Monday, February 21, 2022

How to Budget for Operation Christmas Child Boxes

For years, we’ve been packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Seriously, this is one of our favorite Christmas traditions!! Even before Jon and I had kids, we were packing shoeboxes full of presents and sending them to children around the world.

This year, National Collection Week is November 14th-21st, 2022.

Sometimes when life is busy, I forget to shop ahead of time. This can be hard on our budget, because it means you have to shop for everything necessary for our Operation Christmas Child boxes right before the holidays. Therefore, adding several huge expenses on top of each other during October, November, and December.

Unfortunately, that’s what happened last year, which was challenging. After talking to my husband, we agreed it was important to try and spread this expense out throughout the entire year and try to buy a little bit each month for our Operation Christmas Child boxes. That being said, I was determined to sit down and make a list about what I need to buy each month.

God really answered my prayers and gave me some great ideas!! Throughout the year, I will shop for supplies and keep them in a big box in my basement. Then, in November when it’s time to pack our boxes, my girls will choose goodies from my stash for their own Operation Christmas Child boxes. Below, I’ve listed some additional ideas about, how to budget for your Operation Christmas Child supplies.

How to Budget for Operation Christmas Child Boxes 

1. Decide How Many Boxes You Want to Pack. In order to know how many supplies I need to buy throughout their year, it’s important to know how many boxes we will be packing in November. This year, our plan is to pack 5 boxes, which will let each of my girls have a chance to pack a box. As a result, while I am shopping throughout the year I buy 5 of each item.  

2. Make a List of Supplies You Need. If you visit Samaritan’s Purse’s website, they have great age appropriate lists to help you know what to pack in your child’s box. You will need to buy a plastic shoebox, which you can get at Walmart or you can buy boxes from Samaritan’s Purse’s website. Typically, I pack the following items in our boxes… toothbrushes, a ball, markers, pens, washcloths, notepad, stickers, a book, a small lego or doll, a brush, hair ties, matchbox cars, socks, bandaids, and chapstick.

3. Shop From What You Have. Once I have my list, I go through my house and shop from what I have first. This is an important principle I live by and it helps me to use what I have first before buying something new. There are many items that I usually already have on hand, like toothbrushes, pens, markers, and notepads. Whatever I’m able to find, I check it off my list and put it in my big box of supplies in the basement.

4. Breakup Remaining Items, Decide What to Buy Each Month. After shopping throughout your own house, breakup the remaining items and decide what to buy each month. You can do it by category or what happens to be on sale during different months throughout the year. For example, if I need school supplies I will buy them in July and August when they’re on sale. Also, you don’t have to buy the most expensive supplies either, so be sure to stop by The Dollar Tree or at Goodwill if other stores seem too expensive.

5. Pack and Donate Your Boxes. After buying all your supplies, you will be ready to pack your individual boxes. You can write notes to your child and even include a picture of yourself or your family!! Don’t forget to pay for the shipping cost for each of your boxes online and put the label on the outside of each box. Finally, they’re ready to be donated to an Operation Christmas Child Drop Off location!!

6. Save Extra Supplies for Next Year. Last year, I ended up with extra supplies and shoe boxes. I kept them in a big box in my basement and I plan to use them this year. Anything to help me save money or possibly be able to pack more boxes than last year.

I hope this has been helpful!!

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