Today I’m very excited to bring you a conversation between myself and Amy Suardi, mother of four and author of the blog Frugal Mama. Amy and I talk about Black Friday (or should we call it Black Thursday?), keeping holidays meaningful and low-key, and how to keep gift-giving under control. (I also share my conflict about photo Christmas cards, sharing that I once accidentally melted the faces off my brothers’ kids on their card and then felt guilty about it…)
Here are some of the great resources Amy and I discuss in the show:
- ConsumerSearch is great for finding the highest-quality product for the best price.
- RetailMeNot for online coupon codes
- Amazon Prime for free two-day shipping. The $79 annual fee pays for itself in saved fuel, shipping fees and minimum purchase requirements, impulse buys at the store, and time and energy gained.
Ideas for a More Meaningful Holiday:
- Forget Black Friday: Sales are really advertisements that hurry us to buy stuff. Amy suggests that we figure out what we want first, then go look for the deals (and they will be there). Looking at sales, coupons and Groupons in this way helped Amy ditch the guilt about feeling like “I should,” and find a slower pace of life that is centered around finding purpose and creating community.
- Handmade and unique gifts: We live in an age of cheap mass-produced goods, so what often comes forth as the most treasured gift is the heartfelt one, a gift of our time or our effort, Amy points out. Whether it’s a hand-knitted sweater, a cookie-of-the-month club, or a poem written just for that person, the most valuable gifts are often the least expensive.
Here are some of Amy’s posts on similar topics: keeping clutter down and saving money at Christmas or any time of the year:
- Coupon books of favors for kids
- Stocking notes instead of more disposable “stuff”
- Thanksgiving rituals, like these memorable placements
I hope you enjoy this week’s episode of The Kitchen Hour Podcast! Remember you can also listen in iTunes.