Tips for Holiday Shopping

Terri Fry - creator, mom like that

Terri Fry - creator, mom like that

Tips for Holiday Shopping

I have a quick announcement – I AM DONE 90% OF MY CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!

 You read that correctly. I am not saying that to gloat, but I am hella proud of myself here for my early achievements. Not counting my own kids and my husband, I have 12+ kids alone to shop for – most of them nephews and nieces and some really close friends kids. So yes, I am so proud!

Last week on the podcast, I shared some tips on making the holidays less stressful, so today I am writing to share how to make holiday shopping easier, especially when you are on a budget. Let’s jump right into that shall we?

MAKE ONLINE SHOPPING YOUR BEST FRIEND

Life is busy, kids are busy, we’re barely able to fit in all the regular day to day stuff in our calendars – add holiday prep to the mix, we’re going in overload. Therefore, I prefer online shopping. I’ve done most of my holiday shopping online – and most of it during hours of most convenience to me (at the end of the day after kids are asleep). Sure some places I may have spent slightly more on things compared to going from store to store – but reality is I saved in the long run.

I saved time out of my already packed and busy day by avoiding a trip to the mall. I saved patience and sanity by not having to worry about a babysitter or dragging all the kids with me. I got to shop bra-less in my jammies, with a glass of wine from the comfort of my couch – and I got to bounce ideas off my husband who hates going to the stores too. Besides, its so easy and quick to find deals online than it is going store to store trying to find the best prices.

TIPS FOR ONLINE SHOPPING – COUPONS AND CASH BACKS

To become a pro at online shopping you need to do a few things. First, create a separate email account strictly dedicated to newsletters and junk mail. This way you can sign up all sorts of email lists without having to worry about your inbox being crowded. I only go into my “shopping” email (as I call it) when I need to find a coupon for a specific store.

Next, you want to ensure you’ve signed up for places that give you money back for shopping or help you find more coupons. The honey app plug in is one of my favorites. When I am shopping on my desktop, it automatically loads the best coupons available online wherever I am shopping. I almost always save money because of this precious plugin. If you sign up for Honey gold (which I believe is paid subscription – I am using the free version however) it allows you to earn points to save money. Check out honey app for yourself and start saving money! Use my link: CLICK HERE TO JOIN HONEY

Once I get my coupon codes from Honey and my emails, I head over to Rakuten (formerly Ebates) and shop via the Rakuten app (they have a chrome extension too!) to ensure all my purchases lead to some sort of cashback. You can also find coupons on Rakuten, but honestly, getting cashback even if its 1-2% adds up in the long run. Use my link and try it out now! CLICK HERE TO JOIN RAKUTEN

WHERE TO SHOP (IN STORE AND ONLINE) – SHOPPING ON A BUDGET

Here are some of my favorite places to shop online:

Amazon – this does not require any further introductions. I would say be cautious of ship dates if you are looking for deliveries prior to Christmas. Bonus, Rakuten offers cashback for Amazon!

Zulily.com – this is one of my fave places to browse for deals – from high end designer to budget items. If you are not familiar, Zulily is a flash sale website. They come with short flash sales that last only a few days with limited selection of items (still a pretty awesome and wide selection – especially if you’re shopping for girls) and the deals are amazing (up to 70-80% off sometimes!). The trick is though that if you find something that’s amazing, jump on it. They have limited quantities and once the item is gone, it may not be back for a bit. Zulily makes Christmas shopping convenient by having many of their sales around Christmas to have a guaranteed Christmas delivery. They also offer split payments on items over $30 so if you’re looking to spread out your payments, you can. Only caveat – most items are non-refundable; but honestly, I have never been disappointed with Zulily. Bonus, Rakuten offers cashback for Zulily!

Marshalls/Winners – for my non-Canadian readers, Winners is basically like Marshalls (its their sister company) and it’s a great way to scan for affordable presents for anyone on your list. Both Marshalls and Winners even have the high end makeup brands you find at Sephora for really low prices! Before I started Christmas shopping, I made a trip to Marshalls and Winners early November and bought whatever I could get a sweet deal on. I found many great deals and it was a great way to kick off early Christmas shopping on a budget! So, make sure you check out Marshalls and Winners – or other big stores that offer discounted items.

Dollar Stores – Canadians love going to Dollarama! It’s a wicked chain of dollar stores in Canada and they have a lot of great stuff that are perfect for stocking stuffers and add-ons especially for kids, people who love arts and crafts, and those who love to bake. I’ve bought a ton of Crayola playdoh and markers, sketch books, paints, cookie cutters and other baking supplies from Dollarama, putting together thoughtful gift baskets for less than $30! So, make sure you check out your dollar store first before you head out to any other place. You never know what you’ll find that would make a perfect add on or gift basket item for someone on your list.

That’s all the tips I have today! With 90% of my shopping done, all I need now are some stocking stuffers, kids add-ons and hostess gifts for our holiday dinner invites. Here is a list of all the places I shopped at this year for Christmas so far:

Marshalls – in store
Amazon – online
Zulily – online
Indigo (its Canadian version of Barnes and Nobles) – online
Sephora – online and instore
Best Buy – online
Toys R Us – online

Leave your comments below on your best tips and any feedback on mine 🙂

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

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Losing your Identity in Motherhood: The Symptoms

Terri Fry - creator, mom like that

Terri Fry - creator, mom like that

Losing your Identity in Motherhood: The Symptoms

“What made you want to start this podcast?”

I get asked this question quite often. The answer to this is not binary for me; many reasons have led me to create the Mom Like That platform and finding myself again after having kids is one of them. But before we discuss what finding yourself again looks like, its important to examine what losing yourself looks like as well.

As mothers, we’ve all gone through this experience of losing our own sense of identity after our children are born. It happens consciously and subconsciously on so many levels, and before we know it, we find ourselves years later wondering – what have I done for myself that’s just for me over the last many years? It took me almost 2 years to understand how I had lost myself, why I had lost myself and how to find who I was again. Being lost and feeling lost was never a clearly recognized experience for me. The truth is, I didn’t feel “lost”. I felt a lot of other emotions instead.

I felt resentment. I resented my husband at times, because the lack of movement in my life outside of motherhood was confusing to me. When I wasn’t making magic happen for me, it felt like it was his fault. That he wasn’t doing enough to bring excitement in my life.

I felt discouraged professionally. I felt that I didn’t deserve success as a professional in my career because I had kids. That my duties for the kids would be the reason I wouldn’t climb the ladder – because through these prime child caring years, I would never be able to give the attention and time to work like I wanted to. And then I felt resentment and bitterness towards my peers without kids that were reaching new heights.

I felt isolation. I didn’t know why I felt so lonely even when I had such a good support system. Friends and family who had my back, my kids who absolutely loved me and a husband who was supporting me unconditionally the best way he knew how. I didn’t talk about this feeling since it felt made up. As if it was in my head and I had to shake it off. I felt as if the world was moving ahead and everyone had it together except for me. I was trying to play catch up with people who had kids and those without, but I was so far behind, so insecure and unsure of myself that I didn’t know how to catch up. I was living with never ending fear of missing out on everything the world was doing.

I felt so many mixed emotions and confusion that ultimately took over my sanity and affected not just me, but my family and my life with my husband.

No one knew I was going through these things. I kept it together on the surface and battled the confusions internally. It took me a great deal of self-evaluation and self-destruction to understand that all these feelings were symptoms of losing myself as an individual after becoming a mom.

For over 4 years I stopped prioritizing myself. I put the needs of my family above and ahead of any of my individual needs. Anything that mattered to me alone was no longer a priority. What was important to my husband and what was valuable to the family unit came first. And often these things came at the cost of my suffering even when they didn’t need to. The guilt of doing something for myself, even when time and opportunities allowed me to do so, was bigger than taking the action or enjoying the act of taking care of myself.

Without feeling lost as a person, I was ultimately lost. The symptoms of losing myself were emerging for far too long before I realized what they meant.

So, what changed? I am not sure. It wasn’t one moment, but a build up of many moments, a lot of frustration, and all the feelings mentioned before that led me to a breakdown. A breakdown that happened in many doses over many years before I hit my rock bottom.

For me to find myself again, for anyone to go through a path of rediscovery, it is important to recognize the symptoms you feel when you are lost. You may be feeling (or have felt) some of the symptoms I felt or yours might look entirely different. But you can’t discover your identity without recognizing your pain points. You must pay close attention to the indicators and reflect on why you are having those feelings. It’s easy to project your feelings as a reaction onto others actions and doings, but true self discovery can only begin when you start realizing that your feelings are your own, they are not the responsibility of others and only you hold the power to free yourself from these symptoms before you can find yourself again.

So how will you reflect on this today to find yourself again?

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