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Family Budget

Have you ever had a young child come home from school Friday afternoon with a birthday party invitation for the NEXT day and want to buy last minute gift also within your family budget? When our daughter was young that seemed to happen a lot. That last minute scramble for a birthday present was always a hassle and also seemed to cost us more for a present than we really wanted to spend.

I’ve got some ideas here that could solve that little problem for you and also help you to conserve and save money, and consequently help the status of your family and household budget. This is just one of a number of financial strategies that I’ll be rolling out for you that should help you learn how to budget just a little better and help your personal finance picture improve. Good goals for us all!

As I alluded to above, this particular idea is good for families with children who constantly receive invitations to friends’ birthday parties. The hassle of that last-minute shopping trip plus the cost of buying something we really didn’t have time to shop for made us decide to set aside one box in our bedroom closet. We put that box in a place that was not accessible by our children. Into that special box, we put cool stuff we purchased during the year just for future, unplanned gift-giving.

As we were out shopping we would always come across some great deal on different toys and other cool items that we just knew would make great gifts for some child’s birthday, or even for a family member’s birthday or a Christmas gift, later in the year. We didn’t limit ourselves to only children’s gifts and would pick up things that could be used for office parties, neighborhood gatherings, and even for adult birthday and Christmas gifts.

We’d take advantage of a great sales price or special clearance, and buy great gifts as we came across them. Sometimes we’d buy more than one of something, if they were particularly good items, and would just spread out giving those gifts over a period of time.

We immediately placed those items we bought into our “future gifts” box and always kept that box stocked with great stuff. This was also where we put those odd offices, and sometimes family, Christmas presents we’d received that we really didn’t like and knew we’d never use. We kept a lot of things we wouldn’t use from cluttering up our closets and shelves this way. We’d just tape a note on those items about who’d given it to us so we didn’t give that gift back to that same person. That would be a real faux pas and a doubly embarrassing moment for everyone!

Just assure that your children are instructed not to scope out your “future gifts” box because you just might, as we often did, use the items saved in that box as gifts for your own children. Putting the box somewhere children just can’t reach is probably the best idea.

We saved a goodly amount of money over a year’s time by keeping this gift box stocked and ready in an instant to produce just the right gift for an unexpected, or unplanned, occasion. Very rarely did we end up with items we never used for gift giving.

I hope these ideas have put you on the right track to considering small things that you can do, which can add up to big amounts, to improve your personal finances and help to protect your precious family financial resources!

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