Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A CraigsList Christmas

Money is tight, the Detroit economy is looking pretty grim and the family budget is downright squeaky. However, I just don't skimp on Christmas. We don't buy our children frivolous items all year long, they get what they need and as for what they want? Well, our oldest boys babysit. That's right, I raised darn good boy babysitters and they get plenty of work. And, the pay is so good from time to time I ponder the idea of dusting off my old babysitting certificate. Add that to their b-day cash from grandparents and family and that leaves them lots of green to burn on video games, ice cream treats and DVDs. We feel like they work hard to earn what they want all year long and come Christmas time, it's our turn to splurge.

So, how am I going to manage a nice Christmas without breaking the bank AND staying green? Craigslist, plain and simple. Last weekend we bought our 4-year old a new loft bed, as his toddler bed was much, much too small. We saved $1200 by buying a year old set, exactly the same as still sold at the furniture store today. This same mathematical equation can easily be applied to Christmas shopping. For example:

My boys own sports gear (expeeeensive sports gear) for all the sports they play competitively. Baseball, indoor baseball, track, cross country, basketball and so on. However, other sports they just dabble in (hockey, soccer & football) we just peruse Craigslist.

This winter they all want hockey skates to kick around in on our lake after the deep freeze that's rapidly approaching. Detroit really is "Hockey-town" with many young boys playing on hockey leagues wearing ridiculously expensive skates. Where do they off load these skates after a couple of months? Craigslist.

A pair of top quality, barely worn skates that retail for $160 can be easily found for only $30. I'm no math whiz, but that ratio certainly makes sense to me!

Now that I have the skates, I'm getting busy looking for used video games. Anyone have a couple of used Madden 09 video games they want to part with???


Burbanmom said...

half.com, baby! http://search.half.ebay.com/madden-09_W0QQ

Green Bean said...

Gotta love buying stuff used. Not only is it good for the planet but it is REALLY good for the bank account. And you can often sell your stuff (if you bought it used) for the same price you paid for it. Good to see a post from you. :)

Jena said...

I'm glad to see you back! Your blog is one on the first ones I started reading and I was getting a little worried.
Almost everyone I talk to says they're cutting back this Christmas. I'm kind of glad - it always seems like people spend ridiculous amounts this time of year! :)

Electronic Goose said...

Yay for Craigslist! And Free Cycle.

organicneedle said...

My husband has been doing the ebay thing for a long time for games. He buys them used and then resells them for about the same price. That wouldn't be a bad thing to get your boys into.

There is also Gamefly.com which works like Netflix.

EcoLabel Fundraising said...

Baby toys are a second-hand must for us. I can't bare to spend a cent on something made in China in a sweatshop that will only be used briefly. Just picked up somethings a neighbor's garage sale this morning!