Click below to listen to Bonus Episode – How To Make Your Christmas Budget Go Further

BONUS – How To Make Your Christmas Budget Go Further

Franklin Square Workshop

Check out these Christmas shopping tips from Shawn and Jenna.

Is Christmas shopping stressful? How do you get the best prices? Shawn is joined by his wife (and Bob’s daughter), Jenna, in this special Bonus Christmas episode. Jenna is usually behind the scenes of podcast editing, but wanted to step in front of the mic this time to share some of the strategies that she uses when it comes to Christmas shopping. Therefore, the flow and style of this bonus episode is completely different! They mention everything from stocking stuffers to hitting up lightning deals to try and obtain the best prices around holiday shopping.

You may already know many of these shopping hacks, but this is a great refresher episode! Not only can these suggestions be used for Christmas shopping, but they can be used all year round for birthday gifts, purchasing during Memorial and Labor Day sales, and more. Enjoy this laid back episode of Christian Financial Perspectives!

GUEST: Jenna Peters
HOSTED BY: Shawn Peters

Mentioned In This Episode

Christian Financial Advisors
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Shawn Peters
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Jenna Peters
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What We Discuss

How To Save On Stocking Stuffers
Ladies Valentine Lunch 2015
Cyber Monday/Black Friday Deals
Franklin Square Workshop
The Tape Method of Toddler Painting
Ladies Valentine Lunch 2015
Creating The Perfect Wish List
Getting Crafty With Your Presents
Ladies Valentine Lunch 2015
Social Media Guidance And Finding Deals
Ladies Valentine Lunch 2015

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

[INTRODUCTION]

Welcome to “Christian Financial Perspectives”, where you’re invited to gain insight, wisdom and knowledge about how Christians integrate their faith, life and finances with a Biblical Worldview. Here’s your host Christian Investment Advisor, Financial Planner, and Coach, Bob Barber.

[INTRO DISCLOSURE]

The following bonus episode is a little different flow and style than what you are usually used to hearing on Christian Financial Perspectives. We also give a lot of different names of companies as examples only. These are only mentioned as examples, and aren’t meant to be recommendations when it comes to either an investment portfolio nor for purchasing their products. They are solely mentioned as guidance for Christmas budgeting.

[EPISODE]

Shawn:
Welcome to a special episode of Christian Financial Perspectives. I’m your host today, Shawn Peters. And we have decided to kick Bob off for this one for a special episode. My wife, Jenna, is gonna be joining us. And as you all know, shopping at Christmas can be pretty stressful, not to mention expensive. And for that, I’m glad my wife does pretty much all of it for our family. Speaking of, that’s why we thought it would be fun to have Jenna on with us for this special episode, and we’re gonna be sharing some of our favorite ways to save money on gifts during the holiday season.

Jenna:
Yeah. I thought this would be a fun thing to kind of go over that I seem to be pretty good at with being cheap and saving money when it comes to stuff.

Shawn:
I think the word is frugal.

Jenna:
Yeah. Frugal. We don’t like the word cheap, right? Yeah. I’m frugal. So I’m normally behind the podcast doing the editing. So, it’s a little different to be kind of on the front end of it, doing the recordings. So that’ll be interesting listening to my voice instead and having to record it. I hate that but yeah, so we’re starting with some Christmas shopping and how to save money. Christmas, of course, is always a special time for all of us. I know as a kid, I think one of my biggest memories is getting a playground, and I still remember running out and seeing the whole thing, having the slide, the swing set. That was one of my favorite Christmas memories and one favorite Christmas gifts.

Shawn:
Was this one of the wooden ones? The metal ones?

Jenna:
Yeah, this is a wooden one. This isn’t the nice one that like my mom and dad have bought for Rhonan where you don’t get splinters in your butt when you’re like going down the slide or burnt. I’m pretty sure we probably got some good burns on our thighs and butts from going down this slide. No, this is like your old school wooden one. I just think of splinters when I touch it.

Shawn:
It worked.

Jenna:
Yeah, it worked. It did its job.

Shawn:
Back when the safety regulations were mostly nonexistent.

Jenna:
Yeah. Oh my gosh. I can still remember that metal side and how hot it was in the summer.

Shawn:
I got some second and third degree burns from metal sides when I was a kid too.

Jenna:
Yeah. But I still remember that was one of my favorite gifts.

Shawn:
Why did it stick out so much? Besides the wood?

Jenna:
Besides the splinters sticking out of our behinds? I just remember playing on it a lot and always wanting a swing set. We were very energetic girls, so I loved swinging really, really, really high and then trying to jump out and I remember like leaning back and trying to do flips and stuff. We weren’t that much better than boys really. I don’t know. It was just one of the big gifts that sticks out. The other one that sticks out, which was a gift that our parents did for us when I was in college and my sisters were in high school, we got to go to Hawaii and have a, what I call, a white sand Christmas, which is way better than, I feel like, a white snowy Christmas.

Shawn:
It sounds better to me. I mean, I definitely like snow, but if it is a really nice beach, that’s pretty nice.

Jenna:
Yeah. I feel like Hawaiian beach trumps like Colorado slopes most of the time. Don’t quote me on that.

Shawn:
Not sponsored by Hawaii tourism board.

Jenna:
Or anything. Yeah. yeah. What was your favorite Christmas gift as a kid?

Shawn:
I think my favorite gift that sticks out more than anything else is would’ve been K’nex. And I feel like I don’t ever talk to people that knew about ’em. So I don’t know how my parents originally found out, but everybody talks about Legos and even now it’s almost like cool to have Legos. And you’ve got these sets. I have a friend of mine who has an entire area of the top floor of their house dedicated to Legos. Just, I don’t even know how many thousands of dollars.

Jenna:
They’ve come a long way.

Shawn:
Yeah. They’ve come a long way and my brother had Legos, my older brother, but for me, my parents got me a K’nex set. I don’t remember the first K’nex set, but the one that sticks out was this set where you could build one of two things. You could build this four and a half foot tall, like Rube Goldberg machine thing where it had a bunch of little balls and they would go up the chain and then down and round and back up and spin stuff. And then there was also like this rollercoaster you could make, so K’nex were different in that there was like all these different length rods. And then you had these like connector pieces anywhere from one to like 10 things you connect into. So you can make a lot of different, more functional shapes. But I remember that was so much fun because I would just spend hours like building something and then I’d get to play with it for a while and then tear it down and build something else.

Jenna:
Yeah, and your parents probably had fun with it because you were off for hours and they didn’t have to watch you.

Shawn:
My high energy, high talkingness was offset for hours at a time. That probably was their favorite gift as well for that same.

Jenna:
And that’s why one of our favorite, or one of my favorite gifts coming up for Rhonan, cause we have a three year old who’s super hyper. We got him a little trampoline and I cannot wait for him to jump on that thing. I wanna give it to him early so he can just jump on it now and get all of his energy out when I’m trying to work from home. But I think that’s what I’m really looking forward to with Rhonan is giving him fun gifts like that. That will also have a great effect on us as parents as well with getting all of his hyperness and energy out.

Shawn:
It’s odd. There’s like a direct correlation between something that has a calming effect and distracting effect on a child also has a calming effect on the parents. Which until now, we did not understand. And now I very fully understand that. So yeah. But I’m actually, I think most looking forward to stockings this year for Rhonan, because it’s always fun with all the little things in the stocking. I feel like the first year where he’ll like, get the concept more.

Jenna:
He definitely understands the gift concept.

Shawn:
Last year was kinda like, eh, okay, cool. I’m just handing things to him. He didn’t even know what was going on.

Jenna:
And that kind of gets into our first thinga – stockings, which are one of my favorite items to do for Christmas, always has been, and how to save money on those. Because you look at some of these stuffers and examples they have on Amazon right now. And it’s like $20 or $30 for one little stocking stuffer.

Shawn:
Yeah. For one item, and they’re listed as great stocking stuffers. Twenty dollars for one item!? You gotta put like 30 to 50 things in there depending on how big they are. You’ve gotta put a lot of stuff in that stocking.

Jenna:
Like for us, at least for like a kid stocking, I’d say maybe $30 tops. If we’re doing ’em for each other, like a spouse or a parent maybe an older kid, I’d say maybe $40 to $50.

Shawn:
Not $250 not even including gifts.

Jenna:
With some of the stocking stuffers places are including, I’m like this is not gonna work. So some ideas that we had to help save on stocking stuffers is looking at, for examples, Target has a little front section, right when you walk in. They’ve always had it, and around Christmas time, they have like…

Shawn:
It’s like their value items.

Jenna:
Yeah. Their value items. And they have lots of cool little dollar things. Same with dollar store. Your kid, especially if they’re younger, is not gonna care. If they have an off brand matchbox car in their stocking.

Shawn:
As we can attest with Rhonan. Cause it doesn’t matter what the brand is, he just likes that it has wheels. Yeah.

Jenna:
Yeah. I mean, exactly. So we really like to, or I say we, I should say I, because I usually do most of the shopping. I like to hit those up right when Target is doing that transition, maybe like right after Thanksgiving, of putting all that stuff together.

Shawn:
Which should be right around the time of releasing this episode. So if you’re hearing this for the first time, you may still have a chance.

Jenna:
I know there’s still some items. I’ve got a really cute pair of socks for a dollar for Rhonan’s stocking. Another thing is you can add gift cards. It’s not gonna make up that much space, but just like a $5 or $10 gift cards to a movie. If it’s somebody that’s older, an adult, maybe like Starbucks, a coffee shop. Yeah. A Target gift card or TJ Maxx.

Shawn:
Maybe spend like $20 or $25 on the gift card if you have a bunch of other small items, for something that they really enjoy. Not the kid though, if you do more than $10, it’s kind of a waste.

Jenna:
Yeah. Kids just like to pull things out and destroy especially like with our toddler and I’m sure up to like age seven. So just pulling stuff out of a stocking is enough joy for them that don’t really worry as much about the quality of the content as just filling it with candy.

Shawn:
Which kind of goes into one of the other things that we’re gonna suggest. And this applies both for the kids because they just have to pull stuff out. But also for your older children and the adults – getting small toiletry items that are gonna be needed throughout the year anyway. So like for your kid, toothpaste. Again, it doesn’t matter. Yes. It’s technically a necessity. It’s a toiletry, but it’s still little things that they can pull out. If you find the cheapo ones that are brightly colored, it’s even more fun. Deodorant, mints, and gum. Just be careful the kids don’t keep it and immediately start eating them all. Nail Polish for the girls. Chapstick and nail clippers. I think that’s a good one because for me, they always seem to disappear throughout the year. I don’t think I’ve ever finished a thing of chapstick and I’m pretty sure we get at least three replacement nail clippers every year. Yeah.

Jenna:
They’re like socks.

Shawn:
Yeah. Like socks in the dryer.

Jenna:
Which kind of goes into the next point. So what I love to put in are maybe even a cute pair of socks. Again, I got a dollar pair of socks at Target.

Shawn:
Or like the ones that have fun sayings.

Jenna:
Yeah. Or soft socks they can wear around the house. I absolutely love my Bombas socks. This is not an ad. #NotSponsored, but I love Bombas and they last so long and they’re so comfortable. So buying like a nice pair too, just like rolled up and stuffed in that stocking, is a great gift, especially for your athletic people in your life that love soft socks for working out.

Shawn:
For anybody not familiar with those it’s Bombas, B O M B A S.

Jenna:
They’re the bomb. Yeah, exactly. They’re great socks.

Shawn:
So another one you know, HEB, well for us. It’d be your local grocery store, I guess, if you are not in Texas.

Jenna:
If you don’t have HEB, I’m so sorry.

Shawn:
We’re sorry. We’ll pray for you. But HEB or local grocers have entire sections of bath items and other fun things that are typically under or at $10. So it’s a nice area.

Jenna:
Bath bombs, bath salts.

Shawn:
Exactly. Favorite candy. I know Jenna loves Twix, so that’s kind of a nice one. You fill the stocking and as you’re filling it, it’s kinda like you put the bigger items that are odd shaped, and you get the little fun size candies or whatever it is, you pack it in between. So then when they pick that stocking up, it’s completely full. And there’s always like these little, extra little things falling out as they’re pulling stuff out.

Jenna:
That’s like my yearly chocolate stash are the mini Twixes. I just keep those, and it lasts till next year.

Shawn:
Every once in a while you find like a random Twix in a drawer or the cabinet. So like, oh, Christmas candy. Yeah. The other thing would be filling it up with a bunch of items that you’ll use throughout the year. And we promise you, kids just want to pull stuff out and unwrap them. They don’t really care that much of what’s in it.

Jenna:
Yeah. I’m not sure what age that changes. Cause we only have a three year old, but I’m sure it does.

Shawn:
I’m sure teenage years it does start to. Yeah. Because now they hate everyone and everything and parents know nothing. So

Jenna:
Right. Okay. So onto the good stuff. I know it’s past Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but here’s some tips that I personally like to use for next year. And I mean, it can kinda be used all year round.

Shawn:
And companies have been doing this longer too, like the Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday have many times been extended where they’re going on for weeks. And it may be that they’re not quite as good as that first few days or a week. But I mean, even now, I’m still seeing a lot of brands that I like to follow that are 40% off instead of 60%

Jenna:
Yeah. It’s still a good deal. So like, this is a time, I don’t like telling people to be glued to their phone or like Instagram, but for me, that’s how I do it and I’m not on my phone all the time, but I’m always looking through for deals. I follow them closely on Instagram. I find the different profiles on Instagram. I’m looking at their stories when Black Friday’s coming up. Cuz a lot of times they’ll have, “Hey, these are the deals that are coming up. Keep an eye out.” So I’ll watch for some of my favorite athletic brands. Definitely sign up for the email list. And then I immediately unsubscribe. Sometimes, you’ll even get like 10% off, 15% off for signing up on top of other discounts.

Shawn:
Don’t forget to unsubscribe if you really don’t wanna get ’em cause then you will be getting stuff all the time.

Jenna:
And I absolutely hate shopping in person. So like going into a store for Black Friday…

Shawn:
Oh yeah, it’s not gonna happen. I used to go to Black Friday every once in a while. And that was when I was much younger. I mean, I think the last time I went was when I was 20. I mean, it’s just not worth it. With the way technology has changed, pretty much all of the deals that you’re gonna get are pretty much all available online. They’ll just be limited to where if you’re online and like say you needed a new TV or a monitor for your office or whatever it might be. A lot of times what they do now is the deal that’s available in the store will be available online. But when you purchase, you can only buy one or two of those items. And so, just something to think about.

Jenna:
With all of the COVID stuff that has happened over the past couple years, stores are really pushing more digital, and people are used to it now, for digital sales. So, they’ve just kept up with it.

Shawn:
Which is good if you’re looking and you don’t wanna have to go in store.

Jenna:
So if you know any brands or items that your friends or your family likes, definitely keep an eye on those. Like for example, if they want some Nike shoes, keep an eye on Nike, like day in, day out for like that day after Thanksgiving or even leading up to it. And then like up to that Monday or Tuesday afterwards. For me personally, I also buy a lot of my personal items, like face care during this time. I got 30% off of these nice face lotions that I usually use. So I went ahead and bought two because I’m saving so much, and it’s gonna last me throughout the year. So, I may as well save up on items for myself, personal items.

Shawn:
Also, it doesn’t have to be Christmas. It just may be a good time on things you’re gonna use to stock up.

Jenna:
Yeah. And if you wanna talk about Amazon, also?

Shawn:
So for Amazon, one of the things you can do and it doesn’t mean you have to buy it from Amazon. That’s something we’ll talk about in a second. But if you favorite items by putting them on a list – it could be a public list that you can obviously share with family and friends helps a lot for kids. Like we did that for Rhonan. And when you do that, Amazon will also, based on the list you have saved, it will recommend similar items that are part of Cyber Monday and special deals. So it kind of helps you keep an eye out for those things a little easier and maybe even find things that you hadn’t thought of. Like, oh, that’s a similar product. It’s not as expensive, but I think they’ll like it just as much. Another one that I wanted to mention that kind of ties directly into that. I believe Jenna said this before, there’s a Capital One version.

Jenna:
Yeah. There’s a Capital one Extension. I forget what, like Evo or Eno. I’m not exactly sure.

Shawn:
But the one that I have actually used my myself and have seen it, I’ve definitely seen it promoted by a lot of people that I watch videos and stuff on, but it’s called Honey, like just like the food H O N E Y, but it’s a free extension that you can install in your browser. You can download it on your phone too, whether you have Android or Apple . But for me, I do feel like the computer version’s a lot easier. So as an example, when you’re on Amazon, if you have that installed in the browser, you can very quickly see is the current price, regardless of whether it says it’s on sale, is the current price actually a good price? Is it higher than normal? Is it pretty much on par? You can even usually click on that to see a history. Say, okay, well what about the last 90 days? Like before we got into the holiday season around Thanksgiving and Christmas. And sometimes, you’ll look at it and say, oh, it’s on sale. But what happens a lot is you’ll see the regular price is $70. And then when it goes “on sale”, they bump it to $100, mark it off as on sale for the same price. So Honey deal things like that help you see, are they really a good deal or is it just fake? So speaking of deals.

Jenna:
Yeah. I wanted to kind of hit back on the Amazon lightning deals. You have got to keep a close eye on these. Amazon will tell you when certain deals are coming up and they can go really, really fast. Like for example, the amazing trampoline that we’re hoping will get all of Rhonan’s hyper energy out. It was normally $60, and I made sure I’d seen that was the normal price. We got it for $35 and I clicked on that for the deal right when it went live. And I think by the time I checked out, it had been maybe two minutes and 15% were already sold. So you have to be quick. Again, be glued to your phone. If you’re wanting to save money, this is a good time to just be like, okay, I gotta be ready to click.

Shawn:
Make sure your notifications are enabled for the Amazon app for something like that. Amazon will, on those lightning deals, it’s usually a combination of so many are available at that price, but also there’s usually a time limit. So even if it didn’t sell immediately, if you don’t make the purchase within an hour or two hours or however long they give you, it’s gone. So another thing that we would suggest, which again, doesn’t apply for Christmas 2021, but save up throughout the year. So ,we have a separate fund for our Christmas gifts, and that helps us just kind of budget and plan from between now and Christmas next year. And so, as an example, you could put $50 to $100 every month into it, or whatever your Christmas budget might normally be. Just divide by 12. Simple math. And then you save that much, put that into that separate savings account so that you know this is our budget, so let’s make sure we stick within it, but also you don’t get to the end of the year and all of a sudden carry a balance on your credit card into the next month.

Jenna:
Yeah. It’s not hitting you all at once.

Shawn:
Exactly. Yeah. Planning ahead.

Jenna:
Yeah. Okay. This one would be for me. If you’re wanting to save money, make it or do it yourself, DIY. And now sometimes, I know we’ve probably all heard this quote, especially as crafty people. “Why buy it for 20 bucks when you can make it for 95?” Which is so true for a lot of things. It does ring true, but also there’s things you can do and make. Shutterfly. We do a book every year and this is what the grandparents always ask for is the book of Rhonan and his photos. And then we’ll have his sister’s photos in there as well when she arrives in March.

Shawn:
And they have great templates and stuff too, so you don’t have to create it from scratch. It’s more of here’s your general design and then you just start adding pictures.

Jenna:
Adding photos in, but you have to be aware with Shutterfly. They are very sneaky with this. If you do little metallic overlays on the outside, additional pages, you make it hard cover – I always upgrade to hard cover anyways. Or if you have it lay flat, that will get you. So you have to make sure you’re within that certain amount of pages or else you’re gonna get up to like a $40 or $50 book versus a $20 to $25 book.

Shawn:
Just pay attention. You should be able to see it when you’re about to check out, right?

Jenna:
Yeah. They say, Hey, wanna add this for… Well, no, not all the time actually. Cause I just made one and I saw that the cover, like the colors looked a little off. I’m like, why is that? And why is it so much more expensive? Oh, they had done the metallic stickers from the template that I chose, but I could use the exact same template without the metallic covering. Which if you want that, that’s cool. It looks really nice and fun, but for me I’m like $7 more for a little bit of shine. I’m like, no, thank you. Yeah. I’m frugal, remember?

Shawn:
We’ll just throw some extra glitter on it.

Jenna:
And like crafting things that you can do with your kids, and they have fun doing it. It’s gonna have a little bit more meaning. I know one year my mom had gotten a candle kit from Hobby Lobby and you can get vintage teacups or cute teacups from your antique store or even just ordering online, and you pour the candles in. And you can make really, super cute candles that don’t even have to be lit, but they’re for decoration.

Shawn:
Or they can be used on candle warmers, which means they tend to last longer, too.

Jenna:
Yeah. Put some essential oils in there.

Shawn:
Fun saving tip. Don’t burn ’em. Just let ’em warm up. You still get the smell, but you also don’t have an open flame and it lasts longer.

Jenna:
Yeah, exactly. Another thing for making, I love to crochet. You can basically crochet anything. It’s gonna take a little bit longer, but they also have really cute wall hangings that you can crochet that are in right now. They look like macrame. You can crochet that. Little kids you can teach at probably like seven years old. They can learn to crochet and make stuff.

Shawn:
I know it’s very therapeutic for you as well. Cause you can talk and do other things or just zone out – well, once you get good at it. I know when you’ve tried to get me to do it, I have to really focus.

Jenna:
You have to learn, but it’s therapeutic for you, and then you can make gifts for other people, like little face scrubbies I’ve done. So there’s so many things you can do that don’t take that long with crochet.

Shawn:
I love the one to have your kid paint on a canvas and frame, and you can send it to different family members, grandparents. Can you maybe describe the tape method?

Jenna:
Yeah. Rhonan, because he just turned three, he’s not very good at painting. He just kind of scribbles everywhere.

Shawn:
Sometimes, he can kind of go in the lines.

Jenna:
Yeah. Sometimes he can do a circle-ish shape. But I ended up buying canvases. It was like a two pack of small canvases for like a dollar at the dollar store. So the tape method is I made a shape with the tape, like painters tape, I cut it out, plastered it onto the canvas. And so it made negative space that whatever he painted around now I lift up that tape – like one was a heart, one was just random, little cute, abstract line shapes. Another, I made a shape of a little cat and cat ears on the canvas. So he painted around that and colored it in. And then I helped him remove the tape, and there was that blank space left that kind of had a little shape. That was really cute.

Shawn:
So instead of like painting the cat, you use the tape to leave it completely blank and white, and then the kid like Rhonan paints all around everywhere else to have like a fun, random pattern. Which, by the way, ends up being a unique piece of artwork.

Jenna:
I’ll have to like post photos of that on the podcast site because they actually looked really, really cool.

Shawn:
Yeah. I really like the cat one.

Jenna:
And then I went in and drew little cat eyes and whiskers and a nose.

Shawn:
And who knows, maybe that unique artwork by the kids may have some resale value if they’re famous one day as an artist. Probably not, but it still would be very, very fun. So, another good tip is shopping in one place. So Target and Walmart, as of this recording, they both they offer free shipping for any orders $35 or more. And so, what’s nice about that is you expect all your orders to typically come around the same time in the same boxes, and so that’s a lot more efficient and less to keep track of. So we actually bought a jacket, a few ornaments, and boots that we needed for Rhonan. And Jenna actually got all of that from Target, since we had at least $35 or more, we got free shipping. So sometimes, the shipping is $10, but you may as well spend $10 or $15 more on something you do need to get free shipping.

Jenna:
Yeah. When you’re already up to like $20 or $25.

Shawn:
Yeah. And same with Amazon. Save on shipping while organizing everything in one spot. You’ll notice a lot of times on shipping where it may default to fastest, but you can actually change it to where instead of getting it two days from now, if everything comes in at the same time, I’ll get it four days from now. And sometimes they’ll even give you like a dollar or two credit because you did it in less deliveries.

Jenna:
It adds up. That dollar or two will add up.

Shawn:
Yeah. And then it’s just easier to have all this stuff delivered together.

Jenna:
Exactly. So when it comes to Amazon and Target, all of the online places, definitely compare pricing. There’s stuff I’ve found on the Walmart website, same brand for cheaper. There’s stuff that I’ve found on the Amazon website that’s a little bit more expensive or cheaper. And there’s companies – like all your main companies, again, I’ll just name Nike, just cause it’s at the top of my head, like will maybe sell tennis shoes through Amazon, but you also wanna check an actual Nike website or whatever website it is for that brand to see if they have better deals going on, like around Christmas time or other times, because sometimes those big brands would rather you shop through their website than going through Amazon.

Shawn:
And a big part of that, too, is because Amazon for sellers, whether it’s you selling stuff randomly out of your attic or a brand like Nike, Amazon makes a percentage off of sales that go through their system. And so that’s why, using Nike as example, if the shoes you wanted are currently $110 on Amazon, they may be on sale for $100 directly with Nike and they offer free shipping on anything over $50. So, a simple example, because they can sell it for $100 and make more money than $110 on Amazon. So it’s worth it to them.

Jenna:
Yeah. What I tell people though, because I have read reviews where it seems like a knockoff brand. So at the top of the Amazon, usually it’s like at the top left, it’ll be like brand or shop Nike store so you can click on it or shop this store. And it’ll show like a whole layout of stuff. And usually if that looks good, and it almost looks like a mini website within Amazon. I try to make sure it’s legit being sold through Nike or Reebok or whatever brand you’re looking for. I’m not endorsing any of these.

Shawn:
You’ll see that a lot, especially with electronics. So if you see something like some sort of electronic type of cables and chargers and screens maybe, whatever it is. But if it’s electronic, I would definitely say do that. Check the “shop this store” because there’s a lot of knockoff brands. Like the reason why this is $20 instead of $70 is because you’re not getting a working product, or it is very, very poorly made.

Jenna:
Yeah. So definitely check that when using Amazon.

Shawn:
So another thing that we would highly recommend, because thankfully Jenna was able to work it out, but this just happened recently where she had ordered something and there should have been an order confirmation email, and for whatever reason something happened where she didn’t get a confirmation. So when you order something, take a screenshot if you order it on your phone or if you know how to do that on your computer. The other option would be, as soon as you do order, maybe you can print a hard copy if you’ve got a printer, and just make sure you have the information on when you ordered and what the order number was, which is very helpful when all of a sudden they say, we don’t know what order you’re talking about and it should have arrived. So, the other one would be when you do get the email confirmation, just double check it. Make sure that you have a copy of the email, cuz if you did get a copy of the email, that also is a good chance that they did in fact receive the order. Another one would be use Google Keep or Apple Notes or whatever note program you might have on your particular phone of choice. Write down the name of the company, what you purchased, the order number, and if they provided the tracking number. If you put it in something like Google Keep or Apple Notes, you can do like the checklist option and you can start checking things off or strike through ’em as they actually come in. So, last thing is you don’t wanna forget something.

Jenna:
Yeah. I made a whole list like that. And then I put the link for the tracking so I could click on it. I also put the date when I expect it to arrive. So if I realize, oh, it’s December 6th and this is supposed to come on the 2nd and it’s not here yet, then I can kind of see and immediately click on that tracking number, see where it’s gone, and try to figure out, okay, what’s going on here. One last thing, it doesn’t really have to do with saving money. And it’s kind of a given for most of us, but make a wishlist. I cannot tell you how much easier it is for people to shop for you and for you to shop for other people when you have a wishlist. For me personally, just because Amazon basically rules the world at this point, they have a wishlist option that you can add in other items\ from different websites onto it. You just have to have an extension in your Chrome browser. I haven’t figured out how to do it from my phone, so that it’s kind of annoying that I have to go my laptop to do it.

Shawn:
But you can do it. You can put like the URL to where it is. You can put in what size, the name. So it’s very helpful. And then people that you share the wishlist with, even if it wasn’t an Amazon item, or purchased through Amazon, they can still mark it as sold. So, if you’re trying to see, okay, it’s last minute, we need to get some stuff for our kid. What did the grandparents and other people buy already? You can see what was purchased.

Jenna:
Yeah. It just makes it so much easier because, I guess Shawn, you can kind of talk about that. Like how it’s so much more helpful when you have kids now.

Shawn:
Yes. Oh yeah. I mean, obviously it was helpful for us when we didn’t have kids, when we didn’t have Rhonan. With Rhonan now, there’s all kinds of stuff you can buy a three year old, but not every kid is exactly the same. And so having the wishlist where we could more or less put as many different things on there that we could think of that we know he would really enjoy or something that would help him be more creative or stuff that would trick him into learning. Anything like that we know would be good, we can put that on there. One of the things that I saw on his list that I was like kind of excited about was this monster truck, like 3-in-1 Lego thing, but it was a younger kid’s Lego option. The actual kit was easier, but you can make like a little monster truck, you can make a couple other things. So I’m looking forward to that one, getting to help him do it.

Jenna:
And you control a little bit more of what grandparents are giving you. Cause our house is already covered in the same toys right now.

Shawn:
We’re having to already get rid of toys.

Jenna:
Yeah. He’s only three. So it’s like, what can we get that’s better for him. Like you said, more educational. Well, that’s all the items that I had thought of to share. I know that y’all out there probably have a lot of great advice as well that we didn’t cover because Shawn and I would love to hear that, especially as our kids get older.

Shawn:
As fairly new parents, if there was anything that we didn’t cover, we would love to hear your feedback. You could send us an email from our website. You could call or text our office (830) 609-6986. But yeah, we would love to get your feedback and then we can maybe pass along when we publish things online. So, I really hope you guys enjoyed this special Christmas episode. We’d love to hear from you guys on how your family prepares for Christmas and all of the potential chaos that is merchandising and gifts. And again, since we are parents of three year olds and soon to be a new baby in March next year, we would love to hear anything you guys have to share.

Jenna:
And if you wanna see any of these tips, we’ll have the entire script out, as always, on Christianfinancialpodcast.com, and I can put a few pictures and samples of stuff. Don’t forget about that.

Shawn:
It’ll all be on the podcast episode website. I guess that’s it. God bless you all. I hope you have a Merry Christmas, so thank you.

Jenna:
Merry Christmas.

[CONCLUSION]

That’s all for now.

We invite you to listen to all of our past episodes covering many financial topics from a Christian Perspective. To make sure you don’t miss any of Bob’s upcoming episodes you can subscribe to Christian Financial Perspectives on iTunes, Google Play Music, Spotify, or Stitcher. To learn more about integrating your faith with your finances, visit ciswealth.com or call 830-609-6986.

[DISCLOSURES]

Investment advisory services offered through Christian Investment Advisors Inc dba Christian Financial Advisors, also known as Christian Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor. Comments from today’s show are for informational purposes only and not to be considered investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any company that may have been mentioned or discussed. The opinions expressed are solely those of the host, Bob Barber and his guests. Bob does not provide tax advice and encourages you to seek guidance from a tax professional. While Christian Investment Advisors believes the information to be accurate and reliable, we do not claim or have responsibility for its completeness, accuracy, or reliability.