Practical Dad

Saving Money on the Holidays

It's almost Valentine's Day and the process of gettiing the kids to fill out their valentine cards is commencing.  But the preparation for the holiday actually continues for up to a week afterwards, and that's restocking for the next year.  While boxes of cards aren't terribly expensive, getting them at 40% off for the next year is a help.

So what to consider before you do this?

  • Do the math.  How many kids do you have and about how many will each probably give? 
  • Look at the your kids' genders and ages.  When the kids are young - toddler and preschool - then it usually won't matter.  But it will start to matter when they get a bit older; your kindergartner is going to have a fit when he finds that he's giving Disney Princess cards to his buddies.
  • Where can you keep the cards for the coming year so that you know where to find them?  The ideal is to have a place to keep all of the holiday paper items together.  In our house, we have drawers in the garage to hold all of the Valentine and Christmas cards and stickers.
  • Have a sense of what's current amongst the kids and likely to stay that way.  Disney Princess or Marvel Superhero cards are pretty timeless and it won't make a difference if they're carried over for two or even three years.  But cards based upon fads or Japanese Anime - think DragonBall Z - can pass quickly and are likely not to be popular the following year.
  • Does it make more sense for your household to just purchase a simple card software package that will permit you and the kids to make your own cards for whatever holiday you choose?

The truth is that despite the economic conditions, parents will do whatever possible to provide some sense of normalcy for our children.  And with a bit of thought and planning, that can be done for a lot less.

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