Shopping Ban November Review: Gifts

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The kids and I just returned from a two week trip to our hometown.

We missed Kevin a lot, but we also had an amazing time with relatives.

Now that we are unpacked, I had some time to reflect on our November spending.

November was a quiet spending month at the start. We knew our trip was mid-month, so we tried to save our spending for that.

So most of our spending this month went towards our trip and gifts.

1. Operation Christmas Child

Right before our trip we filled our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. The kids had fun picking special items for their children.

Filling two shoeboxes usually costs around $40. We planned for this in the budget and also had a “Give Jar” in the kids’ room where we gathered coins and dollars. The jar ended up with about $15 in it towards our $40.

2. Shoes for the kids

Both kids outgrew their tennis shoes.

My son had a tie pair that fit but needed a Velcro pair since he cannot tie his shoes yet. (And I was tired of tying them for him.)

My daughter also needed a new pair. The first pair I got her was too big, so we kept them for later and ordered the same pair a size smaller.

We ended up with three pairs of shoes for a total of $47.

These are expenses that come with the parenting territory. Thankfully it is easier these days to find quality shoes for an affordable price!

3. Sound Machine

My kids had a sound machine in their room their whole lives until about 18 months ago.

I waited to see if they noticed. They brought it up a few times, and then it became clear they were sleeping less and hearing us awake more.

During our trip they asked for one again. I decided the $14 was worth it to have well rested kids.

Since putting it in their room 5 days ago, they have slept 12+ hours each night.

Worth every penny!

4. Water Bottles

We spent a total of $25 on two new water bottles for the kids.

My daughter got hers first and we tested its durability and ease-of-use on our trip.

It passed the test, so my son’s is on the way.

Fact: Successful desert living requires good water bottles.

5. Christmas Gifts

While on our trip I purchased Christmas gifts for our kids online.

They are each getting 4 gifts, and they all fit in our Christmas budget.

The tricky part of buying gifts is knowing when to stop.

Once you make that first purchase you have spending momentum. That momentum can easily lead to a spending spree.

You can easily justify the purchases in the moment, but when you look at the debits from your account it doesn’t feel quite as good.

So while I enjoyed buying some gifts and needed items, I am trying hard to stop the spending momentum.

If you feel your momentum heading in the wrong direction, pause. Avoid the stores or websites, and if the damage is already done try to return items.

Shift the momentum back to calm and away from spending.




  1. You may want to investigate Hickies. They are a small strip you lace into tie shoes in place of laces. No tieing! They stretch so you can get your foot into your shoes without undoing. Much cheaper than new shoes and can be moved from old to new shoes easily. We had a child who couldn’t tie his shoes and they don’t make soccer shoes with Velcro in his size. This took care of the problem, and his embarrassment of having to ask someone to tie his shoes.


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