Successful Broke-Ass Mom Christmas Shopping

Can a Broke-Ass Mom get her Christmas shopping done with child in tow?  That’s exactly what I’m wondering these days.  In the past, I’ve been able to steal a few moments on my way to work or on my way home from work.  However, now that I’m a SAHBAM (Stay-at-Home-Broke-Ass-Mom – I should coin that term. If you sound it out, it kind of sounds like Shabam.  Pretty awesome, I think.), it’s much harder to work in time to go shopping by myself.  Instead I now have these grandiose plans of a nice lunch with my two-year-old, followed by a stroll downtown where we’ll window shop to our hearts content, we’ll talk about how beautiful the decorations are, do some light shopping for our loved ones, and then we’ll come home for a fantastic three-hour afternoon nap.

Fine.  Maybe this is a pipe dream, but I think if I play my cards right, with a little planning we can get it done.  I have a few tricks up my sleeve that I believe can make us all successful shoppers with our children.

How to shop with a Toddler

  1. Have them be well fed before you go
  2. Go in the morning and during the week – and by morning, I mean the second the stores open
  3. Only go if they’ve slept well the night before
  4. Bring snacks – don’t give them too much, or you’ll ruin their appetite for that lunch you have planned for the two of you
  5. Carry a few small toys – figurines, small book, tiny toy that doesn’t make annoying noise, etc
  6. Be prepared to go home at any moment – don’t psyche yourself out that this is going to be some cute shopping experience like you’ve had with your girlfriends.  It could all go to shit at any moment.  On the other hand, it might be that cute shopping experience you’re hoping for – one never knows
  7. Take a stroller in case they get tired of walking, or you get tired of chasing after them
  8. Try to go to at least one store you know they’ll enjoy.  That way it’s not ALL about you
  9. Plan for where you’ll have lunch ahead of time.  Check the menu beforehand and makes sure they have something for both of you. Pick a place that is open by 11am
  10. Give your toddler as much freedom on your travels as possible.  This will not only keep them happy, but also entertained

How to shop with a baby

  1. Milk, milk, milk, milk
  2. Wear them in a baby carrier, and face them out so they can see everything you see
  3. Consider bringing a baby stroller in case you want them to nap while you’re out (or you get tired of wearing them, whatever happens first)
  4. If you’re breastfeeding, think about where you might stop to breastfeed them.  Incorporate this into your travels
  5. Bring plenty of diapers and a change of clothes (maybe one for you too!) in case there’s an explosion along the way
  6. Go first thing when the stores open – it will be quieter, and you’re baby will be more likely to take that morning nap
  7. If they’re eating solid foods, then bring some with you.  Take a break along the way to feed them
  8. Try to be home in time for their afternoon nap – you’ll be wanting a nap too
  9. Bring a blanket that you can cover them with, if they do fall asleep to block out noise and light
  10. Take a book or small toy that they enjoy just in case they need a little extra entertaining

Most importantly, have fun!  Happy shopping!

Photo By:   MikhailZykov IStockPhoto

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About the author

Jennifer White - Mommy No Bucks

Jennifer has been a bit of a nomad having lived in seven different cities. Her life as a gypsy has settled down for the moment in San Francisco with her husband and two-year old son. Recently, she decided to throw caution to the wind, quit her job as an analyst to be a full-time mom while chasing her dreams (and the Pulitzer Prize). When she's not writing, she's aspiring to be a luddite (although blogging isn't helping), knitting the occasional hat, or running in the park with her son and his secondhand compost truck in tow.