The Ultimate Frugal Christmas Gift Guide {Older Children}

The Ultimate Frugal Christmas Guide {Older Children} on AVirtuousWoman.org #frugal #christmas

This year, I’ve teamed up with a few other fun ladies to share with you some great ideas for ways you can save money this Christmas.

The Ultimate Frugal Gift Guide {Links}

A Frugal Christmas {Under $20.00 Gift Ideas}

I remember years and years ago... I must have been about nine or ten years old… My parents were having a terrible time financially and there just wasn’t money for Christmas – or not much. We couldn’t afford to purchase a Christmas tree and so we went to scour our twelve acres for one that would do. We lived in South Georgia where those awful scrub pines grow everywhere. And so, you can imagine how misshapen our scrub pine Christmas tree was.

But you know, it was beautiful.

My parents couldn’t afford much in the way of gifts. They purchased a used trampoline and then my mom borrowed cassette tapes from people at school {she was a teacher’s aide at that time} and used the school’s double tape player to record music onto blank tapes for my brother and I to listen to while we jumped on the trampoline. Songs from Elvis Presley and Ricky Skaggs.

We didn’t have much, but we had each other and so it was okay. We have precious memories. And that’s what Christmas is really about. Creating special memories – not based on fantastic expensive gifts, but based on family togetherness, tender moments shared together around the table, and listening to a good book read.

This Christmas season, so many families are struggling to make ends meet. In my own household, we’ve been facing major changes in our financial situation. Whether you are experiencing a financial crunch or just want to save money, here’s some great ideas for those kids in your life that you want to bless this Christmas season.

Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas {Games}

Okay, so sometimes games aren’t the most frugal, but playing games with your kids is sooo worth the time and the money spent. And, if if you are planning to shop during Black Friday, you can snag some pretty awesome deals on games.

Yahtzee

Yahtzee is available on Amazon.com for only $7.79.

Classic games are classic for a reason! In fact, we often purchase old classic card games like Milles Bornes on ebay.com for super good prices. Here’s a picture of my older kids playing Milles Bornes just this past Sunday:

Milles Bornes

According to Walmart’s online Black Friday Flyer, they’ll have select games on sale, including Yahtzee for only $3.88.

Okay, so this next group of games is under $30.00, but I had to include them just because they are that awesome.

Catan: Family Edition

Mayfair Catan: Family Edition is only $29.99 at Kmart.

Our family owns Settler’s of Catan and the Seafarers Expansion as well as the Catan Junior as well as Settler’s of Canaan {which is a “Bible” version spin off} and we love, love, love playing this game.

Settler's of Canaan Settler’s of Canaan is only $24.21 on Amazon.com – less than Settler’s of Catan if you’re looking to save even more money and still have an awesome game to play.

Card games are super fun and super frugal. Here’s one of our favorites:

Dutch Blitz Game

One of my favorite card games {and we have a lot} to play with my daughters is Dutch Blitz. My girls all learned to play this game by the age of nine. It’s fast paced and so. much. fun.

Dutch Blitz @ AVirtuousWoman.org

Other frugal games we love:

Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas {Homemade}

This year for Christmas I’m making some really sweet and fun accessories for my girls American Girl Dolls. There are so many great tutorials and free printables online.

Here are a few of my favorite sources:

Super Hero Fort Kit

Super Hero Fort Kit @ Meg and Andy

DIY PVC Bow and Arrow

DIY PVC Bow and Arrow @ Skip to my Lou

art kit for boys

Art Kit for Boys @ The Anderson Crew

Angry Birds Game

Homemade Angry Birds Game @ Homemade Beauties by Heidi

treasure map

Homemade Canvas Treasure Map @ Make the Best of Everything

In our house, we try to give gifts that are meaningful. I don’t believe in giving gifts to children to just be giving gifts. Children today are overloaded with stuff. So much so that they often don’t appreciate those things they do have. Here’s my criteria:

  • inspire creativity and the imagination
  • encourage family interaction
  • will last for many years
  • something they need {i.e. clothing, sports gear, etc.}
  • good books

Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas {Adventure}

My girls love nature and outdoor adventures. We’ve had a lot of adventures in the wilderness over the years and I believe that encouraging children {including girls} to get outside, brave the wild, learn to build fires {and more} nurtures their self-esteem and their self-confidence.

I love to give them new gadgets for camping as gifts and my daughter Sarah, when asked what she wanted for her eighteenth birthday just requested a really good pocket knife.

Now, mind you, she’s very much a girly girl. She promptly used it on our all girl, 24 mile backpacking trip in the wilderness of the Cumberland Mountains.

Camping gear can be expensive, but there are lots of neat tools and gear that really won’t break the budget if you buy one every now and then. Remember, small camping gear also makes for a great stocking stuffer!

butterfly garden

Live Butterfly Garden for only $10.95

Expert Companion: Outdoor Skills and Tips

Expert Companion: Outdoor Skills and Tips @ $11.57

Adventurous Feminity

Adventurous Femininity: When Being “Girly” is Not Enough on CD @ $8.00

Here’s some great camping and outdoor gear that any adventure seeking kid will love:

Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas {Books}

I purchase books either from Amazon.com {with free shipping} or at one of the large used book stores in Knoxville, TN or Kingsport, TN. I’m sure most good sized towns have used book stores and you can often find really nice books that look brand new.

Here are some books my kids have loved:

This post contains affiliate links.

Do you have some creative ideas this year for Christmas? What’s on your “must buy” list for kids?



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10 Virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman {Finances}

10 Virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman {Finances} @ A Virtuous Woman #proverbs31

I want to apologize for the delay in posting this today {and Friday}. Last Wednesday I began to experience just excruciating nerve pain behind my ear and it’s been rough. I have felt a good bit better today. The pain isn’t bad like it was, but it pretty much wiped me out.


“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10

Money is one of those subjects that everyone has an interest in. We all have to have money in order to provide for the needs of our family. And in during a time when the economy is in a slump – even a depression according to some analysts, most of us are looking to better manage our money.

The Proverbs 31 Woman

The Proverbs 31 Woman is faithful with her money. She is careful with her money and her husband doesn’t have to worry that she will break the budget with her shopping.

Frugal living, being careful not just with money, but with those things already in my care is part of being a good steward. God has blessed us with so much. It’s important that we are careful to not be wasteful.

Shopping

Shopping, for a lot of women, is a way that they fill that empty spot in their hearts. Buying shiny new things, pretty things, things that make us feel important is often a way to mask the pain and insecurities that we feel deep down inside.

Have you ever gone shopping to cover the hurt? Jesus is the only One who can make that hurt feel better.

“She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.” Proverbs 31:18

A lot of women are also drawn to a good bargain, like a moth to the flame. It’s like my husband has said so many times {you may have heard this before} “I can’t afford to save any more money.”

Just because something is on sale, is dirt cheap, or looks like a great deal sitting on that rack or yard sale table, doesn’t mean it’s a good deal for you. It’s important to ask yourself a few questions before you purchase a new item.

  • Is this something I really need?
  • Is there a way I could make do with what I already have?
  • Do I love this?
  • Will I really use this?

Clothing

I always shop the clearance racks. I hate spending full price for anything if I can help it. The danger there lies in the fact that when I’m looking at, say, a rack of clothes marked 70% off, I might be tempted to buy more than I really need, or even maybe buy something I don’t really love because it’s practical and seems like a good deal.

The last couple of years, I’ve been more selective with my clothing purchases, realizing that often I end of with a closet full of clothes I don’t really love and don’t really wear. Ask yourself if you could save more money by simply buying a few items that you really love rather than a bunch of things you may never really wear.

Grocery Shopping

“She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.” Proverbs 31:14

There are lots of way you can save money on the groceries every month. I am certainly not an expert, but I do have a few tips I can share. In our house my husband is the primary grocery shopper. He’s really good at saving money.

  • Coupons can save you a lot of money if you use them right. My husband was always good at walking out of the store having saved over half off. The thing about coupons really is that you should only use them on items you plan to purchase anyway. Plus, it’s important to compare prices because sometimes another brand will be cheaper.
  • Some of my favorite foods are not name brands. Try the store brands or off brands, you just might be surprised!
  • Bulk purchase sale items. When items go on sale that you frequently use, stock up!
  • Make a menu plan and only purchase what you know you’ll use so food isn’t wasted. Menu planning can really help you use up what you have and help you know what to purchase each week. Try to plan your menu the day before you shop and look through your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry to see what needs to be used up before deciding on recipes.
  • My husband and I purchase most of our food these days from salvage grocery stores. We save so much money on groceries this way. If you’ve never shopped in a salvage grocery store or scratch and dent store, you’d be surprised at how many name brands – even organic and health foods – you can find!

“For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” Ephesians 5:23

In some families the wife manages the money. In others, the husband does and in yet others, they pay bills and work on the budget together. No matter how you manage your money, you should be in agreement.

Note: Some women are in situations where the husband is irresponsible with the money to the detriment of the family. This is an entirely different situation.

Tithes and Offerings

“Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.” Deuteronomy 18:26

I want to encourage you to, if you have not already been paying your tithe to the church to start! I know from experience and I have been eye witness to the blessings that God pours out when we are faithful with our money. That doesn’t mean we’ll have a windfall or become wealthy {although it could} but it does mean that God will meet all of our needs.

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3:10

Here are a few of my favorite websites on Finances and Frugal Living:

Be sure to follow my Frugal Living Pinterest Board!




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How to Plan Family Worship for a Camp Out

How to Plan Family Worship for a Camp Out | A Virtuous Woman #camping

Our family loves to camp out two or three times a year. We have a rather large family {seventeen or more that go camping together} and camping with kids is such a fun time!

We always have family worship in the evenings and mornings when we are camping.

In my opinion there are three things that make a perfect camp out worship experience.

  1. Music
  2. A Good Story
  3. A Fun Activity

Music. Our Family knows a lot of fun songs by heart, but we often pack our favorite vintage song books, Happy Songs for Boys and Girls to bring along.

Some of our favorites include:

A Good Story. Usually before the camp out, everyone knows beforehand whose doing what, so the story teller can prepare. If you are in charge there are a number of good resources you can use to come up with meaningful stories for your worship time. And it never hurts to bring along a devotional book for those times when you just need a good story.

You can either read the story ahead of time and familiarize yourself with it so you can tell it or you can simply read the story. Whether you choose to tell or read the story, be sure to not speak in a monotone voice. Get excited. Use different levels of volume. Whisper the amazing and scary parts. Make the story come alive!

I especially love to tell nature stories when camping. Children are naturally curious and Nature is God’s second book. Everywhere we look in nature we can see the character of God.

Some of my favorite story resources include:

A Fun Activity. Of course children {of all ages} love it when there is a fun activity to do, but adults can get in on the action, too.

One of my favorite activities is to have the children go out and find something in nature to use as an object lesson to describe a Bible story or a characteristic of God. For instance, a heart shaped leaf could represent God’s love. Water from the creek could represent Jesus as the Living Water. The important thing is that the kids use their imaginations and give it some thought.

Here are some resources to help you with more ideas:

Does your family like to camp out? How do you worship God while camping?



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