Guest post from Carrie
As the holiday season approaches and you think of giving charitable gifts and donations, please don’t forget single mothers.
Many of us single moms have a job outside the home. While we get a paycheck, it is often used up with the necessities of the day… food, mortgage, car, child care, etc. And if we are fortunate enough to get child support, it usually ends up going for expenses.
For all the other single moms out here, here are some of the ways I’ve been able to stretch our Christmas budget:
- Start early by shopping clearance racks, dollar stores, and garage sales. You should start shopping for the next year’s Christmas right after the current Christmas ends. A gift storage area in the house, hidden from little ones, can be a huge help to prepare for the holidays.
- Start a small savings account and have money taken out each pay, or sell items to add to the account.
- Keep a list of people you need to buy for, what you’ve bought, and how much you’ve spent.
- If people offer to help, take them up on it. You don’t have to be supermom.
- Start with simple Christmases right from the beginning. It is hard for children to not be disappointed when you’ve gone all out for the holidays and then scale back to very little.
- Mass produce inexpensive gifts for friends and family. There are hundreds of websites with ideas for inexpensive Christmas gifts. Many people appreciate family pictures, homemade candies and cookies, and craft items more than the store bought items.
- Scale down on your holiday expectation. A perfectly decorated house with an abundance of presents and homemade feasts may not be attainable. Good enough is good enough.
For those of you that would like to help single moms, here are a few ideas:
- Offer to babysit so we can go shopping. Not all single moms have an ex-husband that is willing to take the children, and she may not have family to help either.
- Gift certificates are a wonderful gift. I really appreciate the fast food gift certificates for those nights after work when I am exhausted. A movie ticket, a movie rental, or a day at the YMCA is also a special treat.
- Offer to help with the holiday decorations, setting up lights, and bringing items out of storage.
- Give a monetary gift. This will help with expenses, special food items, or last minute gifts for the children.
- Include the single parent and children in holiday events. If you are going to the movies or out sled-riding, ask them to go along.
- Invite the single mom and children to your church service and offer to help them at church with the children.
- Share your baked goodies or extra food. You never know how many times that may be just what the mother needs to stretch out her food budget.
These are just a few of my ideas, feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments!
Carrie is a single working mom with five handsome and energetic boys who lives in Pennsylvania.