Being A Secret Santa and Staying Debt Free. Can it be done?

Being a secret santa -
Last year we sponsored five children of various ages from three different families, on top of the nine children we already have to buy for. This year we are sponsoring four children from two different families. I wanted to sponsor more but it's not in our budget.

We are not rich.
We do not own credit cards.
Our house is paid off.
We are debt free.
It was the hardest 3 years of our lives, but we did it!

I work part time, my husband works full-time and then some. Kids are expensive, no matter how you look at it.

As a family, we like to help those in need ...

At church tonight, we received our "wish lists", items the kids want Santa to bring them, and I am appalled at the items listed!!

A 8 yr old boy wants a iPhone7??! And a xbox 360! And 12 xbox games!

A 10 year old girl wants a new laptop and a Samsung galaxy tablet! Oh and the best one is - She wants "a brand new 4 wheeler because the one she already has is ugly green, so make this one red or pink."

If I won't buy my own kids that stuff, you best believe I'm not buying it for someone else! We don't even own an ugly 4 wheeler!

My 8 yr old wants a new bike that he's not going to get - because he already has one! We are going to paint his old bike for him but it's not going to be under the tree.

The other two kids are ages 3 & 5. Those lists are reasonable.

I'm taking the 8 & 10 yr old lists back to church in the morning. We simply cannot afford it. They usually have kids lists that haven't been sponsored, so I will look those over. The church cannot afford these 2 kids either, so Greed may mean they get nothing from santa.

My kids get clothes mostly (Very few have price tags because very few are brand new! I shop consignment stores and get like new items). Each of them gets something they really want as long as it's under $25.
And they all get one dvd and a $10 amazon gift card to spend on books. No one gets a new tablet! They share 3 tablets between them. No one gets a cell phone until they can get a job and buy it for themselves, as well as pay for the service.

We have been in debt up to our eyeballs, before. It took us 3 years to pay off that debt. Never Again!

Buying their love doesn't work.
Been there, done that, they hated us.
Showing them that they are loved.
We live within our means, the electricity and water stays on all the time now. Which means we have lived without both for months at a time because we kept trying to live a lifestyle we couldn't afford.


  1. I really love the way you think. Kids want so many expensive things and parents even if they can afford it, should never give them everything they want. They grow up spoiled. I am glad that you are out of debt and that your house is paid off! Awesome. I am not in debt either and I do not have credit cards.

  2. The biggest thing that any of the families we've adopted is a bike for the kids and pots and pans for the mother. We only buy gifts for the young kids for our extended family. We have one child so that makes it easier. My husband's employer takes 1% of of every check and puts it in a Christmas fund. In December the double it as a bonus. It's a great help.

  3. I don't think parents are doing their children any favors by giving them anything and everything they want. The real world won't do that for them. My kids see nothing wrong with hand-me-downs and love looking for items at consignment shops. Brava for you!

  4. I agree too. Toys are so so expensive and dont last that long anyhow. I try to get something educational of of value to them as a person not something to play with then break or forget about. Exp: magazine subscriptions , doing something special with them only and so on