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The Organised Mummy

The Organised Mummy - Renee Bennett

Christmas in July
How to take the pressure out of December!

16 July 2012 | The Organised Mummy

Stock Photo

I am in love with Christmas

It's hands down my favourite time of year...

There's childhood magic that has never worn off for me in the hustle and bustle of it all. However what does wear thin - is my purse! I'm sure it's the same for us all – more money goes out then comes in!

So I have come up with a new tradition. It was born out of necessity. Being a supply teacher, I don't get paid for the holidays. So come Christmas, the last thing I can afford is shopping for a sleigh full of gifts! My solution – shop in July instead.

I was finishing my last lot of Christmas shopping just this week when I bumped into a friend. She was mortified to hear that I was Christmas shopping! She insisted that it must only be done in December under twinkling lights and to the sound of carols fa-la-la-la-la'ing from the loud speakers!

Don't get me wrong – you shall still find me at the shops at Christmas time, fully enjoying the sights and sounds of my local Westfield – from one of the cafes. I'll be the one sipping on a latte, watching everyone else stressing under the load of mountains of bags while their purses grow incredibly light! My gifts will have been sitting under the tree for almost a month by then.

Here are my time and money saving tips that will take all the pressure off you by December:

  • July is Toy Sale time! Woot woot! Thank you department stores! Get your children to go through the catalogues with a thick texta. Have them circle and initial everything they love. This will give you a big bank of ideas of what to buy!
  • Shop online for the smaller items. It's amazing!! You can do online no-deposit layby! You set the payment schedule (weekly, fortnightly or monthly) and they'll charge your credit card accordingly. Then, they deliver it FREE OF CHARGE to your door! What can be better than that?
  • Shop in store for any items you can't get online, as not everything is available online.
  • Arrange for big items to be picked up by you as the stores charge a lot for delivery of these items
  • Set a limit for each child and don't go over it. Know your budget and stick to what you can afford
  • If you have interstate people to buy for, some stores (Big W is one) you can buy online, add a message and get it delivered to their door! Now that is awesome!
  • Add a few small, cheaper items for your children's teachers or the typical ‘Kris Kringle' that classes do. They'll always come in handy for someone! (even a lovely neighbour!)
  • Use brown paper and string for wrapping – it looks lovely and is cheap!
  • Even better, make your own Christmas wrap as a craft activity. Cheap shops sell blank paper, Christmas stamps and even Christmas sponge painting sets very cheap!

Oh, my final tip for all you Christmas loving fanatics (like my friend at the shops!), play your Mariah Carey Christmas cd while you shop online or drive to the shop. It's always Christmas with Mariah in the background!


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The Organised Mummy - Renee Bennett

About The Organised Mummy - Renee Bennett

Renee is an experienced educator who specialises in literacy for young children. She grew up in a single parent home and is a regular speaker to community groups around Australia on this subject. She now has three children of her own.

Renee is author to the newly released picture book Imagine We Were. It's available at good bookstores or from the publisher Wombat Books.

You can read The Organised Mummy's full profile here

This blog contains only general information, correct at the date of publication. For advice regarding your own personal circumstances, always seek individual advice from a qualified professional. Read the full Disclaimer here

What does it mean to be a single mum?Of course, the


are the most important thing in a single mum's life. Kids are the focus and always have been. But along with the children, there are other matters that can confuse a single mum's life.


plays a big part of a single mother's life, mainly because this is where a large percentage of single mums get their finances from. Centrelink are the source from where the

single mother pension

, or as it is otherwise known, the single parent payment comes from. The single mother pension is a subsistence amount, but just the same, it is money to live on, and so it is important, no matter if it is called single parent payment, single mother pension or whatever Centrelink welfare classes it at the time

Often, single mums come out of a


or defacto relationship only to find that their troubles have just begun, and find that their first step leads them towards Family Law - it's time to engage a lawyer.
There are more than just Centrelink finance problems to worry about, as mentioned before, but also

child custody

issues. Child custody is something that hits right at the heart of

single mums

. If a single mother's ex husband or ex partner has been a domestic violence perpetrator, the mum may be greatly worried about child custody. They worry that their kids won't be safe with their spouse, who has already proven to be abusive because they caused

domestic violence

, which resulted in a divorce or separation.

Even so,

Family Court

will often still order a form of child custody named

Shared Parenting

. Shared Parenting is a form of child custody division of time or parental responsibility between the parents. Mother's often look for a good divorce lawyer to try to avoid share parenting with an abusive ex-spouse after divorce, however in many cases Shared Parenting is still the outcome after the divorce, no matter how good the divorce lawyers have been. They will often settle for visitation at a contact centre or access centre where fathers or mothers are supervised during child custody access.

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