. It’s so easy to tell yourself that it is only $5 so it doesn’t count/matter, and then find you have spent a small fortune on crap that is neither really wanted or needed.
    My kids will be getting an audiobook, a book, socks and undies, pencils/pens, and a small toy. That is it. By the time they then get gifts from 5 aunts and uncles, 2 sets of grandparents, one great grandparents, not to mention a few friends at school, they will have way too much. (We don’t do santa, so that makes one less gift).

  30. I love that Kid’s Xmas list. I used it last year and it made the WORLD of difference to our pockets. I am so over the commercialism of Christmas but it makes it so tricky that this is the year when the twins are really understanding the whole gift thing. So so hard to control…

  31. We tend to do a budget secret santa – but I really encourage people to buy experiences over things…they last longer!

  32. We have spent the weekend moving the playroom and Ellie’s room to make a nursery and I am seriously over all the toys. I am contemplating telling family to please not give us another doll/car/stuffed teddy because there is no room!!!! Great post with great tips. Cutting back is essential I think.

  33. Oh you and I are so thinking alike this year….we are not spending money on wasteful things for our boys at Xmas time, we are buying experiences that they can use rather then stuff they keep laying around and don’t use.
    Besides the fact we don’t have any more cupboard space in our motorhome!
    This year I want xmas to be about spending quality time with family rather than spending up big – and to save money for a Cruise next year.
    Great tips, and I love that saying about Childrens Xmas Wish List πŸ™‚

  34. I LOVE the experience idea Em… that could be the answer for what to buy my Dad. Every year my husband and I say we are cutting back and yet I know that we still go completely overboard. That being said, we are more focused now on buying things they need and will use… and non of the fad stuff that they use for a little while then abandon xx

Speak Your Mind