How We Save on Big Ticket Items

Every year our respective families approach Brad and I, asking us what we would like for Christmas.  Due to our nomadic lifestyle (5 homes in 5 years), many typical items for a young couple just don’t work for us.  Aside from gifts for our two children, we live with a minimal amount of possessions.  This year for Christmas, I was only interested in upgrading our old computer, and Brad was only interested in a new running watch and a few hard-to-find books.

  • First, we told our families what we hoped to purchase. When asked what we wanted for Christmas, we explained that they could buy us an individual gift if they preferred, or contribute to a single larger group gift.  (We do not harbor any ill will for those who choose not to contribute!)  I was able to buy Brad’s running watch and books on-line with the gifts from our families.  This is also nice because some of the older members of our families are somewhat unfamiliar with the internet and sometimes cannot locate specialty items that are not available locally.  We also often save cash gifts from multiple birthdays/holidays for one larger gift.
  • Second, we listed and sold some of our other technology items on E-bay. We sold our old computer ($105), our old video camera ($80), and our old hard drive ($18).  With the cash from our families for my birthday and Christmas gifts, we were able to upgrade our 2002 computer to a 2011 model.


Although this won’t work for all families, our families have been open to this method of group gift giving for many years.  When we moved to China, they contributed to our luggage, and when we wanted to see a favorite band in concert, they all pitched in.  It has been especially nice for us as we attempt to pay off our debt snowball, pay for big ticket items with cash, and reduce the amount of items we have to move from home to home.

Have you ever bought or received a group gift?  What other ways have you found to save on big ticket items?

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