The holidays can get very expensive but we saved money wherever we could.
I made my own Christmas cards with laser printer paper and envelopes that I bought after the holidays in the past. My daughter’s Christmas dress was bought after the holidays last year for $5.35. I never throw away gift wrap, bags etc. -- so I have plenty to wrap gifts in. I make my own baked goods to save money. For Christmas presents, I had my daughter’s picture taken twice so I could take advantage of the $7.99 portrait packages with no sitting fee, and that's what the adults are getting for gifts this year. We saw Santa for free, had pictures taken for free, and got a $60 for $40. With the exception of a few gifts, Giovanna's presents came from discount stores like T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Big Lots and Walmart. Never pay shipping and handling when shopping online, comparison shop, hold out for the best price and shop throughout the year.
Before the holidays, my dad called (he is not the type to call -- I call him). He asked how I was doing with funds for Christmas presents. My response: not good. I asked him not to buy me anything because we are not doing gifts this year. He said, "That doesn't matter. I want to send you a gift. You know I am going to send a gift card so I need your address. I responded, “I can make it easier -- go over to the bank and make a deposit in my account.” He did and he was so generous! I had decided that some of the more expensive gifts for Giovanna I was not going to be able to afford. I planned to wait to see what she received in cash or gift cards, and then make a decision. Once I saw the deposit, I went to the website of the big-ticket item I saw and sadly, the item was sold out. I googled it and Amazon came up. I found a comparable gift for $25 less than I originally thought that I would have to and I didn't have to pay extra tax or shipping and handling. They also had a section of toys for up to 70% off, so I looked in that area and another gift that I really wanted for her that is $50 in stores was selling for $30 less! I saved $55 in s/h and $55 in product cost! We had money left over for us -- that was an awesome Christmas gift.